There is nothing more satisfying for a business than satisfied customers – but what most enterprises overlook is the fact that the surest, fastest and most effective route to achieving customer satisfaction and engagement is through employee satisfaction and engagement.
Yes, happy and driven employees translate to happy customers. Studies globally show the significant impact of employee engagement on customer service and overall business performance.
According to US-based analytics and advisory company Gallup, companies in the top quartile of employee engagement experience 10 per cent higher customer ratings. Employee engagement affects your bottom line and is therefore a critical area of investment.
A Harvard Business Review analysis revealed that companies with happy employees had 37 per cent higher sales and 31 per cent higher productivity.
So what does it take for an employer to keep their people engaged?
There is no doubt that employee engagement and retention are more challenging today than they have ever been. On one hand, the evolving business environment and increasing competition are continuing to put pressure on the bottom line. At the same time, we are rapidly moving towards a world where millennials form the largest majority – at 35 per cent – of the global workforce.
This group tends to be motivated by mission and purpose, in addition to a hefty paycheck. They value opportunities to grow, give back and build on their strengths. So how do we get them to stay with us longer than the average two years that they plan to give any job?
The answer lies in a suite of initiatives, structural organisational reforms and a focus on changing behaviour and attitudes.
The top-down, hierarchal structure of yesteryear corporates is out of the window. In my experience, innovation and intrapreneurship can only happen when there is active dialogue – between peers, between managers and their teams, between the CEO and managers, and so on.
Investing in talent
As much as we talk about the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on jobs, the fact remains that organisations are yet to embrace employee education and development as a norm at the workplace. Accenture’s research shows that only a fifth of employees receive employer-sponsored training over a five-year period.
With the number of tools to access knowledge in the market, bringing employees closer to their career goals should be a top priority for companies.
People spend the most part of a day at work but knowing that they can enjoy the perks of their commitment in their personal time can be a strong incentive.
Companies have many options to create employee benefits, ranging from initiatives such as partnering with ride-hailing companies for special discounts, to securing special deals with fitness and wellness concepts or leisure and entertainment venues.
Team-building events, office parties and corporate off-the-clock activities can often give employees a chance to forge a bond with their colleagues. These environments also tend to bring out the best in people, including hidden talents that could enhance the business.
The first chapter in the employee engagement rulebook is to always listen and understand.
Measuring employee engagement and understanding areas of focus and improvement is essential.
If customer satisfaction is central to your business and your employees are the enablers in achieving that goal – invest in your employees. As their investment in the company grows, you’ll see the payoff in terms of a stronger bottom line.
Arif Mubarak is the CEO of Dubai Asset Management