Customers have lots of choices these days. It’s one of the reasons the “customer experience” has become a critical differentiator – treat customers right if you want to keep them coming back.
Employees also have choices. While the current economy doesn’t offer as many opportunities for employees to switch jobs as customers have to switch companies, employees can choose their level of on-the-job engagement.
How much longer can they continue like this?
While companies may think they have the upper hand over their employees because of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, they’re ignoring the reality that the customer experience begins with the employee experience.
Consider employees who have taken pay-cuts, given back benefits, or haven’t had salary increases for the past several years. Yes, many organizations have had to cut back to stay viable and learn to “work smarter, not harder.” But some employees have reached the point where they’ve gone from “doing more with less” to now being expected to “do everything with nothing.” No wonder employee frustration is considered the “enemy of engagement.”
What’s a company to do?
Talk with employees before they reach the breaking point, not after. Find ways to respectfully (rather than gratuitously) engage them in the process of coming up with ways to keep business going; i.e., let them take some ownership of the situation and possible solution(s). Then recognize and reward their participation.
Remember, customer relations “mirror” employee relations – the way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers!