Aberdeen Research Finds Connection Between Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction
Aberdeen Research report made a strong connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction in a recent study (find a summary here.) They summarized it best in this chart, tracking the relative success of companies that have an organized approach in fostering greater employee engagement.
This theme about customer satisfaction following improved employee engagement pops up consistently in our work with employees and students. I was teaching a class on personal leadership skills at a local university to students targeting a business career. During one student-led discussion, a person practiced his presentation skills using a story from his family business. The short version is:
Our retail business was failing, and we examined why. We found people were not treated well in the shop. We did not solve it with training, we simply invited the employees to participate in our future success, and suddenly they were treating customer 1,000 times better. Repeat business went up and the store survived. And the employees started sharing ideas about how to make even more improvements.
His point: The employees solved the problem themselves, once they engaged themselves in the success. His story pointed out another key success factor in employee engagement: The whole company needs to buy into the need for the investment, starting with senior management. Here is another snippet from the Aberdeen summary document:
“Employee engagement must not be an HR-only program; it should include the entire company.”
We agree wholeheartedly with this. Even if it is not a big new idea, it bears constant repeating so that it sinks in as an executive mindset. In 2015, with all the research supporting the power of employee engagement, HR should not have to sell the idea of funding employee engagement initiatives every year in the budget process. The money should be put there and protected by the executives themselves!