In recent months, we have been talking about customer relations, whether it be to imagine our future or through the issues facing an information systems department.
Companies are creating more and more services around their products. These services are the company’s added value, the factor that makes them stand out from the competition by offering something more, which then becomes essential for the customer.
But we must never forget the essential cog in every company: the employee. Their experience and their satisfaction at work must not be overlooked. Recent surveys have revealed that almost 70% of American employees are not engaged, or even feel disengaged, in their company.
And it is not clear whether organisations take full account of what is, after all, their productive force. How can this experience be improved? What can be done to make employees feel valued?
The first attempts to find a response addressed the management of the company. The management system often has a major influence on the workers’ morale. It is difficult to feel valued when, in some cases, there are dozens of hierarchical levels. It is impossible to talk with your +2 or +3 manager under these conditions.
New working organizations are emerging to address these issues. These so-called “Flat Organisations” have been popular for several years now. The goal of these organisations is to do away with the hierarchy. Everyone is on the same level and can, in theory, communicate with anyone else. The employees organise their work themselves in small teams. The personnel is more engaged.
Still with a view to empowering people, certain companies, often start-ups, now offer their employees as much holiday as they like. Or more simply, employees can take their holidays whenever they feel like it, provided that they meet their targets. Obviously, employees tend not to take more holidays, maybe because this system allows them to go about their work in greater peace of mind. In France and elsewhere, certain companies take part in “Great Place To Work”, a survey that measures employee satisfaction according to a series of criteria that include working conditions, pay, equity, the atmosphere, etc. The idea is to enter a virtuous circle. The employees can express themselves and the companies listen to their employees in order to increase their satisfaction at work and to highlight their good results that will attract future new hires.
The working environment is one of the working conditions that receives a lot of attention. The location and, in particular, the infrastructures made available to employees have a significant impact on their well-being. So it comes as no surprise to see how big companies are stepping up their efforts to offer work places that offer the employees just what they want. There is even talk of a colossal project to build a “Facebook town”, which will be reserved to the firm’s employees, offering them the ideal living environment in the vanguard of technological progress.
The tools employees use every day are even more important when it comes to employee satisfaction.
Let’s stay within our scope of competence by only talking about computer tools. Both the hardware and the software are integral parts of most tertiary activities. So it seems obvious that they should be designed, not only to satisfy the organization that acquires them, but also the employees who use them. And as we all know, a well equipped employee can respond more easily to internal demands and to external demands from partners, suppliers and, of course, customers, where appropriate. Ideally, the design of a computer, software or mobile application must take the employee into consideration. This obviously has something to do with the employee’s experience…
For example, if getting started and commanding the tool is more intuitive and faster, then the time spent in training in the tool is reduced. These time savings can be used to follow other training that may be more enriching for the employee, such as learning a foreign language. Moreover, the tool is a source of less frustration and is adopted more quickly. It is a win-win equation for the company and for its employees. Reduced training costs, easier change management, employees who feel more at ease and valued, etc. The organization benefits from this progress in ergonomics and agility from one end of the chain to the other.
And by the end of the chain, we also mean the customer who has relations with the employees.
An employee in after-sales, a salesperson or a customer advisor must be well equipped with a tablet or software that is adapted to today’s interactions. This has become necessary to perform efficiently with customers. Employees can answer more quickly and they are more precise and relevant in their interactions. When employees are in a position to satisfy their customers, they feel more self-confident, they feel that they can meet the demands placed on them and they feel satisfied with a job well done.
Certainly more so than for any other type of software solution, these notions are at the very heart of search-based business applications designed to find and analyse information. Because intuitive, easy, relevant and intelligent access to the data employees need is essential to making their jobs easier. And for people in the front line with customers, this is crucial.
We all know that companies must satisfy their customers and build customer loyalty, but they must also keep their employees happy. There are several ways of achieving this: through their organization, their communications, their rewards, the working environment, plus, of course, the resources made available to the personnel.
And it seems quite obvious that, by taking care of their employees, they are also taking care of their customers.
These are just a few ideas about the quest to offer employees a positive experience at work. There are many paths to be explored in this field and discussions to be held on how our society will evolve. You can make comments on this article on LinkedIn or Twitter to express your opinion on the question. We would be delighted to hear from you.