It’s Time To Engage Your Employees

As I was catching up on my reading, I ran across an article in BusinessWeek that discusses research from Gallup showing that less than 30% of the corporate workforce is truly engaged in its work. Why does this matter? The article points to some findings at Best Buy:

For every one-tenth-of-a-point increase in employee engagement, each Best Buy store increased profits by $100,000 a year.

My take: Less than one-third of employees are engaged in their work. Wow, that’s a huge opportunity! Companies that are looking to build more loyal customers need to look at their employees first. As I discuss in my eBook The 6 Laws Of Customer Experience: Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. Companies trying to improve the customer experience without figuring out how to engage the other 70% of their workers will likely fail.

That’s why I like what Alaska Airlines did with its North Of Expected campaign. Even with the backdrop of a difficult economic environment, the airline seized the opportunity to energize its workforce. Prior to rolling out its external marketing campaign, the company spent 10 weeks on an internal campaign called “Be North Of Expected” that engaged employees in Alaska Airline’s heritage of good customer service.

The bottom line: Employee engagement is a required path to customer loyalty

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

4 thoughts on “It’s Time To Engage Your Employees”

  1. Alaska’s North of Expected campaign is actually kind of a slap in the face considering it promoted their first bag free policy that went out the door during the campaign.

    I like Alaska. They’re better than most carriers, but Southwest employees generally seem more engaged and their refusal to participate in the industry’s rush to charge fees for everything makes Southwest seem more like the answer to the customer experience problems illustrated by SkyHigh Airlines in Alaska’s prior campaigns.

  2. Bruce.

    Great post. Frankly its a topic that not a lot of folks cover, yet its so critical to customer service. Another related topic is how customers who are engaged with a brand can also help other customers. Look at the case studies of how successful customer communities increase satisfaction. Natalie Petouhoff just profiled Infusionsoft in a case study that reflects this very well.

    Great topic.

    Bill

  3. Bruce – I strongly agree with your position on this topic. I am continually amzed at how many organizations initiate efforts to change culture and strive for increasing engagement of the people that they already employ, with no focus on how to propel a culture of engagement during the onboarding process of new hires. What good is it to try to engage the people that you have, if at the same time you don’t try to create an atmosphere of high-engagement on day one. Every effort to increase engagement is a good one, but organizations should turn their focus to the people that they are hiring and find innovative ways to get them engaged quickly; before they even have a chance to move into the nonengaged category.
    Mike

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