Can You Hear Me Now? V 2.0
Last week’s blog focused on the fact that there is an undeniable linkage between employee engagement and customer engagement. If the employee experience is poor, it will be difficult for employees to delight your customers.
So how do you ensure your employees are engaged? One effective way is to create a two-way communication culture, where leaders give employees opportunities to voice their thoughts, concerns, fresh ideas, and innovative solutions. Here are three ideas that you could implement tomorrow, putting your team and your company on a path to a better culture:
- Focus Groups – Gather employees in small groups of 10-14 people to get their input on a new strategy, product, marketing campaign, etc. Be sure to circle back with the attendees and communicate what feedback you will act on and implement, and why. Even if you do not implement their ideas, if you provide context as to why, they will not feel like they wasted their time.
- Voice of the Customer – Your employees are in the trenches, closest to the customer. Therefore, they have valuable insights about what customers like and don’t like. Solicit this feedback from customer-facing employees via email, a suggestion box, or a quarterly face-to-face meeting. Also create a mechanism for employees to report “in the moment” something that is not working for your customers, so it can be fixed immediately.
- Open Office Hours – In many companies there is an “Us vs. Them” dynamic between employees and senior leaders. You can break it by enabling employees to meet one-on-one with senior leaders. At the beginning of every month, share with employees a list of your top executives and the day that month that people can meet with each leader. It’s up to the employee to send the executive a 25-minute meeting request. The Ground Rules are twofold: No PowerPoint presentation and if you bring a problem to the table, you must also bring a potential solution.
When you actively solicit input from employees on a regular basis, they will grow to trust senior leaders and feel more connected to your company (the definition of engagement).
For more tips on how to engage employees, peruse my Blog Collection, which is officially one-year-old this month. You’ll find some great ideas to jumpstart your culture and get encourage employees to give you discretionary effort, which we all know is the magic dust to extraordinary business results.