Utility Week

Utility Week 24th February 2017

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Page 22 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 24TH FEBRUARY - 2ND MARCH 2017 | 23 Operations & Assets Market view E mployee engagement is something of a mystery because everyone has differ- ent motivators. However, employee sur- veys show three common themes of driving engagement: achievement, recognition and development. In utility companies' customer service (CS) departments, where most customer interactions happen and therefore the big- gest impact on your brand happens, manag- ers are all working on improving these areas. However, there are two things continually hindering them achieving the results they are aer. First, the company-wide staff satisfac- tion surveys in place are not relevant to the CS staff. They are oen too long and do not focus on what is important in the CS world. Nor is the result fed back to the staff, mak- ing them less likely to fill in the forms next time. Many organisations conduct employee satisfaction surveys annually and some even every other year, which may only have two or three questions focused on the issues that really matter, and results are delivered in some cases aer six months, by which time the employee may have le. Second there is one specific additional reason driving down engagement that is out of the hands of the managers: system sup- port. Even in today's world, 62 per cent of the CS workforce across the UK say the systems in place hinder them from providing a good or even ok customer experience. The link to bottom line Many consultancies have been able to show the correlation between an engaged work- force and company profits. Providing your chief executive with direct proof of the impact on bottom line (and thus securing funding for better engagement programmes), is getting easier and easier. Providing clients with matrix graphs showing staff engage- ment linked to NPS (net promoter scores) of them individually enables calculations of what impact on NPS (and thus profit) an improvement on staff engagement will have. The leadership within a company can go a long way to keeping employees happy and engaged. Do you regularly check up on your employees to make sure they are satisfied, and enjoying themselves? Do you make sure that they know their contributions are wel- come in the decision-making process? Showing employees that you care can facilitate a happier work environment, and in customer-facing departments like call centres this positive atmosphere will then be prevalent in customer interaction Performance and engagement As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest drivers of engagement is achievement. It is human nature to want to do a good job and then get recognition for it. By putting in place a well-thought-out structure for perfor- mance, you can ensure that your employees understand the work they are doing is impor- tant in the context of the company. Setting realistic goals can work to this effect, foster- ing a sense of purpose across your company. This all comes down to building a culture of pride in performance, which will perme- ate through your organisation. When you have the key to producing this sentiment, you will also unlock the door to an improved customer experience through consistently high service standards. It is almost magi- cal how this culture of respect can also sur- face in the customer experience as a result. When employees are safe in the knowledge that their own voice is respected within their company, you will be amazed at how this can lead to them having a high regard for the voice of the customer, as part of their cus- tomer value set. Measuring engagement Putting together an employee engagement survey is straightforward. By using a similar methodology to your customer survey pro- cess, you can measure engagement month- on-month, year-on-year against previous scores. If you can benchmark this insight against your peers and across industry, even better. Monitoring achievement, recognition and development, the three key drivers of moti- vation, means that you can then drive the right behaviours to deliver business success. It is important to avoid survey fatigue, so we would encourage companies to look at the following areas: general satisfaction; rec- ognition; achievement; support; knowledge; and engagement. By surveying staff on a regular basis with a series of thee or four questions behind each area, the volume of data enables cor- relations and trends to be identified. What is more, asking staff to leave comments allows you to pull out great ideas, understand com- mon challenges and map out focus areas for development. What we have seen across most employee engagement techniques is that communica- tion is key. Never stop talking, enquiring and listening to your employees – aer all, they are your greatest asset. Never let the line of communication between your workforce and your management team be broken. As long as you stick by this golden rule of employee engagement, you stand a better chance of seeing this positive company envi- ronment have knock-on effects in other areas of your business, including the customer experience, brand and bottom line. Mats Rennstam, managing director, Bright UK Is everybody happy? Mats Rennstam says utilities should redouble their efforts to ensure employees are properly engaged because it has a positive impact on customer relationships and ultimately profits. BRIGHT UK EMPLOYEE INDEX, 2014-16 Support & processes General satisfaction Engagement Performance Recognition Knowledge 85% 80% 75% 70% 65% 60% 55% 55%

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