How you operate, relate, and work as an organization affects your employee experience and shows up in the customer experience. The deliverables also exhibit the conduct of an organization. What happens inside your company is apparent from the outside. The way you organize and behave culturally as a leader impacts your employees and customers. This is one of the facets I focus on in my Call Center Coach Leadership Academy.
In my recent Fast Leader Show podcast episode with Jonathan Raymond titled People Leadership: How The Employee Experience Impacts The Customer Experience, we discussed several ways to improve your employee experience.
Customer experience is a direct result of employee experience. According to Forbes, companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies with a record of poor customer experience.
In my career, I spent a lot of time measuring the customer experience. It’s was pretty clear and validated your gut feeling that the information linking employee experience to customer experience is irrefutable. I saw directly that companies who invest in leadership development that impact employee experience received higher ROI than those who don’t. Their customer experience scored proved it.
Critical Skills That Enhance Employee Experience
One skill that is most important and impacts your business and even your personal life is problem-solving skills. It has also been regarded as an underdeveloped skill. This skill is the ability to fix things and solve problems. Basically, people do not learn about it in school.
In as much as the ability to fix things is key, it becomes a liability in your organization or group situations. Therefore, the skill or critical strength is asking questions and creating space for your employees to solve problems and fix things. The more you rise as a leader, the less this skill is actually the right skill.
Therefore, the right skill becomes more and more of asking a question and creating space for your team to come up with solutions independently. If they do not possess all of the information they need to solve it, that’s where bad decisions no longer become their fault. They need to be taught how to be resourceful. Some are, but most are not.
The answers to the questions do not have to be apparent. I often ask open-ended questions and wait for my team to exercise that voice and actually show up in that moment of autonomy and create space for ideas. That leadership skill is lacking in most companies, yet it is the skill that makes an enormous impact on your staff, customer experience, profitability, etc.
Another necessary skill is that of waiting through that uncomfortable pause that happens during the solution development process. St Augustine once said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Traditions such as Yoga and meditation teach you how to do these skills. However, bearing the discomfort of uncertainty or ambiguity is a core skill to taking action.
Investing In Human Capital
I have found that mentorship is important. However, developing other people is more important. If they are not developed, you can’t mentor. But many are restrained by the fear that the people you develop might leave, so this might cause you to invest in them. But look at these figures.
- 67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring (Source)
- 55% of businesses felt that mentoring had a positive impact on their profits (Source)
- More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months (Source)
- 71% of people with a mentor say their company provides them with good opportunities to advance in their career, compared with 47% of those without a mentor (Source)
- 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow (Source)
So you need to develop so that you can get to mentoring. Not investing in your workforce development hinders your company’s success. I work hard to develop first so I can mentor, so employees feel appreciated and cared for.
You should listen carefully to customer needs and pay full attention to your customer. Think of how many times you are creating a customer disservice, how many times you are creating a repeat contact, and how many times you are creating an escalation.
There is nothing about human beings and who they are and what matters to them that cannot find relevance inside of a business. Nowadays, people tend to ask how a business aligns with their personal values. Your customers also feel the need to be aligned with the places they do business.
Customers want their values to be a part of the product and service delivery. They want you to recognize their needs.
Core Principles To Focus On Developing Employee Experience
The deepest purpose of your business should be to transform your employees into leaders and managers. Your role as a leader or manager is to show people how personal and professional growth is inseparable.
CEOs are focused on profitability, numbers, and growth opportunities as well as competition. CEOs aim to capture market share.
The boundaries between personal and professional life have eroded. For some it is a problem, the downside is that people have to work all the time. It has facilitated work as a place or vehicle or a venue for personal transformation.
Fixing Employee Experience Problems
You must help your employees to be successful. As a leader, have expectations not only on your employees but also on yourself. Conduct engagement surveys. Ensure that you make an effort to understand the market (the customers and their behaviors).
Also, study the reasons for certain customer behaviors. Reach out to customers by asking questions. Engage with the people. When you ask questions, do not act as if you know the answers. From the findings, figure out how best to solve the problem. Be more inquisitive.
The Seven Keys To Employee Experience
The seven keys to employee engagement are feeling valued, conflict management, ownership, openness, motivation feedback, and difference management, which is very different than diversity. Your employee is not an enemy or object.
A common mistake that managers or leaders make is assuming that people want more than they actually do. What your employees want is often small and simple. Ask them.
There is a need for better systems and more communication. You can achieve this through an accountability dial.
The accountability dial is a framework for conversations. Accountability is about personal ownership and responsibility; however, there is a danger of approaching it as command and control through telling people what to do. The accountability dial was designed to solve a specific problem. The problem is what is called spontaneous management combustion.
You can use this structure in your conversations. It involves asking questions of concern and see how your employees respond to them. Most leaders make the mistake of not asking anything. This leads to the gradual building of frustration.
The accountability dollars are away to deescalate, ask questions, and have conversations so that your team feels like they are getting the feedback they need to make changes. People want to change and have an impact. That impact is different because employees’ psychological needs are different.
What impact means differs from individual to individual. The common denominator is that they all want to have an impact. Everyone wants to feel like their work matters. Therefore, the accountability dollars a way to engage with your subordinates when they experience that you care about their growth.
It is about looking out for others and helping them see ways that they might not be bringing their best self to work without attempting to be their therapist. There are skills associated with receiving feedback, and the whole will to do it is vital for your organization.
Customers have become self-serving, and interactions have become more difficult. Often we underestimate the cost that results from disengagement. Finding the balance.
Micromanagement And How It Affect Employee Experience
Is there a need for micromanagement or not, or is there just a need to look at it differently? People desperately want and value micromanagement when it comes to their career and their own development.
Hence, the need to separate micromanagement of tasks versus micromanaging of their development. Micromanagement is important for developing skills, getting better, being better, and having more value. It is not a difficult distinction to make, but it is still easily left out.
A survey conducted by Trinity Solutions and published in author Harry Chambers’ book My Way or the Highway showed that 79 percent of respondents had experienced micromanagement. Approximately 69 percent said they considered changing jobs because of micromanagement, and another 36 percent actually changed jobs. Seventy-one percent said being micromanaged interfered with their job performance, while 85 percent said their morale was negatively impacted.
I give feedback as often as I can to my team. And I always need to do better. It would be best if you had a culture of more feedback. Most of the feedback in your culture may be unconscious, hostile, or passive-aggressive. If very little of the feedback is developmental positive psychology-based about employees’ growth, fix that immediately.
The major worry should be on creating the right kind of feedback and spaces for personal growth. Our world’s social contract is not reliable in terms of willingness to support the community, work outside of ourselves, and be aware of our impacts on other people.
The accountability dial can yield inappropriate responses. How you present an issue affects the response. Richard Bach states that ‘we teach best what we most need to learn.’Be a student and a learner of what you teach.
Watch My Interview With Jonathan Raymond
- Which other factors do you think highly impact Employee Experience?
- Is there a need for micromanagement in the workplace or not, or is there just a need to look at it differently?
- In your own experience, how has mentorship affected your professional and personal development?
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.