Employees’ engagement: Regard them as your customers

In her book Everybody Wants to Love their Job,Marylène Delbourg-Delphisstarts with an alarming observation: 70% of employees are disengaged. This very high disengagement level is due to many factors: poor job contents, recruiting mistakes, management failure, etc. Where could a company start to lower this disengagement? A good starting point could be the way employees are considered: If you start considering them like you consider your customers, you will already find several actions to implement to have a better “employees’ service” level. Marylène Delbourg-Delphis gives us several examples:

« With the advent of social media and a shifting job market, remember that employees “are now like customers; companies have to consider them volunteers, not just workers: As the job market has heated up and new technologies have exploded, power has shifted from the employer to the employee”[1] Your VP of Sales and Marketing cares for and tends to your customers; your Chief People Officer, in turn, has a similar job with regard to your employees.

The hallmark of great customer service is immediacy. We go to a vendor’s site and get a response or a solution, either by speaking to a customer care representative, for instance, or by checking whether the site contains easily accessible, pertinent information. In the same fashion, ensuring a good employee experience must include this practical side of things. This means that you should set up an “employee service” that covers all the most common needs of your employees, ranging from IT assistance to housing help and recommendations, travel planning, entertainment opportunities, personal and professional development, and new job or sidegigs opportunities, to name only a few services. In many cases, they should also have immediate access to a real person. When an employee’s computer is down, it doesn’t make sense to force her to struggle with instructions she doesn’t understand for half a day!

However, employees also require more. Customers’ interactions with the company are usually temporary, utilitarian communications. Employees, meanwhile, spend a big chunk of their lives within your organization, and your relationship is a continued partnership.

So, while regarding employees as “customers” is certainly an important analogical guideline that may dissuade companies from treating their employees like disposable goods, it’s not enough in the 21st century. Quality employee experience is predicated upon the nature of your organizational blueprint, which is a leadership structure that encourages coworkership, a continuous attention to work design, and alertness to all of the personal and interpersonal dimensions of the workplace.»

Marylène Delbourg-Delphisconcludes with an ultimate point: Employee service excellence ultimately signifies talent management excellence, and talent management excellence means leadership excellence. »

So, which actions could you implement to have a real “employees’ service”? How could you go further in the employee experience?

[1]David Brown, Veronica Melian, Marc Solow, Sonny Chheng, and Kathy Parker, Culture and engagement: The naked organization, Deloitte University Press, Feb. 27, 2015: https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup‐us‐en/ focus/human‐capital‐trends/2015/employee‐engagement‐culture‐human‐capital‐trends‐2015.html.


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