In an era of digital transformation, customers are expecting better and demanding more. And quite rightly, too. As technology and hybrid working enable significant advancements in what we can achieve, it’s only fair that employers now raise the bar when it comes to supporting their employees.
What’s becoming clear in this increasingly digital world is that now, more than ever, we need to prioritise the people behind the screens. After all, good business is about connecting people.
Even with these investments and innovations, the key to retaining loyal customers is making an inspired connection. And an inspired customer starts with an empowered employee.
So, what needs to be done to ensure these employees are empowered with the tools they need?
Focus on the connection creators – your people
The Great Resignation is real. And with reports confirming that so many UK workers are considering leaving their job, it’s crucial to ensure managers have the right training to keep those workers feeling valued and supported. Without an emphasis on empathy and understanding, it’s clear that employees are increasingly driven to look for somewhere better suited to their needs.
But it’s not enough to just value your employees. You also need to equip them with the tools they need to work wherever and whenever they do their best work. Not having the enablers in place to engage and equip your employees can cause cracks in workplace wellbeing.
And you have to consider the entire workforce, not just those who are customer facing. Every employee interaction, from technical management to creative design, will have an impact on the final customer experience.
If all employees aren’t well connected, then these cracks can run deep. An Achievers Workforce Institute study found that just 15% of junior members, who are often overlooked when it comes to employee investments, felt a strong sense of belonging at work.
The workplace is nothing if it’s not unified and connected. When it comes to employee engagement, people must be put first.
Create an environment that fosters collaboration
Productivity stems from fulfilled employees, and the work environment plays a key role in reducing friction and enabling an impactful and productive output.
And fostering an atmosphere of productivity starts with collaboration – which is where time spent in the office is key. Creating compelling reasons for employees to get together can be a fun way to cultivate team spirit. Coordinate workshops, encourage cross-team communication, and host social activities to improve collaboration and productivity.
In the hybrid world, of course, the office is just the beginning. As the places employees want to work become increasingly more diverse, it’s important not to forget the power of their environment. Ensure virtual participation is available and prioritise investments such as portable devices and funds for home working optimisation that benefit everyone.
Sometimes, the solution may be more physical. Take the Lego Group for example, who responded to unique employee needs by splitting their London office into three different levels to give people spaces to suit the work they’re doing at any given moment – the top floor for creative, collaborative work and the bottom floor for quiet, ‘head-down’ work.
Support your employees in optimising their surroundings wherever they might be, and consider what unique solutions might be needed to suit your workforce. The onus is on the organisation to provide the right solution for the best working environment – not on the employee.
Embrace technology that improves your employees’ lives
Of course, the hybrid future also demands access to the right technology – regardless of where your people are. Creating a productive environment will always be an uphill battle if you can’t connect across a disparate team – as customers become more used to immediate responses, embracing technology is key to ensure employees are connected and can keep up.
And the tech-savvy are reaping the benefits – a study by Emerald Insight found that organisations embracing technology are outperforming their peers across 12 industries, with up to a 16% pts higher average revenue premium.
On the employee level too, this means that the days of accepting fractious workflows are over. People are no longer standing for outdated tools, and businesses must turn to the new technological advancements that can integrate and streamline work to ensure talent retention.
One such advancement is in automation, which can free employees of their more mundane tasks so they can focus on the work that can really improve the customer experience. According to the International Federation of Robotics, around 70% of workers believe automation will offer them an opportunity to qualify for more satisfying work.
The human connection
As the ways we do business become increasingly more complex, customers expect speed and simplicity. To meet these demands, it’s crucial to remember the humans behind it all, and the inspired connections they are capable of making.
There is work to be done across the entire workflow to ensure employees have what they need to meet these new challenges. Because it’s not just customers who are expecting more – employees are too.
It’s time to embrace the collaborative principles, tools, and technological advancements that are unlocking happier people, more productivity and improved customer loyalty. It’s time to empower employees to achieve more.
To learn more about how you can empower your employees to create better customer experiences, read our full report The Human Connection here.