Category Archives: enterprise engagement

The Cost of Disengagement?

Employee engagement has been the topic of several posts, including our previous one; and according to recent data, is on the priority list for most organizational leaders.

But it is less common to hear people speak in specific terms about the real, often hidden, costs associated with disengagement.

In a recent blog post, Conway Management Company shared data indicating that “disengaged employees create a negative and expensive ripple effect throughout an organization, and drive-up costs in five specific ways.”

  1. Higher turnover
  2. Lower productivity and profitability
  3. Little or no process improvement
  4. Higher pay
  5. Lost opportunities

Read the full article…

10 Things Engaged Workers Tend to Say

Data presented by Gallup during a recent event was very compelling, and might well give organizational leadership some clear targets for better-engaging their workforce.

Based on the research shared, here are ten things that engaged workers tend to say:

  1. I’ve been recognized for my work in the past 7 days
  2. My supervisor seems to care about me
  3. Someone at work encourages my development
  4. My opinions seem to count at work
  5. In the past 6 months someone has talked about my development
  6. I know what’s expected of me at work
  7. I have the opportunity to learn at work
  8. I have the opportunity to use my strengths at work
  9. The company’s mission, values and goals make me feel that my work is important
  10. I have a best friend at work

Based on this list, a few questions we might ask ourselves include… How many of our team members might say some or all of these things?

Might there be a plan for promoting such thoughts or feelings?

Can specific activities on the part of our leaders at all levels be targeted to implement such a plan?

The opportunities for improvement are significant!

The Engagement Surprise Continues for Many…!

In one of last year’s posts we discussed the “engagement surprise,” which was identified as the measurable return-on-investment (R.O.I.) that many organizations were recognizing from their engagement efforts.

In other words, engagement can be a profit center rather than a cost center.

However, as presented in a recent Engagement Strategies Media article, the approach must be “intentional.”

Not only must leaders be strategic in their approach to engagement, but they must also stay-the-course with the intention of building a culture of engagement within their organizations — a culture in which people are engaged, highly-motivated, and highly-productive.

This is no small feat… but the data is clear, the R.O.I. can be significant. Typical objectives associated with this formalized approach to engagement include:

  • Increasing sales or revenue.
  • Increasing customer engagement and referrals.
  • Engaging channel partners to provide more commitment to products and services.
  • Improved recruiting and hiring.
  • Engaging volunteers for not-for-profits.
  • Engaging employees to achieve organizational goals, more consistently support the brand, work more productively, and exhibit greater loyalty.
  • Engaging employees to place added focus on quality, safety, and wellness.

These results and many more have been documented time-and-time again by the Enterprise Engagement Alliancewhich was founded in 2008. They provide members and other interested parties with a wide-range of resources and data, much of which is available at no cost.

 

 

Storytelling Can Be a Solution for Many Managerial & Leadership Challenges

leadership4Business leaders and managers often express their frustration when their directives, presentations, or other messages don’t seem to be heard or understood — or heeded!

Many report having to reiterate the same policies and procedures, only to have them fall on deaf ears again and again.

If this sounds familiar, there is a simple solution for today’s leaders!

As presented in a recent newsletter, storytelling has proved to be the key leadership technique for increasing understanding, buy-in, and compliance.

For example, in a recent Forbes article, author and consultant Steve Denning suggests, “Rather than merely advocating and counter-advocating propositional arguments, which lead to more arguments, leaders establish credibility and authenticity through telling their stories…

“When they [leaders] believe deeply in them, their stories resonate, generating creativity, interaction and transformation.”

“Stories can change the way we think, act, and feel,” says the editorial team at mindtools.com.

“They can form the foundations of an entire workplace culture, and they have the power to break down barriers and turn bad situations around. Stories can capture our imaginations, illustrate our ideas, arouse our passions, and inspire us in a way that cold, hard facts often can’t.”

Research by Paul Smith, a consumer research executive, indicates the following as being among the most common reasons for the use of stories by business leaders:

  • Inspiring the organization
  • Setting a vision
  • Training or teaching important lessons
  • Defining culture and values
  • Garnering organizational buy-in
  • Leading change

Engaging Your Sales Team?

engagementroiSpring-boarding off of last week’s post from “Engagement World,” we might ask ourselves how (or if) we are engaging our sales team.

Regrettably, the data shows that only 25% of the workforce trusts organizational leadership!  Fortunately the trust level in direct supervisors is higher.

This is critically-important for sales leaders or small business owners because buying decisions are significantly impacted by the engagement level and attitude exemplified by the sales team. In fact, the data shows that well over half of all buying decisions are driven by the emotional part of the brain!

Based on findings shared by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA), three best practices for engaging your team are:

  1. Invest your time in one-on-one sessions with each sales team member – preferably done on a weekly basis at a consistently-scheduled time (i.e, “same time each week). The agenda for these one-on-one sessions should include an activity review, opportunity or pipeline discussion, strategy and planning session. The tone should be supportive.
  2. Collaboration – invest your time by making joint sales calls, both in the field and via conference calls. By “working deals” with the sales team you will not only show support, but you will also learn about marketplace preferences while adding an important layer to customer and prospect relationships
  3. Provide the team with professional development opportunities. Training and development are inextricably tied to engagement, and higher engagement levels are inextricably tied to attitude and discretionary effort.

Author Timothy R. Clark summed-it-up nicely when he said, “Highly engaged employees MAKE the customer experience. Disengaged employees BREAK it.”

A Glimpse of Data from Orlando Engagement World Conference

EngagementWorldAs you may know,  Engagement World is a conference and expo taking place this week in Orlando, Florida.

The event is “dedicated to highlighting the world of Enterprise Engagement in business and its many strategies and tactics.”

During a few of today’s presentations some simple yet important messages were shared and reinforced:

  • More of the nation’s top organizations are documenting increases in financial performance as a result of increasing employee, partner and customer engagement.
  • Employee engagement begins at the recruiting step – a great case study was presented by Northwell Health (61,000 employees) outlining how they revamped their recruiting and on-boarding practices. To truly engage customers the workforce must be engaged first.
  • Among the key drivers of employee engagement:
    1. Clarity in roles and regular feedback
    2. Two-way communication with leadership
    3. Ability to impact the work environment
    4. Ongoing professional development and training
    5. Sense of connection with the organization’s culture and values

What Makes Your Organization Different?

custom_crayon_box_standout_16486What is the one thing your business or organization has that none of your competitors have?

Over the past five years we have asked a great many people in all types of organizations this simple question; and while the answers initially vary, they all ultimately agree that there is only one true and sustainable differentiator…

It isn’t a product or a unique feature of a product, or even a type of service, because these can be too easily emulated. So while a one-of-a-kind product or service might serve as a short-term differentiator, neither represents the best answer.

The simple answer is: YOU!

An organization’s one true and sustainable differentiator is the people within. Collectively the people make-up an enterprise’s personality; they represent the core values, and they represent not “what” an organization does but rather “how” it is done, which ultimately makes all the difference.

Given these realities, making enterprise engagement a cultural choice within your organization is the ideal way of achieving long-term success.

Customer Engagement?

engagement1Customer engagement has become a key objective for many companies and organizations.

The primary goal, according Jon Nace of Rosetta, a global marketing agency, is to not only satisfy clients, but to also “gain a commitment from clients to interact with your brand… make a transaction and, ultimately, to choose your brand repeatedly.

Yet data shows that many B2B companies offer a generic customer experience with few, if any, targeted follow-up actions.

The three recurring challenges to engaging customers are:

  1. Lack of corporate alignment, as departments operate in silos, which leads to an inconsistent user experience and to one department not knowing what customers have done or experienced.
  2. Marketing focus and budget is allocated more to advertising and promotion rather than direct or online customer engagement.
  3. Passive lead management, often involving automated responses rather than customized, value-
    added follow-up.

Is the Customer Always Right?

highroadThe phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of London’s Selfridge’s department store.

It is frequently used by businesses to define or clarify their approach to customer service, hoping, at varying times, to convince both consumers and employees of the high levels of service and satisfaction their customers experience.

But of course, no one is “always” right, and much has been written about why the perspective that “the customer is always right” is, in fact, “wrong.” In fact, a 2014 Huffington Post article lists what author Alexander Kjerulf considers the top five reasons that customers are not always right.

Similarly, Hal Rosenbluth, founder of Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency, wrote a book about their approach called “Put The Customer Second – Put your people first and watch’em kick butt.”

Rosenbluth argues that when you put the employees first, they put the customers first; that when you put employees first they will be happy at work, and employees who are happy at work give better customer service.

Regardless of your position on the matter, you might consider that the key words in the well-known phrase may not actually be the words “always right.”

Instead, the key word is “customer,” because when a customer is, in fact, wrong, they will most likely stop being a customer if they are proved to be wrong in a manner that they find offensive — in a manner that brings about loss of dignity or respect.

So maybe the better questions is, what does it mean to “take the high road” when interacting with customers or, to Mr. Rosenbluth’s point, colleagues?

As speaker David Brock once said, “Being right doesn’t mean you win!”

Growth Through Strategic Customer Service & Engagement

nl145quoteWhen asked, most people say they do their best to provide good customer service. However, methods can vary significantly and tend to be inconsistent.

To maximize the effectiveness of your team’s customer service and engagement effort, it’s best to develop and implement a measurable, strategic approach that leverages your organization’s unique benefits and that can become both consistent and cultural.

Creating a plan, setting goals, enhancing communication and monitoring results are the key elements of the process. Here are some specific ideas on how you might get started:

  1. The first step is to learn three key things about your customers what they like, what they don’t like and how they feel about your organization
  2. Next, identify your organization’s unique offerings from a products and services perspective (what you offer/do) as well as a cultural perspective (how you offer/do it). Note the alignment between these first two items, and then determine the things associated with your culture and unique offerings that your customers value the most the real benefits
  3. Develop a communication style that expresses these benefits in terms that are relevant to your customers (rather than to you and your staff)
  4. Define action steps that exemplify and reinforce your group’s culture; keep in mind, in most cases an organization’s most distinguishable assets are people
  5. Create and implement a system in which your organization consistently executes the action steps and communicates in the style noted above
  6. Monitor and measure results… continually discuss and refine the process regularly include this topic on staff meeting and sales meeting agendas

Growing a business or sales territory is not easy work, but it will become easier if we can engage, delight and retain our customers. Possibly Matthew Tashjian, a Senior VP at Merrill Lynch in Hartford, CT sums it up best, as he often says, “One way to make money is to not lose any!”

Read the full article…