Understanding Employee Engagement and the Employee Experience

Customer Experience Strategy | Voice of the Employee | Customer-Centric Culture | Employee Experience

Reading time: 7 minutes
PeopleMetrics

Trusted Experience Management Partners

Engaging employees can be a daunting task, and with all of the jargon out there, it’s easy to get lost and not know what next steps to take. In this post, we examine the eight dimensions of our Employee Engagement model, illustrated with real-life examples of companies who embody what these drivers are all about.

EE pyramid

First, Resources and Rewards are the functional aspects of Employee Engagement. They are fundamental to the contract between an employee and a business. Resources and Rewards need to be competitive and fair – without these basics, you cannot hope to satisfy, let alone, engage your employees. Pretty simple.

The intrinsic aspects are where it starts to get a bit more complicated...

Recognition in Accounting

One of our clients in the Accounting industry has the goal to deliver unmatched client service by aligning all employees around the company’s five core values. Using a homegrown “Twitter-like” application, employees nominate colleagues for doing something exceptional relating to these values. Throughout the year rewards and recognition will be given based on these nominations, and at the end, one lucky employee will win a Mazda Miata 5 for their contributions.

Customer Focus at BUPA

BUPA is a health insurance company in the UK that is absolutely committed to their customers. Last year they won the Plain English Campaign Award for their gobbledygook-free website. In providing easy to understand information, BUPA has also built a culture of empathy toward the customer experience.

And this culture extends beyond the website. At the CXPA event this past October, our EVP Kate Feather learned of an interesting approach taken by BUPA to bring the customer front and center in the business. Specifically, the story goes that every BUPA customer service agent is given a budget to do something nice for their customers. One employee spent her budget on clothes for a baby born prematurely. In the retelling of this story the employee had tears in her eyes as she described how it felt to have the opportunity to touch someone’s life so closely.

Fun at American Hotel Register Company

The Fun dimension has a tendency to confuse the more practical among us. But the fun dimension captures so much more than holiday parties and water cooler chit chat about weekend plans. It’s about a sense of belonging, shared vision, and creativity. Another one of our own clients, American Hotel Register, provides every conceivable product for hospitality and specialty industries – including funeral homes. They take pride in having an open, quirky culture. The founder regularly walks the halls, greets people by name, and gives employees hugs. They have daily guess-the-answer to Snapple cap questions. In January, American Hotel will be hosting its second annual American Idol Competition at their annual Hospitality Expo.

Recently they had the opportunity to provide the producers of Glee with funeral urns for an upcoming episode, one of the American Hotel employees commented that American Hotel “puts the ‘FUN’ in FUNeral.” The directors liked it so much the little play on words made it into the Glee script.

Growth at Lovett

Unless you live in Portland, Ore., you probably haven’t heard of Lovett. Lovett has built an impressive company by focusing on employee Growth. They have built a solid training curriculum involving mentor-style orientation, options to learn skills in other departments, and even life skills like financial planning and investing. Lovett understands how important it is to have a team of smart, customer-focused employees who understand the company’s big picture vision. Even more surprising is that Lovett isn’t a cutting-edge management consulting firm, or an HR group; they do plumbing. And their staff retention rate is 100%.

Trust at Wegmans

The Trust dimension is really about trust in senior leadership – that they have employees’ best interests in mind and respect and value their work. At Wegmans, this means involving store-level employees in the kinds of decisions typically made at higher levels, and avoiding creating policies addressing every possible scenario. The company’s philosophy is, “Employees first, customers second,” and by putting their employees first, their employees put the customers first – and Wegman’s boasts one of the best retention rates in the country and some of the highest customer ratings among grocery stores.

Purpose in Healthcare

Purpose is linked to a sense of accomplishment in work, the knowledge that a person’s work is having a positive impact on internal and external customers. Medtronic is a medical device manufacturer. They provide the opportunity for their engineers, technicians, and salespeople to attend surgical procedures so they can see the results of their work.

One of our Healthcare clients also has a great tactic for embedding a sense of purpose in their work. The patients they serve have central nervous system disorders. Our client displays patient artwork throughout their hallways as well as printing mini reprints on the back of their business cards as a daily reminder of their commitment to improving the lives of the patients they serve.

What Drives Engagement at Your Company?

It’s overwhelming for any leader to think about tackling all of these dimensions at once. So we recommend starting small. Focus on one dimension that you can do (or perhaps are already doing) and build it out – whether it is getting your employees closer to your customer, building internal growth plans, or recognizing employees who do great work.

And, of course, if you are ready for some professional help, contact us. Our expertise lies in helping clients build customer-centric cultures, in simple, actionable terms.

~Janessa Lantz

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Topic: Employee Experience

Posted on 01-11-2012