Have you ever thought about what your “return on investment” of your employee culture is in your business? Depending on the size and maturity of your business you can go in two directions.
If you are a long time business with a bad culture that needs to be improved, the return on investment is based on trying to lower employee turnover and increase customer loyalty. If you are a fairly new business in a rapid growth phase, the ROI of building a culture is in trying to keep your business moving in that continuous growth trajectory.
Although it is good that you are growing, many of your employees may not be happy. Because of the massive growth, they are buried in tickets and customer complaints with no technology tools or systems to support scaling the operation. Your growth may continue, but it will affect your customer retention because your employees can no longer deliver excellence.
So, investing in your employee culture with real employee training and not just watching self-service recordings becomes the issue. But it is also important to invest in prioritizing and implementing important processes and procedures. Invest in technology that helps employees deliver better experiences and make the tough financial choices that unburden employees and promote work-life-balance. These commitments will improve both the employee experience and customer experience. They will also increase customer retention and lower employee turnover.
So, why do business owners and leaders ignore the culture problem? Is it the leader’s ego or the lack of good leadership?
The answer is simpler than that. Many leaders genuinely do not know what to do. They are so focused on tasks and taking care of the business that they forget about their most important asset, the employee. Many think that employees should just adapt and join in on the culture of the business. The problem is that businesses just don’t have a culture. Especially a customer focused culture.
In this “Magic Minute” I will share 4 strategic moves you can make to improve your employee experience.
- Listen To Your Employees
This is not new advice, but it does not happen enough in most businesses. You would be surprised to learn how many businesses, particularly small businesses, do not have or use employee engagement surveys. Or if they do, employees complete the survey but their leaders take no action.
LISTENING means you are collecting and analyzing employee feedback with the intention to do something with it. Does that cost money? Absolutely! Does it cost 20% of the salary of every employee or manager and above? No.
However, listening is not as easy as it sounds, especially when business owners and managers are close to the operation. These biases can sometimes lead to wrong conclusions. This is why many of my clients request and need guidance from a partner like me. A coach has the ability to see organizational dynamics objectively, and help you derive the right conclusions from the data. I will also ask different questions while developing a good relationship with your employees that you might not get from an engagement survey.
2. Encourage Employee Involvement
I have also helped many of my clients create an “employee engagement ambassador” program that employees applied to join. The ambassadors work within business departments and meet regularly with business owners and the managers of their departments to design departmental solutions and respond to problems. It is extremely effective.
I even suggest to include an incentive to both employees and the managers by tying compensation based on the results. In other words, a manager’s bonus is tied to employee engagement and happiness. For the employees you can offer team incentives, gifts, parties, etc. The right incentives for the right people!
3. Design And Create Your Employee Experience
Just like you can intentionally and pro-actively design and create your customer experiences, you can design employee experiences to ensure your employees will stay with you.
When you do your cultural transformation, it is important that the first step on your employee experience map is something the employees want, not something you want. You may want an extra day off. They may want an investment in a technology tool they use every day. Just don’t make a decision on their behalf. ASK THEM.
4. Be Authentic
It is simple. When you, as a business owner or leader makes a statement, you need to understand what the business decisions from those statements imply and you need to be ready to make them. The employees are listening and clearly making an evaluation based on your statements.
Business is money. So, every time you say something is important, there is a collective expectation that money will be invested. So, if that is not your intention, do not say it. If you do say it, be honest and do what you say.
Take the Next Step
The fundamentals are simple: listen, involvement, design, and be authentic. The implementation of those principles can be a challenge. Especially when you are so busy managing your business and priorities. But at the end of the day, employee experience is one of those foundational elements that need to be rock solid in order for your business to behave the way you need it to behave for leadership, employees, and the customers you serve.
The reality is, culture starts at the top and frontline employees are only reflecting the culture of your business and the behaviors of the leadership ranks. Until managers and business owners can figure out how to clone themselves and do all the work, the employee experience is truly where the rubber meets the road.
Nevertheless, the business case of creating a positive employee culture tends to be a tough sell to many business owners. Although leaders know that bad employee experiences always leads to bad customer experiences, they do not deem employee experience a worthwhile investment.
I just made the connection between employee experience, higher labor costs, and lower revenue. And since turnover and growth are business fundamentals that should trigger immediate investments, I hope this makes it easier for you to see that those much-needed employee culture engagements is so valuable for the success of your business.
To explore employee experience and culture programs, training or coaching contact John. I can’t wait to learn more about the individuals who shape your business and helping you explore so you can support – and give back – to them. Now that would be “Magical”!
Contact John at email@example.com or (704) 965-4090