Without employees, you have no customer experience.
It all started with a tweet...
"Customers willl never love a company until the employees love it first."
My response was: “That’s a blog post on its own! Too much for 140 characters! But definitely need to start with listening to them.”
There’s a whole alphabet soup of terminology around the various states of the employee relationship with the company, so let me start off by defining a few of them. There are differences.
Gallup says that engaged employees “stand apart from their not-engaged and actively disengaged counterparts because of the discretionary effort they consistently bring to their roles. These employees willingly go the extra mile, work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company. They are the people who will drive innovation and move your business forward.”
Employee engagement happens when there is some confluence of (1) emotions, commitment, passion, sense of ownership, etc. on the part of the employee about the brand and (2) what the organization does (mission, purpose, brand promise, etc.) to facilitate and enhance those emotions or that commitment.
Employee satisfaction refers to how satisfied your employees are (no surprise); it doesn’t address or include motivations or emotional commitment like employee engagement does. Some employees are satisfied simply because they get a paycheck or because they have a job. That doesn’t tell us how committed they are to the brand, to the job they do, or to the experience they deliver.
Employee happiness is a function of engagement and satisfaction. I’m satisfied with my job and am committed to the brand, which is committed to me; therefore, I am happy. It’s an emotional part of the equation and conveys contentment, energy, and enthusiasm.
Related: Why You Should Focus on Doing More of the Good Things
OK, on to the good stuff.
Without a doubt, the employee experience drives the customer experience. There’s this concept called the spillover effect , which is described as the tendency of one person’s emotions to affect how other people around him feel. How do you ensure that your employees are engaged and happy so that they can deliver the experience that you expect them to and, in turn, yield happy and engaged customers?
Let’s start with some of the basics. Employee engagement isn’t about free food, beer Fridays, ping pong, and perks. They might make your time at work more fun, but they will not/do not drive your engagement. They may ease the pain of the stress, frustration, and long hours, but they don’t make you feel committed or feel some sense of ownership toward your employer and the brand.
Remember that employee engagement is about some confluence of emotions and commitment between employer and employee. So, each is party to employee engagement.
What Can Employers Do?
What is the employer's part in this equation? It's all about creating the right conditions to allow employees to become engaged. Those conditions include:
What Can Employees Do?
Employees obviously have ownership in this thing called engagement, as well: it starts with them; it comes from within them. Their role in becoming engaged includes:
Why is this all important?
Besides the obvious reasons, engaged employees are more productive, stay longer, and want to see the business succeed – and they provide feedback and put forth the effort to make sure that happens. They drive customer happiness and loyalty, and ultimately, they drive the customer experience. Kevin Kruse has dubbed the following the Engagement-Profit Chain:
Engaged employees lead to…
Making sure employees are engaged and happy is good for employees, customers, and the business. What are you waiting for?