The baseline goal of any business–big or small–is to provide excellent customer service so that the customer will continue to patronize said business and help it grow. It is the dollar that speaks, and it is the consumer who holds that precious voice box. Therefore, make the customer happy, make the business prosper, right?
Not wrong, but not the whole picture, either. In order to provide excellent customer service, it is up to the employees (who are the face of the business) to create a positive experience. But if employees are not happy, if they are unsatisfied or mistreated, then they have no reason to exude positivity. This is why it is so crucial for business owners to ensure that their employees are taken care of, that they are content, so that they will continue to provide customers with the service they expect and keep the business running.
Utilizing Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a term that covers nearly every aspect of the human experience from the employee perspective. Furthermore, it covers the realm of human resources and higher-ups who put in the effort to create a sense of engagement that has the ability to drive productivity and increase profits. According to M. Sandhya Sridevi, a professor at Andhra University in the Department of Commerce and Management Studies, the core understanding of employee engagement rests on the concept that it “is the result of [a] two-way relationship between employer and employee…there are things to be done by both sides.”
Put simply, employee engagement is the effort that an employer puts into creating a positive work environment (which includes affirmation of job well done and constructive criticism) which, in turn, should help drive employees to not only commit to their work, but to feel good about doing so. Again, this is a two-way street and if one side does not come to the table, then other resolutions must be sought out. However, the first point of contact is the employer, who must make his or her place of business a positive atmosphere before he or she can expect any employees to show engagement.
Test the Waters
If an employer believes that employees are showing a low amount of discipline and work ethic, then perhaps it is time to implement an employee engagement survey. By having employees complete this honest (and anonymous) survey, the employer can get a better idea of where potential problems might lie. He or she should carefully study the results and see what areas of dissatisfaction can be worked on. The next important step is asking the right questions.
The employee satisfaction experts at OfficeVibe have created a guide to help employers design the right type of survey to achieve the best results. According to OfficeVibe, the best survey will look at:
- Job satisfaction
- Relationships at work
Designing survey questions around these topics will help an employer better understand the emotional aspects that are negatively affecting employee performance. Even the best employees often let emotions affect their work, which is natural, considering humanity’s socio-emotional nature. Harnessing the power to help channel this nature is the key to running a successful, employee-driven business.
Aim Focus at the Individual Level
One of the most effective means of inspiring employees and promoting a positive work environment is for managers and employers to motivate at the individual level rather than the team level. This can be difficult, especially for larger businesses, but it will return big dividends if performed correctly. Start with these simple steps:
- Get to know each employee – talk to them, learn about their long-term goals, ask about their likes/dislikes, share with them your own goals for the company
- Provide positive feedback – when an employee does good work, let them know that you noticed. A simple congratulations or expression of pride (at least in the beginning) can go a long way
- Develop an open-door policy – most employees are nervous or afraid to approach their boss or manager; do not let this type of emotional response grow by making it clear that you are always available to answer questions and address concerns (within reason, of course)
- Incentivize and reward – create goals that can double as a sort of “game” with a prize (even if it is something as simple as the “office troll doll”) and you will better motivate your employees to strive to win, which will in turn help the business succeed
These are just a few ideas that a manager or employer can implement in their business to improve employee satisfaction which will then improve customer satisfaction, therefore allowing the business to grow and excel.