Podcast – Employee Engagement: Thinking Beyond Happy Employees Make Happy Customers

A photo for the Contact Centre Podcast

The Contact Centre Podcast: Episode Ten

In this episode, Natalie Calvert of CX High Performance discusses the keys to employee engagement, sharing lots of practical tips for how to better motivate advisors along the way.

A thumbnail photo of Natalie Calvert
Natalie Calvert

As part of our discussion, we also talk about developing team leaders, the impact that metric choices have on advisors and the best ways to measure contact centre engagement levels.

To listen to the podcast directly from this web page, just hit the play button below:

The Contact Centre Podcast – Episode 10:

Employee Engagement – Thinking Beyond Happy Employees Make Happy Customers

This podcast was made possible by our sponsor, Genesys. We now have a new link to visit their website, instead of the link mentioned in the podcast to request a demo.

So, to find out more about Genesys, simply visit their website 

Podcast Time Stamps

  • 1:57 – The Employee Engagement Fundamentals
  • 8:04 – Learning and Development
  • 12:15 – Creating Development Plans
  • 16:49 – Improving Leader-Advisor Relationships
  • 22:38 – Building a Great Culture
  • 30:40 – Keeping Things Fresh
  • 35:36 – Measuring Employee Engagement

Here is a Transcript to the Podcast

Charlie Mitchell: Many contact centres use financial bonuses as a way to motivate and engage with staff. Then there are financial rewards on top of that, but is employee engagement really all about money?

Natalie Calvert: I think we all know that employee engagement is absolutely not about money, but we have to accept that money does play a role and that bonuses play a role as well in boosting performance. But overall, the work that we’ve done shows that there are clearly six key factors which influence employee engagement and they make the difference between having average staff and great staff.

But before we go into those factors, which I’m sure we’ll do as we go through this session, I think we have to ask ourselves a broader question, which is what we actually want from employee engagement. We all band around the phrase, “Happy people make happy customers,” but actually, do we want happy people?

And I would suggest obviously, yes we want happy people, but we, in fact, want more than that. And never has that been more crucial in this new digital world that is getting speed every single day. We need people that are not only happy and engaged, we need people that perform at a greater level for our organizations, and more importantly for our customers, so that we get more from our employees, we deliver more for our customers, and in turn, we deliver more for our organization.

So I think the very first real question is, what is the value of our people when you think about it? What is the value of your people? And if we understand value, we can start to understand how we can make a difference. And if we couple together value and engagement, we know that people that are more valuable to an organization have a higher propensity to be highly engaged, but we really need to match the two with employee engagement on one hand and performance on the other.

So I would bring those two together to ask that real initial question, what is employee engagement?

Charlie: Excellent stuff there. And I think you started by highlighting those six key principles, and I guess thinking about those is the next step after you’ve answered that question. Just want to tell us a little bit about what those are?

Natalie: Okay. We, first of all, did some research, oh, nearly 10 years ago now, and since then we’ve done various pieces of studies against it. And we know that there are six ways in which people are engaged, and it’s not one or the other, you have to be doing all six. And I think perhaps the very first one is perhaps the most crucial, and it’s about I think what Jeff Bezos says is customer obsession.

We know from our work that employees work better when they work and are engaged in a purpose that’s greater than themselves and that’s greater than their organizations. And organizations that focus their employees around the customer from the outside in not inside out, so they focus around doing great things for customers, have more highly engaged employees. Therefore, having the first piece of this is around customer obsession.

What we want to do with our employees to get them engaged is to get them highly engaged with our customers. Now, having a customer-obsessed organization isn’t that easy to achieve, especially if you’re an organization that perhaps in the past has been product-focused or perhaps process-focused, or just people-focused internally. Because what we’re suggesting is you have to look to the outside to get a more highly engaged workforce.

So there are some actions that organizations need to take to become more customer-obsessed and they start with really knowing who your customers are. Understanding their triggers, their wants, and needs. Making your customers visual around the organization is another very practical thing to do, so to start to bring in visuals of customers.

Different customer groups, different customer profiles, different customer benefits and different ways in which different customer groups need to be serviced, so we start to really think about our customer groups and how we can be delivering better things for different groups of customers.

Another way to do that is to embed, literally in customer conversations, customer language. So what is the language of your customers, not the language of your organization? But one of the most valuable things I think an organization can do to really demonstrate customer obsession is do something which I once heard from… I was once judging some awards (done that a few times, not just once!) and the team came in to present to all of the judges, and, very cleverly, they came in with a customer.

And this customer stood there for most of the session and said very little, but then suddenly out of nowhere he started to talk and he started to talk about the brilliance of the organization and the very hearts and minds way, the judges were totally won over by this. And it transpires that the organization on a regular basis, brings customers into meetings, into sessions, into the contact centre so they can be part of what’s going on.

And there’s nothing close to that when you’ve got an advisor, a frontline advisor on the phone in a contact centre and they’ve got customers there. Because you know you’re doing the right thing genuinely by customers if you’re doing it when the customer is in the room. So that would be something and it takes a brave organization to do that.

I don’t say that’s an easy thing to do, but bringing the customer into the room really ensures that you bring customer obsession to the front of it.

Charlie: Yeah, I love this idea of creating a purpose around the customer and that in turn creates the motivation for the team. But we do need to refresh this purpose in coaching sessions, as I’m sure you will agree. So with that being said, how can we make sure we’re setting aside the appropriate amount of time for learning and development?

Natalie: Very good question. Most contact centres are very time-strapped. We didn’t have time or we shelled it and something more important happened, or there was a higher influx of greater customer demand than we were expecting. But whenever I hear that, I know that underlying that is that what the organization needs to better learn is the value of coaching.

There’s two things that go hand in hand with this. Number one, which I think is an important one, is what is the value of an employee? Once we understand the value of an employee, and that’s both in terms of return, as in what they’re giving to the organization as well as the cost of that employee, so in its crudest terms, the ROI, the return on investment of an employee.

If we understand that value and we say, “This is the value of an employee, today is 10. Actually, we want that employee to be delivering us a value of 14.” And actually the role of coaching and the role of the coach is to take that employee from 10 to 14. Now we’re doing coaching with purpose. We’re doing coaching with the purpose of improving performance and the purpose of doing better things for our customers.

And that works really well for coaches as well because they’re not just going to step in and do some side-by-side stuff. Coaches have a real purpose within an organization, and that’s about raising the performance bar. And when you see a team that is coached properly and you can see how they are driving performance, as long as you understand that you are also increasing employee value, you can make time for coaching because you understand the value that time will bring to your organization.

So coaching isn’t just about sitting side-by-side, also the other part of this is that coaching can take place in a variety of ways. Most people in contact centres know those ways inherently, but there’s the side-by-side, there’s taking somebody into a training room, but there’s a lot of teamwork, coaching and buddying amongst teams where I find the most value.

I did a recent exercise with a client where we defined what best practice was for customer conversations, and then the team created that best practice, and then through skills training, the team coached each other. So it wasn’t heavily reliant on the manager always doing it. So the team themselves took ownership, became accountable for their performance and learned to coach one another. The teamwork was absolutely outstanding. It was fantastic to see.

If you ever asked me if I’ve seen a fully engaged team, this was it, they were totally engaged in what they were doing. But what they were doing was improving their performance and improving things for customers too, and obviously, by the way, improving things for the organization.

Going back to your question, how do you make more time for coaching is understand the value. Understand the value of your employee and also understand additional value that you can bring to your organization, and then you’ll coach. In fact, you won’t stop coaching. And when you go into a canteen and you see people coaching one another in the lunch break, you know that they’re understanding the value of coaching, right?

Charlie: Yeah.

Natalie: Leaders don’t just lead, leaders make people better. And in our contact centre world, we have an obligation to make our people better by making our performance better and in turn, doing better things for our customers and our organization wins.

Charlie: If you’re walking into your canteen as a contact centre and they’re talking about how the advisors themselves are talking about how they can improve performance, I think that’s a clear sign that you’re doing something right.

Natalie: Absolutely. And the feedback is amazing when you see that, and you see people really rolling up their sleeves, getting involved and saying, “We’re here to do better things. We’re not just here to handle calls, we’re here to make things better for our customers, make it easier for our customers. How can we do that? What have you learned today that I could put into practice?” And you see some of that stuff when you go out there and it just makes it work magically.

Charlie: Absolutely. And kind of one more thing that I think contact centres would ideally make more time for is providing advisors with a clear development plan, but what kinds of things can contact centres do to better support advisor development, do you think?

Natalie: Okay. I guess going back to those six things that we were talking about, actually number five on that list is structured development. Contact centre advisors have told us that structured development is really important to them, and actually it will make them stay longer with an organization and will improve their performance.

But when we’ve spoken to organizations, what happens is the classic, we planned in training but it got pulled because, because, because. So constantly, it’s getting pulled and people just haven’t got the time. Now, what I would like to say is that most organizations are doing a lot of work that is all around training, is all around coaching, is all around briefing, but because it’s not structured, it’s not pulled together into a plan, the advisors just feel it’s ad hoc.

So they don’t see themselves having structured development, they see themselves being pulled into a room and having another intervention that kind of ruins their week, so the value of training constantly gets diminished. So if you take a step back and you say, “Okay, let’s pull together all of the things in our organization that could come under a training umbrella and we put them into a coherent plan.” So what could that involve?

That could involve training, coaching. Could even involve one-to-ones, meetings, team time, team briefing, self-learning, learning shares, doing some qualifications, which are fantastic. Even performance improvement can all be around planned development. What you would create is a series of career pathways that enable advisors not always just to move up, but they can move along and even some just stay where they are, but get better at it.

But what we pull together into a cohesive form is all of these different things that are going on so they become a structured development plan. And that’s given to the advisor at the beginning of the year with the idea very clearly that they’re empowered to make choices, but the company will do these things for them.

What I’ve found is that most of these things on the list are actually going to happen anyway. Team briefs will happen, coaching will happen, meetings will happen, but if the advisor sees it from the perspective of development, that’s very, very powerful. Especially when we’ve got a generation now in our contact centres who know when they started the organization, when they plan to leave, they’ve already got their exit strategy sorted out, who probably will have a minimum of 14 jobs in their lifetime.

The millennial worker is giving us different challenges, so key to keep them, key to retain them is giving them planned development because they’re there to develop themselves. So if you want to engage your staff and keep them, planned development or structured development, I think is a better way of saying it, is really critical going forward.

Charlie: I don’t think it’s key as a caveat to that, that this development doesn’t have to be just through the contact centre, this can be into other parts of the organization, so you can help them, giving them other opportunities such as job shadowing in marketing or something to see if that suits them. It’s kind of giving them their own individuality, isn’t it?

Natalie: Absolutely, getting them onto their different pathway. You make a really good point. So it can be in other areas of the organization and sometimes outside of the organization even, doing for example, work in the community. Once you do this route, okay, what you’re actually also reducing is your time on the phone or time speaking to customers because you’re giving your people time off doing other things.

So, therefore, you do have to plan carefully for it because what you will need, it goes back to this point on employee value we were just discussing, you’ll need to get a better return on investment of your employees to free them up to go and do the other things. But you know what? What we’ve found is once you free them up and they do other things, when they come back into the room, they are much better as individuals. They are delivering more and they are highly engaged and performing at a much higher level.

But what you’ve got to do is take that first of all, get it structured, think of all the things you could put into that and then provide opportunity because if not, we have a millennial generation that will just be looking to leave you.

Charlie: And I think one of the key areas that I want to talk about as well as having this structured development, a lot of that should be coming from the team leader. And I think the best contact centres you go to, there’s always a really good bond between the team leaders and the advisors. But what advice would you have for improving this bond between the team? This is for contact centres who may be struggling in this area.

Natalie: I think one of the things is the role of the team leader. We’ve seen a world where we’ve gone from a general ratio of what was a few years ago one to six that grew to one to eight, and now we go to one to 12. And I recently was with a client and there was one to 18 as the ratio of team leader to advisor.

There are some very simple things that we know that when you look at the – I’m going to come back to this value of an employee again, you know that! – When you look at the value of an employee, when you want to optimize it, your optimum team leader ratio in the organizations that we’ve looked at and tracked is between 10 and 12. Okay? That gives you a ceiling, so if you want to understand team value rather than just employee value, you have to look at the role of the team leader as well.

Once you understand the value, you can start to say, “Okay, now what is it on a hearts and mind level does the team leader need to do to really engage their teams?” Well, I’m going to start with some basics here. One of the key things is team leaders working the same shift patterns as advisors. We know right now that there is at least 25% of contact centres where team leaders are not working the same shift patterns.

Seems remarkable, doesn’t it? But if you want to have a bond and you want to keep your staff, you’re absolutely right, the team leader is critical and therefore advisors need to be working on the same shifts. On a very practical level, though, there are some things that team leaders need to be doing. Huddles. Huddles we have found are critical for team engagement. They provide communication, they provide day-by-day bonding amongst the team and they know exactly what’s going on.

We integrated a huddle programme with a client that was hugely successful. When the team got together every single day and they talked around their huddle board, so across all the teams, they have the same information to get across. And yes, it was somebody’s job to produce the huddle board and to make sure the information was up to date, suddenly we opened up communication.

Now, huddles should only last for a maximum of 10 minutes. They’re not discussion areas, they’re information givers, and questions, and team motivation and bringing together. So when you introduce something like huddles as well as team leaders working on the same shifts as their advisors, you can start to get that bond working better.

The other things that advisors ask us they want from their team leaders is that they want the team leaders to know what good looks like, and so that team leaders can really role-model what good looks like. Now, lots of team leaders have been in the business for a while, they might have known what good was. Team leaders need to make sure they’re up to date with knowing that they can role-model what good is today.

The next thing advisors tell us is they really need their team leader to be there for them. They need to know that they cover their back and that they’re not just a separate workforce, that actually they are on-side with the team. So there are things that team leaders need to be doing. So classics, always ask the team leader, do they know their team’s birthdays? Do they have a stack of thank-you cards sitting in their desk? Do they know where their team live? And do they really understand the day-to-day life issues that their advisors might be going through?

If they can answer those questions, and I’m sure you’ve got a good team leader because they’re spending that time to do the well-being and the caring, especially in a world where we know that statistically, one in four members of staff have got mental health issues. So in a team of 12, you have probably got three staff with some other stuff going on for them that’s really important. And it’s really important that team leaders know how to look after their staff, how to manage them and how to guide them and mentor them.

But also most importantly as well, how to look out for some of the signals where staff could be overly stressed. This is a growing issue now in our world as well. So team leaders, cuddles – huddles, huddles, huddles and cuddles, no, just huddles! – know what good looks like, be there for me, and the final thing on this is I trust you.

So the advisors must be able to trust the team leader that actually not only you’re just there for me, but the things that you say and do, you really understand that I trust you and you trust me. So trust is another important factor. And you know what? We’ve got a world today where we need to invest the time and monies in training our team leaders, not in general skills, but how to be great contact centre team leaders.

How to look after their teams because well, we all know that the issues that contact centre managers and team leaders face are significantly different to team leaders out on the road or in a retail store environment because of the intensity of the role. So I would suggest the big thing organizations can do is to make sure their team leaders are thoroughly trained, they themselves know what a good team leader looks like and what they should be doing, and how to do it – not just what but how, and then they can work with their staff in a very cohesive way.

Charlie: Excellent. I think there was so much great advice in there, and for me, I really loved those questions that you’d ask the team leader, like do you know your advisors’ birthday? I think that’s a great way to test the bond leaders have with the managers, and there’s great other kind of messages, like be prepared to have those difficult conversations about mental health and just treat each member of the team equally.

I think these are very important things and a lot of the advice there ties into my next question, which would be what kind of tips do you have for building a positive contact centre culture?

Natalie Calvert: Okay. Oh, we could talk about this for a long time, a long time, but if I go back to the six key core elements, we know about customer obsession, we’ve talked about planned development, the other areas will all help and the first one is around – sorry, number two on the list – the first one is customer obsession always, the customer comes first, right? But the second one is purpose. So that’s about your team really understanding their purpose.

And what I’ve found in many organizations. I’ve now worked in over 100 different organizations and I tell you, I must have seen this in 99% of those organizations. And that’s as a consultant, not as an employee, I have to say. I have worked in organizations as an employee too, but understanding purpose.

Now, the key with purpose in our contact centres is that purpose is often defined by our KPIs. Okay? So what we get measured by is how we behave, and often advisors tell us they’re given this whole stack of KPIs, but they don’t understand how that ties with the overall mission or purpose of the contact centre.

So there’s a real need to align the strategy with the KPIs so that the front line can actually really understand why what they’re told to do from a KPI every day, whether that’s, oh, first contact resolution, whether that’s average handling time, whether that’s ear-to-ear time, however it’s defined, how that ties up with the overall purpose of customer obsession.

And once you join the dots and bring the lines together, wow, that is so powerful for the advisors because they understand the purpose, why they are there. So bringing that together is really important. I think I would add to that the three Cs; one is customer obsession, which we’ve talked about, but making sure that your customers are really in the room. Secondly, communication.

I’ve never found a contact centre that communicates too much. Communication, communication, communication, making sure that it’s done in ways – we know that people learn in different ways, so we know people take verbal information, we know that people look at information, we know people read information.

We know people take in information in different ways so it’s really important that somebody somewhere in your organization understands the way people learn and then has the role of communicating through lots of different vehicles, whether it’s noticeboards, whether it’s whiteboards, or whether it’s anything you like it in terms of email or just face-to-face communication. But communication is key in the contact centre.

Why is it so key? Okay, imagine I’m on the phone all day long, doing what is a fairly repetitive job. I’m dealing generally with stressed customers, so therefore when I come off my job, I often have a feeling of needing to let off steam, and that letting off steam as a human being can often be really negative, so I need things around me that actually engage me in the business and help me handle that negativity in a positive way. And communication is all about that; that’s communication between employees from the team leader, but also all the visual communication as well.

So customer obsession and communication, and the third one is celebration. So celebrating in a contact centre successes and compliments, and when people have had birthdays, and when people have done the right thing for customers. When people have made a difference to how the team performs, when people have gone the extra mile is key. And oh, there are so many reasons – at least five a week – that a contact centre can celebrate.

A manager I used to know, every time anything happened, he used to go and put his football gear on, go and buy some biscuits and take an old trolley down the contact centre aisles, and he would be out there talking with everybody, celebrating, giving people just a biscuit, but the fun way in which he did it engaged people, gave people a laugh and made people smile. So customer obsession, communication and celebration.

If I’m going to add one more because I sometimes like to do that, there’s a final C, which is community. And we know we live in a world where people are coming from homes where the traditional home environment – Mum and Dad – is now different. People come from fractured families often, what do we call it – a multi-tapestry-type family, someone said to me the other day, their chocolate box of families they had, and all shop and mix and whole different patterns of families.

So people come to work these days for community, and community is about family. So that’s in the contact centre but also perhaps doing work outside of the contact centre. So part of our culture is also building a community, building a community around doing the right things for our customers. And I love contact centres that are doing some great charity work.

There’s some fantastic things that go on in contact centres where we really do give back to our wider communities. And the one thing we know in lots of contact centres now, there’s grandpa working, parent working, a child working, so in some contact centres, we can have at least three generations and aunts and nephews and nieces and everything working in the same environment.

So actually what we do for our community plays a vital role in making people feel great about our organization and wanting to stay there and to work there. So community would be the fourth one that I would add to that culture. And if you can bring customer obsession, communication, celebration and community together, then you have to do it in a way that is consistent.

So where does that start? That starts with an A4 sheet of paper, that starts with a plan and putting into plan over a 12-month period against all of those four areas and saying, “Right, what am I actually going to do? What specifics am I going to do to create a culture that is really positive? So what am I going to do each quarter, each month around customer obsession, around communication, around celebration and around community.”

And you don’t have to do that yourself as the leader, you can have a group that’s working on that, that takes ownership for those areas, and maybe you want to add some other areas in that might be particular issues you want to resolve within your organization. I was with an organization last week and we were talking about well-being, and so we’ve added onto our plan well-being.

So we have a structured programme now around well-being and that’s some self-help stuff for people, but also some stuff the business will do to help people better at work, right? Get fitter, get smarter and do better things, so we’re looking after the whole person, not just the person that’s interacting with the customer. So there are some things that we would do around culture.

Charlie: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of great stuff there. I think I’m seeing more and more contact centres partner with charities as well, particularly those that mean something to specific members of their team. Maybe they have an advisor who’s struggling from an illness or something, so they group together and work for a charity and that really does help to create a great community and bond.

I think there’s points not only about communication, but visual communication. Do advisors have input into the design of their surroundings? Maybe it’s can they contribute towards some levels and other things like that? I think that’s a nice idea.

Natalie: Yeah.

Charlie: And your first point around KPIs is interesting because I spoke to a contact centre who said that they measure productivity partially through occupancy levels. I thought that’s not good because obviously the advisors have no control over that. That’s a WFM metric and it shows how accurate staffing calculations have been. It’s not something that you should target advisors on. And if you do that it signals to them that efficiency, getting through calls quickly, is a key priority of your business, which may go against the culture, so I think there’s lots of great stuff there.

But one area that I do want to focus on now is the fact that high engagement levels are hard to achieve when advisors face the same calls time after time. So how would you advise avoiding this kind of job monotony almost?

Natalie: Okay. If advisors are facing the calls time after time, I would really say what’s the digital strategy? Because at a low level, if those calls are that similar then potentially they need to go online and out of the voice activity. But generally, calls are the same types, but each customer is a different customer. So we’re very strong advocates of really understanding and walking in the customer’s shoes, understanding the customer circumstances, not your own.

What we find in all calls, there are what we would call moments of truth when an advisor has to make a decision on how they’re actually going to look after the emotional well-being of that customer. So we do some work around really understanding what those moments of truth are. In fact, a project for a large organization in the UK we did, it was fascinating. We looked at the customer journey and then we looked at the employee journey.

And when we started off everyone said, “Well, they’ll be really similar.” But actually the two were distinctly different. They were in the same conversation, but the purpose of the moments of truth there were very different – what was driving them versus what was driving the customer – and what was key was enabling the frontline staff to understand where the customer was coming from, so understanding the customer’s situation.

So in terms of job monotony, I think there are some real practical things, there are having personality-based conversations, understanding different customer personalities, walking in your customer’s shoes and understanding their circumstances. But the next thing is how do we get better? What is the best practice for these calls? And if advisors can be challenged themselves, because I don’t know anybody that doesn’t want to do better at what they’re doing. And if we can get advisors to make themselves better in what they’re doing and not around occupancy rates, as we’ve just been discussing, but about conversation quality, they will become better achievers.

But what I also want to focus on is, go back to where we started really, on employee engagement. So what we added to that was looking and understanding about employee value. What I know working extensively with contact centre teams is that if I take a whole team of people and I put them into quartiles of performance, I will have a number of people obviously that are high performers, but if I look at the difference between my high performers and my bottom quartile four versus quartile one, I will see a difference of about 70% in performance.

So I could have a fully engaged team, but when it comes to performance – so this is the key thing around performance, right? – when I come to performance, I’ve got a big differential, and obviously that differs in each of the quartiles. But what I’ve got a job to do as a leader is to say, “I’ve got to understand what my quartile ones are doing and how can I as a leader move everybody up and raise the bar?”

Because the jobs we do day to day in contact centres are really monotonous, they have challenges that we face all the time. And if we understand what good looks like, what quartile one really looks like, the challenge for 75% of my workforce very crudely is to get up to that level of performance.

If we see monotonous stuff going on, I would as a manager look at myself and say, “Right, this isn’t just about monotony, this is about performance improvement. How am I going to actually shift and raise the bar for my whole team?” Because you know what, if I don’t, then I’m doing my team a real disservice, and in turn myself, because as a manager, I know that my success will depend on me improving the performance of my team’s success.

My organization is also going to be looking at that as well because come next year, things will be tougher, and we know things potentially are going to be tougher economically, so therefore organizations are going to be wanting a better return on their contact centre investment, and that’s just not about care, it’s not just about process, it’s not just about volumes, it’s about a better return on employees.

So if I’m a manager and I want to be one step ahead, I want to show how I’m driving performance improvement and a better return on my employees. So the core monotony stuff I think is a bit of a misnomer. My job as a manager is to understand my people, understand where they are in terms of performance and drive up to deliver a high-performing contact centre team that makes a difference to employees, makes a difference massively to customers and also makes a difference to the business so the business understands my value.

Charlie: I totally agree. And I would second the idea that quartile analysis is a great method of analysing performance. So, to our listeners, I would suggest going away and researching this simple technique a little further. But one thing that I just want to finish by discussing is the best ways to measure employee engagement. I just wanted to ask for your advice on how to go about measuring engagement levels in the call centre.

Natalie Calvert: Okay. We know from the work that we’ve done that there are about 45 indicators around employee engagement. There’s obviously some two or three key measures. I was listening to one of your other podcasts where you were talking about “Does my best friend work here?” as a measure, which is an interesting perspective. But I think from an employee’s point of view in today’s Facebook world, we have to look at likes, so do I actually like working here? Would I like you as an organization?

But at the end of the day, when you look at some of the big metrics around customer, we look at two things. One is obviously customer effort and is it easy? So think about that, is it easy to work here as an employee? Is it easy? Do they make my life easy with the systems I use, with the car park, with the travel, with the transport? Is this an easy job for me? Does it tick that, gosh it’s a no-brainer working here, it’s so easy.

But the other one is around, would I recommend to my best friend to work here? So not do they work there, but would I actually recommend? Because you could end up both working in the same place and that makes it a joyous place to work, great. But actually if I said to you, “This is such a fantastic place to work, I recommend it.” And that could very interestingly, surprise, surprise, align with your NPS.

Because what we look for is an alignment between customer experience and employee experience. And if we can get the two aligned, not just in terms of feeling happy to work here, but in terms of value, so we know in terms of customer value, we know it’s about profitability, but we know in terms of employee value, we’ve just talked about return on investment. If you can get that alignment really working, it’s a very powerful way to measure whether employee engagement isn’t just a tick in the box, but it’s actually working positively for your organization.

Because I would rather have 10 employees doing great things for customers than 50 employees behaving averagely but telling me they’re engaged.

Charlie: I think a couple of those questions actually there remind me of a Gallup poll that I’ve read recently, which was 12 questions to ask. Initially I didn’t think much of it, but there were questions like, do I know what’s expected from me at work? And at work, do my opinions seem to count? I think these are also nice little questions to ask, maybe on a survey, potentially not annually because I think that’s probably too sporadically to ask advisors, but it’s nice thing to ask so you measure that as a metric over time.

Natalie: I think that if you look at the first indicator around that we’ve talked about this morning is around customer obsession, I think that the key things are, do I understand my customers? Do I understand my customers? Do I understand my customers’ needs? Because if I understand my customers, then I’m also better at understanding how I work here.

So I think you’ve got to tie in your metric for employee engagement with your customers and then you’ll know whether you’re really getting a good bang for your buck all the way round, because if not, you’ve got happy people moosing along, doing okay things, but actually that’s not good enough in today’s world, if I’m going to be crude about it. We’ve got to have great people doing better things and great people will be engaged, but my priority is to make my people great and, as a leader, my job is to make my people better. And that’s not just around employee engagement, but it’s about people that have strong engagement but are high performing as well.

Charlie: I think that’s a great note to end on there. I think lots of great stuff that’s come out of this discussion will be really valuable for our listeners. Is there any way where they can contact you to find out a bit more?

Natalie: Yeah, through our website, www.cxhighperformance.com, or just email me directly, natalie@cxhighperformance.com. Happy to answer any questions.

Charlie: That’s all for this episode. Thank you, Natalie Calvert, for joining us today.

Author: Jonty Pearce
Reviewed by: Jo Robinson

Published On: 4th Nov 2019 - Last modified: 16th May 2024
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