Focus On Employee Engagement, Not Employee Experience

We are finally seeing a movement by the general business world to seriously focus on the role and value of employees, which is why “Embracing Employee Engagement” is one of our 2017 CX Trends. Temkin Group has viewed employee engagement as a critical foundation for customer experience since our inception. It’s one of our Four CX Core Competencies.

While the trend is great, there’s still a long way to go. I’d love to see many more human resources organizations recognize that employee engagement is one of their strategic objectives (see my post, HR Execs: Wake Up To Employee Engagement!).

As this area has gained attention, there’s been a troubling misunderstanding creeping up in the dialogue. People are confuscating Employee Engagement with Employee Experience. They are not the same.

It’s important to understand the distinction, because only one of them is the foundation to success. So let’s look at each of them:

  • Employee Experience deals with how employees enjoy their job or environment. It deals with making things fun and enjoyable. People often say things like “let’s treat the employees’ experience like we do the customers’ experience.” They think of ways to make the work place more exciting and fun, by adding things outside of work like pizza parties and gift swaps. Employee experience can be measured by questions like “how much fun do you have at work.
    • My take: This is a very nice thing to do for your employees, but it is insufficient to drive success.
  • Employee Engagement deals with how committed employees are to the mission of their organization. It deals with human beings’ intrinsic needs for a sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. People who want to affect change in this area must focus on the design of the work environment using what we call the Five I’s: Inspire, Inform, Involve, Instruct, and Incent. Employee engagement can be measured by the three questions in the Temkin Employee Engagement Index.
    • My take: This is a requirement to drive long-term success.

If you want to build a high performing organization that consistently delivers great customer experience, then you need to focus on employee engagement. If you happen to improve employee experience along the way, then that’s an added bonus.

The bottom line: Focus on employee engagement, not employee experience.

P.S. Based on some great comments to this post, I want to clarify something. Improving employee experience is not a bad thing. But a company should not be focusing its energy on improving employees experience just for the sake of that improvement. The ultimate goal should be in creating an engaged workforce, not just ensuring that employees enjoy their work experience. See my post: Are You Creating Engaged or Entitled Employees?

Report: 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK

We just published a Temkin Group report, 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK. This is the same customer experience benchmark that we’ve been publishing for U.S. firms over the past seven years.

The UK Temkin Experience Ratings is a cross-industry, open-standard benchmark of customer experience. To generate these scores, we asked 5,000 UK consumers to rate their recent interactions with 157 companies across 16 industries and then evaluated their experiences across three dimensions: success, effort, and emotion.

Here are some highlights from the research:

  • Co-op, M&S Food, and Lidl earned highest overall ratings, while Audi, BMW, and Flybe earned the lowest.
  • When we compared company ratings with their industry averages, we found that Saga, Premier Inn, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen most outperformed their peers, while Audi and Bank of Scotland fell well below their competitors.
  • Take a look at a listing of all 157 companies.

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Download sample dataset to see what’s included)
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Here are the top and bottom companies and the industry averages in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK:

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(Report includes an Excel file with data for all 157 companies.
Download sample dataset to see what’s included)
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Report: Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2017

We just published a Temkin Group report, Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2017. This is the sixth year that we’ve published the benchmark of U.S. employees. The research is based on an online survey on Q3 2016. (Take a look at our Employee Engagement Resource Page).

For the sixth year in a row, Temkin Group used the Temkin Employee Engagement Index to analyze the engagement levels of more than 5,000 U.S. employees. We found that:

  • Sixty-three percent of U.S. employees are “highly” or “moderately” engaged – the highest level we’ve seen in the six years we’ve conducted this study.
  • Companies that outperform their competitors in both financial results and customer experience have more engaged workers.
  • Compared to disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are almost five times more likely to recommend the company’s products and services, they are over four times more likely to do something that is good, yet unexpected, for the company, they are three times more likely to stay late at work if something need to be done, and they are over five times more likely to recommend an improvement at the company.
  • Companies with 501 to 1,000 employees have the highest percentage of engaged employees, while companies with 10,000 or more employees have the lowest.
  • On an individual level, our research shows that the most highly engaged employees tend to be those who regularly interact with customers, who are highly educated, who earn a high income, and who are executives.
  • Forty-nine percent of construction employees are highly engaged, the highest level of any industry. At the other end of the spectrum, only 20% of employees in public administration are highly engaged.
  • Given the significant value of engaged employees, we recommend that companies improve engagement levels by mastering our Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.

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Here’s what we found when we examined year-over-year results for the Temkin Employee Engagement Index:

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Here are previous employee engagement benchmark studies: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.

An Inspiring Mission Is An Employee Magnet

1702_inspiringmission2If you want to recruit the best employees, make sure that your organization has an inspiring mission.

Temkin Group recently surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about their preferences for a new job. Respondents chose one of these three attributes: the company’s mission, pay level, or new boss.

An inspiring mission was the most popular option–and it wasn’t even close. Here’s what people selected:

  • Inspiring mission: 54.4%
  • Above average pay: 26.9%
  • Great boss: 18.8%

We also examined the responses across age groups. As you can see below:

  • Mission is the most important attribute for every age group
  • 65- to 74-year-olds is the group that cares the most about the mission
  • 25- to 34-year-olds is the group that cares the most about their pay
  • 25- to 44-year-olds is the group that cares the most about their boss

1703_jobpreferencesbyage

Why does Temkin Group care about this? Because attracting the best employees is one of the first steps in building employee engagement, which is one of our Four Customer Experience Core Competencies. Also, as we celebrate The Year of Purpose, we will continue to highlight the importance of meaning for both people and organizations.

The bottom line: Make your mission more inspiring.

Report: Engaging A Tethered Workforce

1701_engagingatetheredworkforce_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Engaging A Tethered Workforce.  Here’s the executive summary:

Companies across a number of industries create and deliver customer experiences (CX) through a combination of traditional employees and other workers who they do not directly control – such as contractors or employees of channel partners or outsourcing partners. Despite not being directly employed by the company, these other workers – who make up what Temkin Group calls a “tethered workforce” – still play a critical role in delivering experiences that represent the company’s brand. However, tethered workers differ from typical full-time, corporate employees in ways that pose challenges to brands’ efforts to align these workers with their customer experience goals and objectives. In this report, we examine how brands are tapping into these tethered employees. Here are some highlights:

  • Companies must manage three connections: 1) Between themselves and their partners that employ the tethered workers, 2) Between their partners and the tethered employees, and 3) Between themselves and the tethered workers.
  • We share over 30 examples of best practices from across Temkin Group’s Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.
  • We offer brands a blueprint for engaging tethered workers with key things to think about across the three connections of tethered workforces.

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Here are the 17 best practices described in the report:

1701_bestpracticesforengagingtetheredworkers

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Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017

1701_lessonsincxexcellence_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2016 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has 62 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we named five organizations the winners of Temkin Group’s 2016 Customer Experience Excellence Award – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Century Support Services, Crowe Horwath, Oxford Properties, and VCA. This report highlights specific examples of how these companies’ customer experience (CX) efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses, describes winners’ best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. it includes all of the winners’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the winners: Read more of this post

Put Culture Change On Your 2017 CX Agenda. Here’s How.

If you’re thinking about improving your organization’s customer experience next year (and why wouldn’t you be?!?), then I hope you are also thinking about some changes in your organization’s culture. As I’ve said many, many times, your customer experience is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. It’s your culture that will sustain any improvements that you make in customer experience.

As I’m sure you know, culture change isn’t easy. People are naturally averse to change. As John Kenneth Galbraith so aptly stated, “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

1612_employeereactiontochange

Any chance of a successful, purposeful change in your culture needs to focus on the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of individual employees. That’s the foundation of a concept that Temkin Group introduced called Employee-Engaging Transformation (EET). EET is based on five practices: Vision Translation, Persistent Leadership, Middle Management Activation, Grassroots Mobilization, and Captivating Communications.
1610culture_blueprintforculturalchange
EET is different than typical top-down, autocratic attempts at culture change. Those efforts either just don’t work, or they create unintended negative elements in the culture.

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Here’s an assessment that you can use to gauge your effectiveness at applying EET.

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For more information, check out all of our rich content on culture change, starting with these two reports:

The bottom line: Culture change is a necessary ingredient of CX transformation.

Only 26% of U.S. Employees are Highly Engaged. How Engaged are Your Employees?

In our latest Employee Engagement Benchmark, we found that only 26% of U.S. employees are highly engaged.

1609ee_fewemployeesarehighlyengagedHow do we measure employee engagement?

Several years ago, we examined the attitudes that drive engagement levels of employees. Our goal was to identify a small group of key drivers and create a simple measurement for employee engagement. That led to the creation of the Temkin Employee Engagement Index (TEEI).

1609ee_teeiThe TEEI is based on the degree to which employees agree with these three statements:

  1. I understand the overall mission of my company
  2. My company asks for my feedback and acts upon my input
  3. My company provides me with the training and the tools that I need to be successful

Our research shows that engaged employees are an enormous asset. Compared with disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are more than four times as likely to recommend the company’s products and services and do something good for the company that is not expected of them, 2.5 times as likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends, and seven times as likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job at their company.

If you’re looking for a simple, actionable metric around employee engagement, feel free to use the TEEI. We also have other great content on our Employee Engagement Resources Page.

The bottom line: Are you focusing enough on employee engagement?

Amazon Makes Smart Move to Positive Employee Feedback

Last year the New York Times published an article describing Amazon as having a “bruising workplace,” a performance-based environment that often brings employees to tears. It seems that Amazon is changing its ways a bit. It recently announced that it was adjusting the way it evaluates employees. A spokesperson for Amazon described the change as follows:

We’re launching a new annual review process next year that is radically simplified and focuses on our employees’ strengths, not the absence of weaknesses. We will continue to iterate and build on the program based on what we learn from our employees.

My take: Great move. There’s a growing body of research showing that people perform better when they receive positive feedback. 1611_positivitymattersIn my post Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience, I mention an approach called “appreciative inquiry,” which is a technique for motivating employees that focuses on their strengths.

To highlight the impact of this phenomena, I analyzed our data on more than 5,000 U.S. employees. As you can see below, when bosses give more positive feedback, employees are more likely to recommend the company’s products and services, to do something good for the company that is unexpected, and make improvement recommendations.

1611_employeerespondtopositivefeedback

The bottom line: Positivity is a strong human motivator.

HR Execs: Wake Up To Employee Engagement!

Let me start by saying that HR execs are missing a big opportunity.

In the report Benchmarking HR’s Support of CX and Employee Engagement, we examine what human resources (HR) professionals are doing to support customer experience and employee engagement efforts. How? We surveyed 300 HR professionals from large companies and compared the results to a similar study we conducted in 2012.

As you can see in the graphic below, HR professionals are increasingly seeing employee engagement as an important area of focus. We also found that the percentage of HR organizations that are significantly helping their organizations become more customer-centric has more than doubled from 15% in 2012 to 31% in 2016. That’s good news, but it’s not enough.

1609ee_hrismoreinvolvedOur research shows that engaged employees are an enormous asset. Compared with disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are more than four times as likely to recommend the company’s products and services and do something good for the company that is not expected of them, 2.5 times as likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends, and seven times as likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job at their company.

With all that potential value, HR professionals should be much more focused on employee engagement. It’s not only that this is a critical area, but it’s an opportunity for HR teams to become even more strategic partners within their organizations. Instead of just hiring, placing, training, compensating, and firing employees, make your workforce incredibly more valuable. What am I suggesting?

HR Orgs Should Make Employee Engagement A Top Priority

If you’re an HR professionals and wondering where to start, take a look at our employee engagement resources.

The bottom line: It’s time for HR to take the lead in employee engagement.

Guide to Organizational Culture Change (Infographic)

We regularly help companies create cultures that are more customer-centric.  So it seemed like a fun idea to create an infographic on the topic. Enjoy! You may want to see a video we created about customer-centric culture or the report, Employee-Engaging Transformation.
guide-to-organizational-culture-change

You can download (and print) this infographic in different forms:

The bottom line: The customer experience you deliver is a reflection of your culture

Free eBook: 25 Tips For Tapping Into Customer Emotions

1609_ebook_25emotiontips_finalAs part of our CX Day celebration, we’re giving away this free eBook: 25 Tips For Tapping Into Customer Emotions.

Here’s the executive summary:

Emotions play an essential role in how people form judgments and make decisions. Consequently, a customer’s emotional response to an experience with a company has a significant impact on their loyalty to that company. To help you improve your customer experience, we’ve compiled a list of 25 examples from companies who are tapping into customer emotions, which you can emulate at your own organization.

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The eBook contains 25 tips across four areas: Experience Design, Organizational Personality, Organizational Empathy, and Customer Segmentation.

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The bottom line: Apply these lessons to tap into your customers’ emotions

Infusing Humanity Into CX, Discussion With Barry Schwartz

It’s CX Day in New Zealand, so that’s reason enough to kick off Temkin Group’s CX Day celebration. I can’t think of a better way to start CX Day in The Year of Emotion, then to share my Q&A with Barry Schwartz.

During this one hour video focused on Infusing Humanity into CX, we discuss some of Barry’s key findings about people and happiness, and explore what it means for customers, employees, and leaders. Sit back and enjoy the discussion, and then follow the links below for more information.

In case you don’t know Barry (and you should!), he’s the Emeritus professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, and has spent forty years thinking and writing about the interaction between economics and morality. 

This Q&A was a real pleasure for me, because Barry has heavily influenced my thinking over the years. He’s one of the key thought leaders of our time, and I believe that all CX professionals (and all leaders) can learn from him.

Here’s some of Barry’s work that we discuss:

Here’s some of our research that we discuss:

The bottom line: Thank you Barry Schwartz!

Employee Engagement Primer (Infographic)

One of Temkin Group’s four CX core competencies is Employee Engagement. That’s why Temkin Group put together an Employee Engagement Resource Page and developed this infographic.

You can download the infographic (or poster) below. I hope you enjoy it.

1609_Employee Engagement Infographic

Here are links to download versions of the infographic:

1609_Employee Engagement Poster Poster (18′ x 24″) in .pdf file or in .jpg file

1609_Employee Engagement Infographic Infographic in .pdf file or in .jpg file

The bottom line: Good things happen you engage your employees.

What Drives Employee Turnover? Not Compensation

Why do employees leave their companies for another job?

To examine this question, I tapped into our Q3 2015 consumer benchmark study which included more than 5,000 U.S. full-time employees. The analysis compared two groups of employees, those who were likely to look for a new job in the next six months and those who were not.

Compensation does not appear to be a significant driver, if one at all. As you can see below, employees who do not believe that they are fairly compensated are not much more likely to look for a new job than those who feel that they are appropriately paid.

The most significant drivers of an employee looking for a new job is how they feel about the work that they do and their pride in their company.

1608_CompensationAndEmployeeTurnover

The bottom line: Employees want meaning in their work.

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