The Great Resignation is a topic receiving plenty of attention in 2021 and for good reason.
According to one Gallup poll, nearly 50 percent of America’s working population was actively job searching or monitoring job opportunities this past summer. Employee engagement is even worse, as 34 percent of North American respondents in the poll said they were actively engaged in their current job. Unfortunately, in customer service settings, these sentiments affect much more than employee happiness or turnover—often impacting customer interactions and even customer satisfaction with your brand.
Let’s face it, customer-facing employees have the power to tarnish your brand or enhance your brand, which should make keeping them engaged and productive a critical part of your organization’s internal business objectives. Yet, we continue to see important initiatives that fall under the employee experience (EX) umbrella fall to the wayside in favor of operational enhancements that do little to improve the employee experience and, in turn, drive deeper employee engagement.
It’s important to keep in mind that every emerging customer experience challenge we are trying to solve in the post-pandemic digital world reflects a similar employee experience challenge. For customers, you aim to deliver seamless digital journeys that can help customers navigate the digital sales cycle. For employees, you might need to reimagine the onboarding or recruiting journey to better serve a remote workforce’s expectations.
Now for the good news. Due to the shared pain points customers and employees are facing in the post-pandemic world, there is a wealth of proven CX strategies readily available to help your organization solve the employee turnover crisis and re-engage your workforce. As a CX consultant with decades of experience in contact center solutions, Avtex has a unique viewpoint to the changing landscape of both CX and EX best practices. If your organization is ready to begin aligning your employee experience with the new world of work, here a few quick strategies you can use to get started:
1. Understand Your Employee Journey—When it comes to marketing a product, the customer journey is an integral factor in deciding which touchpoints and messages make sense for a specific customer in a specific moment. The same is true for your employees. Not every employee has the same experience or the same role, which means they will likely need different levels and types of support during onboarding and across their day-to-day duties. Take the time to execute an employee journey mapping exercise that can help you uncover the personas found throughout your organization. Then use these to build out the right set of touchpoints to make their experience engaging and productive from the beginning. And don’t forget about the employee lifecycle too. Just like a customer, your employees’ needs will change over time. Think about how you can build in career growth and upskilling opportunities that demonstrate an understanding of their long-term goals.
2. Provide the Right Tools to Empower Employee Success—In the CX world, omnichannel strategies allow customers to move quickly through customer service interactions with the right speed and level of touch they require. The key here is the seamless orchestration between each one of these channels that makes true omnichannel engagement possible. For the employee experience, tool selection for the modern world of work is equally important. From a collaboration and communication perspective, cloud-based solutions present an obvious advantage for remote and hybrid work environments. But, beyond these frontline solutions that powered the early work-from-home, organizations should also reconsider many of their longstanding tools as well—such as CRM and data management platforms. By integrating the right mix of APIs and add-ons, employers have a powerful opportunity to shift routine tasks off their employees’ to-do list via automation and machine learning, which can empower them to prioritize the high-touch interactions that help close a new sale or wow an existing customer. Creating more interactive data-sharing solutions can also help create more informed customer interactions by bringing the right customer data to every engagement.
3. Listen to your Employees and Create a Feedback Loop to Promote Long-Term Alignment—Your employees know exactly what they need to best serve the customer. So, while both of the first two strategies listed here represent useful approaches to play “catch up” or build an employee experience that meets existing needs, remember these needs aren’t static. It’s also critical to stay in tune with employee expectations moving forward. After all, failure to maintain alignment with employees is partially to blame for the current wave of resignations. There is a number of ways to do this, but developing an official Voice of the Employee (VoE) is a great place to start. The best VoE programs integrate a mix of employee surveys, active listening, and reward programs to both standardize and incentivize routine feedback that can help identify common pain points that take place across the full employee experience and remedy them before they create a turnover problem.
4. Build a Culture of Recognition, Reward, and Respect—In the midst of building pressure to do more to remedy staff shortages and employee stress, it is more important than ever to recognize individual contributions. Even those tasks that might be considered a normal expectation of the job have become increasingly difficult for a myriad of different external reasons outside of the employees’ control. As a result, make sure you provide recognition for above-and-beyond service to customers to A) show that you are paying attention and B) demonstrate that you don’t take great customer service for granted. Finally, show deep respect for employees’ points of view, opinions, and ideas. If you want to grow and sustain employee engagement fostering a culture of respect can have an immeasurable payback.
Improving or transforming your employee experience is often easier than you might think. In many cases, relatively small changes can have a tremendous impact on the day-to-day satisfaction and engagement of your employees. When your CX and EX strategies work in unison, you’ll quickly recognize that your organization can take customer service to new heights.
About the Author
Kurt Schroeder is the Chief Experience Officer and leader of CX consulting practice at Avtex, a full-service CX consulting and solution provider focused on helping organizations create better experiences for customers. Avtex partners with leading technology vendors like Microsoft and Genesys to address CX challenges through CX design and orchestration. Kurt and his team help organizations thrive in the experience economy by creating meaningful experiences in every interaction. Kurt has pioneered methodologies and approaches to customer experience over 30 years for companies in financial services, agriculture, manufacturing, health care, distribution, insurance, consumer packaged goods and non-profits, including GE, 3M, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, United Health Group, numerous credit unions and manufacturers.