How Respect can Inspire your Employees

respect

Disengaged employees can be the death of a company. Employees who dislike their jobs, watch the clock, or put the absolute minimum effort into their daily activities can kill the performance and morale of a business. The problem is significant especially in the current economic environment. According to the latest “State of the American Workplace” report by Gallup, 70% of employees are currently disengaged costing U.S. companies more than $450 Billion in lost productivity. They also found that leaders play a critical role in the level of engagement.

Employee engagement has become one of the latest corporate buzzwords with 78% of business leaders saying it is both an urgent and important priority, according toDeloitte. Companies have tried a range of techniques to improve the level of engagement but, according to Gallup, the percent of disengaged employees has not changed significantly in the past five years.

What if the solution to the problem was simple? What if, as a leader, you could change just one thing to create an actively engaged workforce? Studies have shown there is a simple answer and it is related to the level of respect you give to your workforce.

According to one study by Psychometrics, employee engagement directly affects the production and efficiency of an organization. Actively engaged employees provide real, tangible benefits to an organization such as:

  • 39% showed a willingness to do more than expected
  • 27% exhibited higher productivity
  • 13% reported better working relationships
  • 10% more satisfied customers

They also learned the most significant driver to create and sustain an environment of strong employee engagement was the company’s leadership. 84% of survey respondents indicated that leaders and managers are primarily responsible for the amount employee engagement.

When asked what leaders could do more of to improve employee engagement, survey respondents all pointed to one word, respect. Employees want to be respected by the people they work for. They want leaders who are considerate, communicate clear expectations, listen to employees’ opinions, and provide regular feedback.

The truth is that many managers have never been formally trained in leadership. They are promoted because of their education, technical ability or past performance. Because of this, they may not fully understand how critical their actions are to creating and sustaining an environment of employee engagement.

Paul Marciano, author of “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT,” points out seven simple ways in which leaders can show respect to their employees.

  • Recognition: Thanking employees and acknowledging their contributions on a regular basis.
  • Empowerment: Providing employees with the appropriate resources, training, information and authority to get the job done.
  • Supportive Feedback: Giving regular performance feedback — both positive and corrective.
  • Partnering: Fostering a collaborative working environment where employees’ opinions are sought out and considered.
  • Expectation setting: Establishing and communicating clear performance goals and objectives.
  • Consideration: Demonstrating genuine thoughtfulness, empathy, and kindness.
  • Trust: Demonstrating faith and belief in employees’ skills, abilities, and decisions.

As leaders, we can directly affect the amount of employee engagement in our companies by our actions. We can lead by example by showing respect to our employees at every level. It is also critical to find, train and promote managers and supervisors who can demonstrate these skills on a regular basis.

As disengaged employees can be the death of a company, engaged employees can breathe life into a company. It’s our duty as leaders to create an environment where employees are respected, engaged and excited to be part of our team. The result will be real, tangible improvements in the company’s morale and performance.

3 Reasons why you should Love Customer Complaints

complaints

In a recent blog post by Rick Conlow about improving the customer experience, Rick points to four studies that show the benefits to be gained from improved customer satisfaction:
  • According to Harvard Business Review’s Employ­ee-Customer-Profit Chain, a 1.3% improvement in customer satisfaction scores results in a revenue increase of 0.5%.
  • The Profit Impact of Market Strategy’s database found that companies who lead in service have 12 times the profit­ability and 9% greater growth than poor service providers.
  • Bain & Co. found that a 12-point increase in the net-promoter score doubles a company’s growth rate.
  • A report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index proved that the leading companies consistently outperformed the market. Customer service leaders outper­formed the Dow by 93%, the Fortune 500 by 20% and the NASDAQ by 335%.

Rick states that one of the reasons why companies fail to take advantage of these benefits is that they are ignorant to what is really going on with the customer experience. Companies talk about the importance of customer service but make no serious attempt to understand and measure it. Surveys are a great tool but they have disadvantages as well. They are not done in real time and not all customers will give you accurate feedback.

A better tool and one that is available to all companies is the customer complaint. Complaints are provided in real time and provide a realistic view of the customer experience. Smart leaders, are learning to treat customer complaints like gold, using them to improve their business processes. If used correctly, complaints can be a valuable tool to help measure performance, solve systemic problems, and to create a customer focused culture.

Customer complaint data can help measure performance. A simple system to capture customer complaint data can provide valuable insight on how well an organization is performing. Are complaints trending up or down? How quickly are problems being solved? What products are creating the most complaints? Which type of customers are complaining the most? Reviewing complaint data on a regular basis will help companies better understand how their business is performing and where action is needed to make improvements.

Customer complaints can help solve systemic problems. Data from customer complaints can help identify underlying problems, common failure modes, and systemic issues affecting an organization. Over time, complaint data trends can reveal challenges companies didn’t know even existed. Simple trending and pareto analysis by product, by customer, by type of complaint, by department, or even by employee can help reveal these underlying problems. Seeing the data will help companies identify root causes and solve problems permanently.

Customer complaints can help foster a customer focused culture. When complaints are seen as a valuable source of critical business information instead of a problem, the culture begins to change. Making it a critical business priority to resolve complaints quickly and use the data to solve underlying problems immediately adds the “voice of the customer” to business processes. This culture can be further reinforced by communicating improvements and celebrating successes.

The benefits of improved customer satisfaction are significant and understanding the customer experience is critical. The customer complaint can be the most timely and accurate tool to help companies understand their customers and improve their performance.