As organisations across the world adjust and transform to keep up with an evolving economic and social landscape, there is much talk about the many challenges that are having to be confronted, particularly in the workplace. From managing the increased desire of employees to work remotely and flexibly, to addressing the talent shortages that exist across a number sectors – the teams responsible for managing and sustaining employee engagement are being impacted from different directions.  

How can we better attract and keep the talent we need when there are many other companies out there fishing in the same pool trying to entice the best people with propositions and perks that may turn their heads? How can we help people feel like they belong, when there may not be an office to belong to anymore?     

A recent survey by McKinsey certainly highlighted the challenge in retaining employees. The survey found that 40% of participants said they are at least somewhat likely to quit in the next three to six months. 18% of respondents said their intentions range from likely to almost certain. These findings held across all five countries surveyed (Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and were broadly consistent across industries. Businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry are the most at risk for losing employees, but many healthcare and white-collar workers say they also plan to quit. Even among educators—the employees least likely to say they may quit—almost one-third reported that they are at least somewhat likely to do so. 

Digital illustration showing an employees at work with a graphic above stating 40% of the workforce are somewhat likely to leave their job in the next six months

In my experience in HR and the recruitment sector, there is not one simple solution to this. There are a range of factors that can influence an individual’s decision to either join, stay or go, and if they decide to go, what are the considerations that are going to convince them which option is right for them. One size doesn’t fit all and the decision is ultimately a personal one. It might be the remuneration, the location, culture, belief in the vision, leadership and managerial capability, colleagues, market position, ability to develop and progress, interesting and relevant work or a complex mixture of all the above.  

That same McKinsey report highlighted that:

“employees crave investment in the human aspects of work. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Yes, they want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. They want meaningful—though not necessarily in-person—interactions, not just transactions!” 

Fundamentally, personal decisions are founded on how you make people feel. In other words, building an emotional attachment and engaging with them. Do they believe and are they convinced that they want to go on the journey with you? Do they understand your values? Can they see how they can fit in and perform? Did you make them feel valued and important?  Did you listen and understand their needs, wants and motivations? 

Let’s never forget that it’s a two-way experience and it’s about give and get, which is not a new concept but in the current climate, the power has shifted from the organisation to the individual. As a consequence; mindsets, attitudes and employee experiences need to be reviewed and tailored in order to differentiate organisations.  

According to Qualtrics, 55% of workers surveyed agreed that recognition for good work drives employee engagement, while employees studied tended to be at least 17% more engaged if they felt able to participate in feedback schemes. These types of investigations support the idea that engagement can be driven by reciprocity, and that if businesses make a genuine investment in their people, employees generally do tend to feel more valued and acknowledged, and in turn more motivated to commit and perform.   

When looking to provide consistent, sustainable and valued experiences for employees, consider how technology can be used to enhance existing approaches. When operating in a virtual environment, technology effectively enables scalability and accessibility; lifting or translating experiences to a digital environment with rich opportunity for additional features and interventions to boost interaction and engagement. Particularly for supporting the virtual connectedness of colleagues, or to hire on a large scale without leaning on internal resourcing, the right solutions can really make a positive impact and notable difference.  

In a world with almost endless options and solutions, there is no excuse to simply pile on tools and software that ends up overcomplicating the average day in the life of employees – especially considering budget restrictions and already saturated systems. Instead, digital solutions deployed should work to prioritise and embed the following into employee’s experiences:  

  • amplifying employee voice and feedback
  • encouraging multilevel recognition and communication 
  • embodying and reinforcing company culture and values 
  • improving the overall experience and “moments that matter” in the employee’s journey with you 
  • creating a sense of belonging 
  • seamless integration with existing tools.  

If ultimately, how the employee feels about work and the workplace will be a significant deciding factor as to whether they apply, join, and stay, then companies ought to start looking into how they deliver experiences in a way that leaves people excited or switched on. Much like how brands seek to nurture loyal, returning customers through innovative, impactful CX (customer experience), there is plenty of opportunity to apply the same dedication and care across the Employee Journey in order to nurture committed, engaged individuals eager to stay and grow.  

 

 

Does your organisation have employee engagement challenges are you looking for some inspiration on how to solve?

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MOTIVAIT – Innovative Employee Solutions for Intangible Challenges

If you have managed to escape any form of “Get Back” message in recent months, you should perhaps consider yourself one of the fortunate few. As a follow-on “the new normal” catchphrase, for many the “Get Back” messaging hints at a world hoping to reassure, encourage, and incentivise: Get back to the office, get back to the high street, get back into shops, get back to restaurants, get back to going on holiday, get back to the cinema – you get the idea.

For a lot of people, the idea of a return to their pre-covid routines, habits and lifestyles is incredibly welcome. For others, going back still feels daunting or maybe even unnecessary. Most seem to be approaching things with a mixture of caution and relish, apprehension and relief. However, if ongoing debate and research tell us anything, it’s that, more than ever before, each decision we make is primarily based on personal preferences and needs. This newfound focus, requires a shift in thinking about how brands, organisations and communities engage with their audiences, working towards achieving more tailored and personalised responses.

Looking specifically at Customer Engagement, the last 18 months have probably seen more need for change, reinvention, and agile responses than in the last 10 years. The volatile political and economic landscapes are often having sudden and dramatic effects on prices across sectors, most notably within retail, and many brands are yet again having to rethink how they offer value to their customers, and how to entice and encourage higher levels of activity at a time when slashing prices is not financially viable, nor is expecting cautious customers to spend like they would in more stable circumstances. It is therefore critical to review Customer Engagement strategies and truly consider what the audience’s needs and behaviours are.

Speaking the Customer’s Language

Judging by recent research into attitudes and sentiments, consumers certainly appear to be open to new offerings and experiences. While their priorities and preferences may have changed, what hasn’t waned is the positive effect of customer centric experiences.

Whether tailoring offers, promotions and communications, or improving accessibility and innovation in how people are able to reach your brand and services, the impact on the end customer is undeniably powerful. For example, in their research into customer journeys, PwC found that people will pay up to 16% more for a great customer experience (CX), while Gartner found that 64% of customers value CX over price.

If people are still uncertain or ambiguous in their habits, and if we’re likely to continue to see differing approaches to getting back to shopping in physical stores (which had arguably already been in decline even before Covid) then we need to consider how to motivate the customer. It would be like providing and engaging customer experience from wherever people want to access the brand from, and treat them as individuals with particular needs and preferences.

Retaining Meaningful Connections

More targeted, personalised approaches don’t have to entirely overtake all strategies, but they should be a crucial part of attracting, retaining and nurturing loyal customers. After time spent in lockdowns, only interacting with the outside world through our devices, we are all collectively more eager to be seen and recognised as individuals, rather than just another number or data point on a brand’s radar.

According to Engage Hub, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalised experiences. Personalisation means more than just capturing the customer’s name and age. A customer centric approach revolves around utilising data and information provided to enhance every interaction throughout the customer journey – engaging, synchronised, attractive environments, and high performing customer-focused operations that facilitate a closeness to the brand, ultimately, making the customer feel as if the brand, services, or products as a whole are made for them.

 

What should be part of a personalised experience for the customer?

  • Omnichannel: Improving omnichannel offering that goes beyond having a presence on multiple channels, make it seamless for customers to hop between their devices and interact with your brand, whether they’re dealing with customer care, picking up an order, or saving items for later
  • Communications: Tailoring communications (emails, push notifications) to suit previous shopping behaviour and preferences
  • Trust: Enabling customers to be in control of their own data preferences: providing clear, intuitive portals for managing consent and communication
  • Relevance: Personalised offers and promotions – discounts on birthdays are a solid starting point, but promotions that are relevant to their usual spending habits rather than just inviting them to a blanket sale is even better.
  • Exclusivity: Everyone wants to feel special, especially when handing over visibility to personal or sensitive data. Their loyalty will be eroded if they feel they’re not treated differently from someone who just submits an email address and gets the same 10% off. Provide tiers, but also recognise different levels of participation to nurture and sustain meaningful connections with customers of all types.

Digital Empowerment

BCG claims growth rates increase by 6% to 10% in companies that master personalisation, not to mention the beneficial ripple effect across marketing efficiency, boosted digital sales, and stronger relationships developed with customers. The key to being able to execute personalised strategies is of course having the right technological capabilities in place. To reach end users is one hurdle, but you also need digital solutions that can facilitate, anticipate, and support closer interactions across all touchpoints between consumer and brand, providing a holistic vision of customer and behaviour.

Through technology, engagement initiatives can be almost automatically scaled up and made more accessible and inclusive. There is, however, still a need to tailor and craft experiences so that they offer users the best of both the digital and physical worlds. As we see consumers becoming more considerate of their personal circumstances and needs, there is a great opportunity to develop mindful experiences for them as well. Emails that are reactive but not invasive. Suggestions and recommendations that feel handpicked and perceptive, rather than random or machine generated. So, while digital engagement may be underpinned by technology, it does not need to veer away from the human touch, as mastering personalisation of course ultimately comes down to keeping things exactly that – personal.

 

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