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The Connection of Employee Engagement and Experience

by Gregory Gibbs, Vice President of Global Customer Transformation, Service Council

The Service Council just completed its 2018 Employee Engagement survey findings report, to be published the week of October 22, 2018. Within the context of our guiding principle, "Service is Humanity," we wanted to better understand the degree of employee engagement within our members' organizations and provide insights to help them improve in areas of opportunity specific to their organization.

Why is employee engagement so important? As we state in the Employee Engagement Findings Report, poor engagement costs U.S. businesses over $500B per year. (Gallup, 2017). On the flip side, companies with high employee engagement experience many business benefits, such as increased productivity, higher profitability and lower attrition and absenteeism, to name a few. In today's business environment, fighting for and keeping top talent is now the norm. Whether it's retail, manufacturing, hi-tech or service, the same challenges in attracting and keeping talent exist and focusing on the employee engagement is more important than ever.

But there's even more value to improving employee engagement than meets the eye--a more hidden but very key value-add lies in the connection of the employee experience, EX, to the the customer experience, CX. First, let's define the terms, "customer experience" and "employee experience." Simply stated, CX is the sum total of all interactions a customer experiences with an organization. These interactions can be either positive or negative, hence the term coined by Jan Carlson years ago as "Moments of Truth."

Similarly, EX is defined as the sum of everything an employee experiences within an organization--the interactions with the organization's people, processes, tools and data." Or as one HR consultancy defines it: "The Employee Experience is the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work."

What EX is not:

  • Perks/fun events--these are only a portion of the total employee experience
  • New approach to HR--the employee experience is not just an HR function; it is about culture change that leaders support and guide and the employees own
  • Employee engagement--engagement is an end goal of an optimal EX approach. If engagement is low, the EX needs to be examined, what motivates employees identified and then built into the redesign of the employee experience
  • Employees as customers--this was a prevalent concept in the height of Six Sigma era. It added value to viewing employees as more than just resource that was a cost, and began the shift to seeing employees as valued assets. But even this is an incomplete approach

So, to tie the main element together--here's how it works:

Employee Experience => Employee Engagement => Customer Experience

If we can optimize EX, then then EE will increase and an improved CX will be a result of the two. According to Dr. Tracy Maylett, co-author of The Employee Experience, “The customer experience is a direct result of the engagement and the behaviors of your employees.

Improving this equation will lead to tangible business results as well. In his research, Jacob Morgan, author of the 'Employee Experience Advantage," organizations that focused on EX were:

  • Listed 2.1 times as often on Forbes list of the World's Most Innovative Companies
  • 2X more often foucn in the American Customer Satisfaction Index
  • 4X the average profit
  • More than 2X the average revenue

In summary, if you are in the business of customer service, where employees (or partners) interact with customers in any way, it is essential you examine and look to improve upon Employee Engagement. We look forward to presenting our 2018 Employee Engagement Survey results next week.

Filed under:  Continuous improvementCustomer experienceCustomer experience managementCustomer serviceCustomer supportEmployee engagementEmployee retentionEmployee satisfactionService cultureService innovationService profitabilityService revenueService transformationStrategy implementationTalent developmentTalent managementTrainingVoice of the customer 

Gregory Gibbs
Vice President of Global Customer Transformation,  Service Council

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