This article first appeared in ICMI.
In our current business climate, companies are driving new technology initiatives to streamline the CX journey. Leaders spend months determining business requirements for new technology, and then it’s time for implementation by training the employees.
As the training proceeds, frontline employees realize that with the new technology, a task that previously took three steps now takes five steps to complete. Employees shake their heads and say, “Why didn’t they ask us?” Unfortunately, further enhancements of the new technology will not take place until the next upgrade and will, of course, cost additional capital.
Instead of the expected excitement spreading throughout the organization about the latest technology upgrade, employees express disappointment and frustration. They are disappointed with the new technology because it doesn’t save them time; in fact, it now takes them more time to complete tasks. And they’re frustrated because they weren’t asked for their opinion or input before decisions were made.
All of this can lead to employees not feeling engaged, fulfilled, or appreciated at work. These feelings impact utilization, productivity, absenteeism, and employee retention, not to mention sales revenue, customer service satisfaction scores, and net promoter scores. How many companies have experienced this cycle?
Why don’t leaders have employee focus groups around technology enhancements with both top-performing and struggling employees? Wouldn’t both segments of the employee base be able to shed some light on what is needed to streamline processes? What if technology enhancements could help new hire’s attain competency more quickly? Could new hires be able to shed some light on what’s needed as well?
When we include people in the gathering of information and get their opinions on business requirements, this can accomplish several things. First, we are validating them as human beings, which brings a feeling of overall well-being to employees. Second, this feeling makes employees want to come to work and perform to their best ability. Third, when employees are part of the process, there is both buy-in and self-accountability. Fourth, employees will have a sense of personal pride in the outcome and will want to make these business decisions successful.
When the culture inside the organization values and depends on individuals participating, this can be a powerful component to the overall success of a company. Including everyone in the discussion and decision-making process can be in the form of employee discussion groups and videos that explain the different pieces of the business challenge, with a discussion board underneath so employees can contribute their ideas. Input can also consist of short surveys. Team meetings can become strategy sessions where ideas are gathered and presented to the leadership team. Once the large number of ideas is reduced down to a few good ideas, the next step can be additional videos with discussion boards, further employee discussion groups, and more employee surveys.
At each level of the decision-making process, people feel valued, and employee engagement increases. Better employee engagement affects productivity and a host of other KPIs. When an organization has inclusion as part of their overall business strategy, self-accountability and higher performance come more naturally. Management no longer has to scratch their head trying to figure out how to “make people more accountable.” Organizations that keep these types of discussions at the forefront of their business truly understand the value of including everyone, and that better decisions can be made and executed.
Employees have always wanted to be part of authentic, inclusive organizations. When such a culture is cultivated, it can benefit the employee by driving self-accountability, higher employee engagement, higher productivity, and higher performance. This, in turn, benefits the CX experience.
Recognized as a subject-matter expert on virtual/work-at-home environments and leadership development, Vicki Brackett has written for and been interviewed by Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, CFO Magazine, CEOWorld, HR News, Training Magazine, and a host of other publications, news outlets and podcasts on creative work-at-home and employee engagement strategies.
Vicki has spent almost two decades transforming contact centers into thriving virtual/work-at-home environments that achieve stellar performance and high employee satisfaction. She is the Co-Founder and head of work-at-home strategies at Sinousia where she and her teams help organizations rethink and reengineer their workplace to thrive in the virtual/work-at-home environment.
Vicki is also the author of ‘The Leadership Toolbox - Manage Less Achieve More,’ a book about her experience running virtual/work-at-home and brick & mortar contact center organizations from 200 to 2000+ people across industries ranging from consumer technology, education, automotive, cosmetics, nutrition and other consumer products. Her book showcases a set of leadership tools that have been vetted by thousands of employees and a systematic approach that can transform organizations into top performing organizations where employees love coming to work, are highly engaged and help move the organization forward.