Employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction, although the two are related. An engaged employee is a person who shows enthusiasm and commitment to his or her work. Employee engagement improves customer service, and engagement means that employees have an emotional attachment to their jobs. They want to do good work and associate doing a good job with personal worth. This used to be referred to as commitment, which is a little different from but directly related to morale.
Employee engagement, morale and customer service
When an employee is happy at work, he or she is said to have good morale. And while the employee can have high morale, this doesn’t necessarily mean commitment. However, morale is the starting point, it is the foundation on which commitment is built.
An employee who is disengaged can slow productivity and alienate customers, which can result in loss of revenue. However, an engaged employee will intentionally go the extra mile to service customers well and to ensure that the job is done right. This naturally improves customer service.
Employee engagement improves customer service in a number of ways. An engaged employee will not treat a customer as a distraction or an annoyance, but will have sufficient commitment to ensure that the customer is satisfied. Employee engagement also means that employees will work hard to deliver what is promised. And delivering what is promised is the very basis of customer service.
So, how do you get employees engaged in the first place?
One way is to make sure that you have the right person doing the right job. The irony is that this goes against what managers have been taught for at least the last 40 years. The traditional view is that the employee must fit him or herself to the job and that the employee’s willingness to do the job has little or nothing to do with it.
Simply issuing orders and expecting compliance is not the way to engage employees. This doesn’t mean that you have to comply with the employee’s every whim. It does mean that the employee must feel valuable. Feeling valuable is perhaps the single most important factor in employee engagement. This isn’t hard to do, nor does it take a great deal of time. It’s simply a matter of making sure that the employee stays informed about not only those areas that directly affect job performance, but about company operations that may affect his or her job in long-term.
Other ways to engage employees include assigning responsibility and then helping the employees defend and uphold those responsibilities. Nothing annoys an adult more than being treated like a child and it’s pointless to assign responsibility and then overwhelm the employee with orders and directives. Those who are responsible are responsible and that’s that, and responsibility should never be equated with blame.
As long as you take the time to clarify the employee’s assigned responsibilities and assist the employee in carrying out those duties, you will be promoting employee engagement. The reality is that people really do want to do a good job. Often times, they only need the permission to do it. By devoting a little extra time and training and consulting the employee’s opinion, you develop an employee who is committed and worthy of trust. The manager who can trust his employees to do their jobs correctly, is a person who will not be overwhelmed by petty details and who can be confident that his or her employees are delivering quality customer service.