Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable shift from a focus on customer satisfaction to employee satisfaction. While both are critical to the longevity of a business, it’s important to note that in most organisations, only one post has direct and regular contact with both the management of the organisation and the customer, and that is the sales or support staff. So it came as no surprise that in a recent study* publicised by David Behan, CEO of Care Quality Commission (CQC), there was a proven positive correlation between high rates of staff satisfaction and improved patient experience in NHS trusts.
We find high staff satisfaction correlates with high patient satisfaction, and trusts where staff wouldn’t recommend the trust correlates, quite often, with a ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ rating” – David Behan, CEO of CQC
So what can we make of this? If the link between the two is obvious why aren't more businesses focusing on employee engagement as a way of improving service?
In a recent study by Glassdoor, two thirds of HR respondents indicated that they were updating their engagement and retention strategies, a polar study conducted by Glassdoor only a month earlier reported that of the 90% of executives who understood the importance of employee engagement, fewer than 50% had any idea how to fix it. So there seems to be a similar correlation between those who know what needs to be done but are still searching for the answer. In short, you are not alone!
When thinking about engagement, it is important to remember that like any relationship, the small gestures can go a long way. We’ve included a couple of links to other blogs at the end of this article which may give you some ideas or inspiration to find some of those simpler tasks that can begin today. For the larger incentives, listening to the team is key but it pays off in a number of ways. After all, your staff are at the forefront of your business and their loyalty will quickly rub off onto the customers if they feel valued for their work.
However, engagement shouldn’t just be seen as another means to boost sales and customer retention. An equally common effect of improving employee engagement is an increase in personal contribution, whether that’s solely work rate or even innovation and forward thinking for the business. Empowering the team to feel like they have a larger part to play in the organisation will create a sense of joint ownership and a shared incentive to overcome obstacles and succeed. As the saying goes, treat your people like children and they will act like children. But treat your team as stakeholders and they will surely step up to the mark, carrying the business forward together.
So next time you’re in 1-2-1 review with an employee, ask yourself, could you and your team benefit from keeping this conversation open all year round?
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