Engagement – heads they win, tails you lose
Who are “THEY”?
Why your competitors of course.
This article contains some of my thoughts and reflections from Day 2 of the annual CIPD conference in Manchester UK.
The recurring theme and thought at this years CIPD annual conference for HR professionals has been engagement. Some speakers have spoken about the value engagement provides to the level of customer engagement and retention, others about productivity, but the overriding factor has been that engaged staff reduce costs, reduce absence, increase sales and deliver customer fans.
Employee Engagement & Talent Management – Trust
So why do HR and business leaders not trust our staff to represent our brands to existing and potential customers and long term customer fans?
This manifests its self in a number of ways:
1) The way we empower and enable our staff to solve customer questions at one point
2) The way we show our distrust by not allowing staff to use social media.
Engagement – the missed opportunity
While waiting for a potential client, I overheard a member of staff of a well known professional body say to a delegate:
“sorry I’m not important enough to have a business card.”
Now think about how valued that person would feel and how they would represent the brand if they had £10 worth of business cards. It’s also a great way to show staff you trust them.
A few weeks ago I was involved in an accreditation meeting and the accreditation representative said the reason they were not issued business cards was for tax reasons…. Utter bull!
This simple act of ensuring that EVERYONE in your business has individual business cards sends many messages – to managers, staff and customers. Give personal cards even if the employee is unlikely to be customer facing. O2 go one further and have a text number staff can call to help give advice if they are approached by a customer, where ever they are in the world. It’s the little things.
Much like the prohibition in the US tried to stop the consumption of alcohol, when we (try to) stop people from using social media, all we do in fact is drive it underground. On the surface all is quiet, but duck under and all is alive frantic and well. Worse, if people cannot be proud of the organisation for which they work they cannot be advocates or help to grow the fan base.
It’s all about the small things. We need to show that we trust our people and that (one the whole) they will do the right things. Sure they will make mistakes, but they will learn from them if we provide positive and supportive feedback.
Most of our people are honest at heart and their only intension is to support our customers and the business.. Our role as managers is to trust, support and give them the tools to excel, not to be mediocre.
If your organisation has 1000 employees then typically 5-8 people will be involved in sales & marketing. Imagine the power and growth potential if every one of those 1000 were taking a proactive marketing or sales role? Even if only 20% did, that’s double your sales & marketing team for no cost!
Engagement needs to be more than initiative; it’s an attitude from managers, which create an attitude and set of behaviours in staff. There is no magic process or set of tools, sure regular surveys can help measure, but that is only the very beginning of the journey and not the end by anyone’s stretch of their imagination