I saw a catchy ad in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by Franklin Templeton Investments that says “Investing today requires bi-focal vision”. Great phrase that can be used in another way from an organizational standpoint: “Investing today requires bi-focal vision looking at both your customers as well as your employees”. Superior customer service is essential to retaining customers, getting referrals and generating repeat business. Looking through the lens of your customers and identifying with their emotions and meeting their needs, is one of the key elements to building loyalty that will become a walking billboard for your organization.
The other half of the bi-focal vision is looking through the lens of your employees. According to a recent Gallup poll, 25% of employees are fully engaged, 60% are not engaged and 15% are aggressively disengaged. Therefore, in most organizations, 75% of employees really don’t care about the customer and the level of service that is given to them!
What does it take to obtain employee engagement? Two powerful fundamentals that I found in my experience as an employee that ignited my engagement were:
1. Understanding the higher meaning of my work
As a cast member as Walt Disney World, it is made very clear in the interview process and reinforced in the orientation, that the true product of your work is to “create happiness” for their guests. It gives a higher meaning to the job whether you are a waitress, gift shop clerk, or street sweeper, etc.. It helps wake you up in the morning and get excited about your job because it identifies a higher purpose beyond the routine of many tasks. This higher meaning increases employee engagement because you now look for ways to deliver that connection (happiness in this case) from the viewpoint of your specific job assignment.
2. Understanding what motivated me and those around me (my co-workers, customers, managers).
I learned there were four basic personality styles, learned my primary style, and then learned to read the styles of others. Most people recognize that they feel more comfortable or seem to relate better to particular people, but may not know why. Using a profile assessment, an individual can explore their personal motivators and stressors, but also begin to identify the styles of others so they become more accepting and also better able to adapt. By adapting one’s primary style to that of a customer, an employee will be able to build a more comfortable relationship that may result in increased sales, by adapting one’s style to a co-worker, an employee will be able to work better together as a team, by adapting one’s style to a manager, an employee can build a better working relationship.
These two fundamental concepts provide a foundation for employee engagement. Leaders who have bi-focal vision make certain they understand what the customer is really buying from the business and communicate that to their employees. They also get to know their employees and what is their primary behavioral style so they can relate and motivate them to higher engagement.