When you meet up with your friends, you can tell who’s having a bad time at work almost immediately. Even if they’re not ranting about how horrible their boss is or how much they’ve got on, their body language will tell you that they’re week hasn't been great and they'll be dreading Monday morning.
But with employees, it’s not just their friends that will pick up on it, customers will be feeling the same vibes. If someone isn’t satisfied with their job, it becomes clear in everything that they do, including their customer service.
Big brands recognise that when employees are emotionally invested in their company and not just getting by from day-to-day, they aren’t just happier, but more productive and helpful to customers. They also take the next step by inspiring their employees to take their initiative and help make the business grow.
In surveys of the top ten brands to work for in the world, Google often appears. They put this success down to their ‘listen-up’ culture. At Google, everyone is free to express their opinions about what is or isn’t working at the company and offer suggestions as to how they could move forward.
In fact, the company dedicates time during the week for employees to air their concerns and suggest solutions. “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” (TGIF) allows employees to hold active conversations and answer questions about a range of issues both internal and external to the company. “Fixits” are also held for groups of employees to come and solve any business challenges that they may be facing.
The open-forum nature of Google’s employee engagement not only allows them to voice their issues, but shows that they are being heard and encourages them to take an interest in the company’s problems. This ties Google’s employees to their company’s welfare and ensures that they are engaged on a more emotional level.
What can you do: Arrange to have huddles with your team on a regular basis. Encourage a culture of sharing problems and offering solutions and address your employees’ concerns quickly to keep them happy and engaged. By growing this culture of transparency you show that you’re genuinely concerned about your employee welfare and can nip any problems in the bud.
Airbnb is currently number one in Glassdoor’s survey of the top place to work in 2016 after receiving excellent reviews from their own employees. These reviews not only cite the many benefits of working for the company, but praise the facilities that Airbnb provide, something that their executives call the “workplace as an experience”.
Instead of opting for an open space floor plan, the company have created a ‘belong anywhere environment’ which allows employees to work in whatever space they prefer whether this is the kitchen counter, the dining room table or in the lounge. Airbnb claim that this gives employees a sense of belonging rather than being isolated at their own allocated desk.
By recognising the emotional impact that work spaces have on their employees, Airbnb have not only increased productivity but employee engagement, with 90% of Airbnb employees recommending Airbnb as a great place to work.
What you can do: Changing your office layout doesn’t have to involve a total refurbishment. Take away panels and push your desks together. Start a hot desking scheme or encourage people to work in different areas of the office. By freeing up the space for people to move around in you not only get people away from the confines of their desk to interact with others but create a more collaborative and less isolated environment.
3. John Lewis
The John Lewis employee partnership scheme already provides their employees with a vested financial interest in the company. However, the benefits of working for John Lewis go far beyond profit sharing.
Within many of their stores, John Lewis has created Insight job positions whose role involves ensuring that customers receive the best possible experience and service. This sense of a one-to-one contact in-store not only provides a more human service for customers but means that employees are connecting directly (and emotionally) with customers.
Rather than sitting in the office thinking about how to improve customer experience, John Lewis employees are connecting with them emotionally one-to-one on the shop floor.
What you can do: Although it might be impossible to get all of your employees and customers to meet one-to-one, sharing customer feedback with your employees regularly will show that their work does have a real effect on customers. This gives your employees more of a purpose and will inspire them to do a better job and get better feedback.
4. Nestle Purina PetCare
Nestle Purina PetCare pride themselves on being a company of animal lovers. So much so that at their St. Louis headquarters, employees can bring their dogs and cats into work with them every day.
This not only shows that the company practice what they preach, but has a positive emotional benefit, with pets having been proven to destress employees as well as increase their productivity. The presence of their pets also acts as a reminder of what the company does and why, and as such increases their emotional connection to their work.
What can you do: Rather than turning your office into a petting zoo, consider asking the Guide Dogs or the RSPCA round for a visit. This way your employees can enjoy the pet benefits if they want to, alternatively, you could entertain the idea of having an office dog without your company becoming Noah’s Ark v2.00.
At Innocent smoothies, they drive their growth through their employees’ entrepreneurship. If an employee is 70% confident that their idea will work, then they are encouraged to make it happen, without needing to ask permission from management.
Not only has this led to some of the company’s best initiatives (their Veg Pots are just one example) but has encouraged employees to take up more significant roles in the company. By depending on employee initiative for its growth, Innocent give employees authority over their job role as well as connecting their welfare with that of the company. Employees aren’t just emotionally invested in their project but want to make it work for the benefit of the company too.
What can you do: If you need to think of a new initiative, get the whole team involved in the creative, not just the select few. Hold idea sessions and encourage people to contribute often. Make sure that you credit an individual’s idea to them and give them authority over it rather than letting someone else run with it. This way they know that their contribution is truly valued rather than feeling as though they're being used for their ideas.
With 2016 being the official 'Year of Emotion' you can expect thought leadership and discussion on emotion to be a topical subject at Customer Engagement Raveolution 2016. With our famous pub quiz, cocktails and festival themed surprises throughout, Raveolution 2016 is the one customer experience event that you won’t want to miss.