Tried-and-Tested Employee Engagement Strategies That Unleash Higher eNPS Scores
Dedicated customer service employees who go beyond the call of duty to assist customers are a rare find. But it doesn’t have to be that way, if you focus on employee engagement. For example, by listening to our employees about what they need to stay engaged, our employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) in the Philippines jumped from 45 to 69 in one year. How did we do it? With a strategy and tactics to drive greater employee loyalty and engagement and deliver better customer experiences.
Research shows that satisfied employees deliver a superior customer experience. Companies that invest in the employee experience are four times as profitable as those that don’t, reports the Harvard Business Review. And front-line employees represent a company’s brand to customers, so it is in a company’s best interest to invest in an engaged workforce.
Compensation and benefits alone do not drive employee engagement. At a deeper level, one of the most critical factors of employee engagement is having a social connection with your coworkers and creating friendships. Employers need to be ever more in tune to facilitating this on behalf of their employees.
We do a lot here already to create a good place to work. We host activities like karaoke contests, outings to amusement parks, fun runs, and holiday parties for our employees and many times their families and friends.
We also know other benefits are increasingly important to employees: flexible work schedules, recognition for good work, access to fitness programs, and more. Because we wanted to identify opportunities to improve our employees’ experiences, we encourage regular dialogue between contact center leaders and our employees.
What employees want
Although it seems obvious, employee engagement strategies should not occur in a vacuum. We regularly ask our employee groups for input on what they value and which benefits they would find relevant. It was clear from the feedback that family, health, career, wellness, and avenues to advance employee’s passion and advocacy are at the top of many of our employees’ lists. It is helpful to put on paper the key themes we heard from our employees.
The purpose of this exercise is to take account where our company has made investments that address the needs our employees. It also highlights areas where we may be able to do more. For instance, we realized there was more that we could do to support diversity, including helping transgender employees feel comfortable in the workplace. Although we have a policy that allows transgender employees to use the restroom that they identify with, several employees still felt uneasy and requested single occupant, gender-neutral restrooms. Without talking to our employees, we may never have identified this need, but when we did our solution was simply to provide them what they requested across all our facilities in the Philippines.
Another need of some of our employees was to get more active and healthy in their lifestyles. We designed fitness programs that include yoga and Zumba classes, access to nearby gyms at discounted rates, and in some facilities where we had space, exercise equipment for our employees to use. We also identified common health issues among our employees and offer proactive disease management classes and testing (e.g., diabetes and hypertension) for our employees and their families.
Many of our team members also wanted more financial freedom. So we partnered with banks to provide free financial education and planning services to our employees. We hosted those sessions within our facilities, making them very visible and easy to access.
In addition to acknowledging the need for improvements, it’s important to communicate the company’s commitment to making those changes and broadcasting the changes as they occur. This lets employees know their voices were heard and reminds them of the value they receive from their employer.
Part of our communication strategy was to introduce bi-monthly employee pulse surveys. These anonymous surveys are designed to quickly alert team managers to areas that need improvement and to create an opportunity for dialogue to learn what would help employees feel more motivated and appreciated at work. On a scale of 0 to 10, the survey asks employees to select the level at which they would agree with statements like:
- “I receive in advance the necessary information I need to perform my job.”
- “My supervisor cares for me and makes working here a better place.”
- “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”
In some cases, some employee issues are outside of a supervisor’s control, but maintaining a regular dialogue with one’s manager goes a long way in making the employee feel validated. In other cases, the dialogue creates change. Our focus is more about creating open and honest two-way communication channels with our employees. It is about authenticity.
It’s important to communicate the changes as they occur and highlight that they came from employee feedback. This lets employees know their voices were heard and that they can have an impact on the business by sharing their suggestions and ideas.
Our combined efforts in soliciting feedback from our employees, acting on their input, introducing regular “checkups,” and communicating those changes resulted in a significant increase in employee satisfaction. Moving our net promoter score eNPS from 45 to 69 is a staggering improvement, and we plan to continue the momentum.
What does this mean for our customers? I regularly write blog posts for our company’s internal site about customer warriors—employees who do more than what is required to assist customers because they’re passionate about their jobs. The customer warriors that I highlight recognize situations when a customer has a unique challenge and take ownership of that case to resolve it, even if it requires extra work. It takes engaged employees to exert that extra 1 percent to become a customer warrior. It is the discretionary effort that can make all the difference and I am proud to have so many of these stories to share. Simply put, if executed correctly, employee engagement makes all the difference in driving customer loyalty and experience.