Employees are valuable, not as robotic workhorses, but as human beings. Customers buy from people, not brands. They trust genuine, friendly people and are willing to do business with those people repeatedly. This is no secret. However, utilizing this knowledge is still not obvious to many companies.
We know, in theory, that employees can learn to engage customers with social media marketing on a personal, yet professional level, but how have the most successful businesses pulled this off?
Studies have shown that breaking promises, not giving credit, and strangely enough, giving the silent treatment, were the top complaints from employees about their bosses. This shows that the primary problem between employers and employees is communication. If you want numbers to improve, you cannot just will your employees to work harder. However, you can nurture them toward working smarter. The upside of this is that their complaints are free to fix and don’t affect salaries, overtime, or other employee costs.
While employees may not always care about your objectives, they will always care about how you treat them. Employee morale and engagement are crucial to company productivity and growth. Unengaged employees make for stagnant, underachieving businesses.
Most of us have worked under someone else’s instruction at one time or another. When we are not the head visionary of a company, we typically follow the lead of the person who is. Employees may not feel it’s their place to take initiative. They are often waiting to be given opportunities and empowering roles, but they don’t always know how to ask, so employers often fail to recognize this untapped potential.
A study by Weber Shandwick/KRC Research revealed that just “four of 10 employees surveyed can confidently explain what their employer does and only three in 10 are deeply engaged.” Luckily, the ways in which employees can become more engaged are easy to understand and fairly simple to implement.
Employers must set reasonable goals that can be accomplished on a daily or weekly basis. These could be having conversations with key people, responding to customer feedback, or simply posting on social media. When employees have realistic, small-scale goals, they have confidence in meeting them. Throw too much at them at once, and they may become resentful or discouraged.
Giving employees a legitimate say in the business and its trajectory will help inspire trust. If your employees don’t feel they are a part of the company, they won’t behave in ways that cultivate a community atmosphere. If their efforts don’t matter, what will motivate them to make a genuine effort? This will show through to customers, giving a fragmented perception of your brand.
For employees to interact effectively with customers, managers must first interact effectively with employees. Thus, it’s worth considering whether your management strategies are working or not. Managers should communicate their appreciation to employees and empower them instead of dominating them.
While contests and competitions can be great ways to boost employee morale and fun in the office, remember that these are more superficial methods of employee engagement. Getting their opinions, finding out what doesn’t work, and implementing small changes based on their suggestions are more in-depth and will give employees a more intrinsic sense of value. Employees who feel undervalued or unable to do their job with the tools given will eventually go somewhere else.
Employees are supposed to work for you, not against you, so keep these things in mind when gauging satisfaction among your employees and creating an engagement program.