How Employee Churn Costs You Money

It turns out that your greatest asset in your efforts to create an excellent customer experience (CX) can actually be one of your greatest costs. What are we talking about? Your employees, of course! And, more specifically, employee churn.

Employees make or break the customer experience, and if they are not satisfied in their position, they can cost you money by negatively impacting customer experiences—or by packing up their bags and going elsewhere.

What Are the Effects of Employee Churn?

Employee churn is complicated. There are so many reasons why employees may choose to leave, whether it’s personal circumstances, career opportunities, or just a negative employee experience. 

There are also many different effects to consider when you lose an employee, both tangible and intangible.  When you lose an employee:

You Lose:

  • Existing Customer Relationships: When you lose a customer-facing employee like a salesperson or an account manager, you can also lose their contacts and relationships. Take the example of an auto dealership. Some customers come back again to the same sales person because they have an excellent relationship and know that the experience they receive will be just as excellent. These customers will likely follow that sales person to their next dealership should they decide to move on.
  • Employee Knowledge and Expertise: We all have been new on the job—and so we all know how difficult and lengthy the onboarding process can be. When employees that have become acclimated to your company and their roles leave, then you lose all the knowledge and expertise those employees have gained. And, you’ll need to start fresh with new employees. Additionally, you remaining employees will miss out on the mentorship of more tenured employees.

You Take on:

  • Cost to Recruit and Replace: We bridged this subject in the previous section, but losing experienced employees means starting over. And in this economy, finding new employees is much more difficult than it has been in the past. When actively searching to fill a position, you can accrue recruiting costs from promoting your posting on job sites or from using recruiting agencies.
  • Cost to Train and Develop Knowledge: Recruiting new employees is only the beginning of the costs. Once you’ve signed a contract, then the training begins. Check out the next section to discover how much that can truly add up to!

How Do You Calculate the Cost of Employee Churn?

Now that we’ve laid out how losing employees can cost you, it’s time to calculate that cost down to dollars and cents. Here is a quick equation you can use to add up the exact cost of training employees for your brand:

Sounds like a lot, right? It is! In fact, turnover can cost a company about 33% of an employee’s annual salary, according to Employee Benefits News.

How Employee Experience Programs Reduce Employee Churn (and More!)

When you focus your experience programs on making employees feel heard, removing friction from their everyday lives, and making them feel engaged and inspired by their job, you are investing in keeping employees around. And when you reduce churn, you reduce churn costs!

Here are just a few of the ways employee experience programs can benefit your business:

  • Retain Top Talent: When you identify barriers that undermine the employee experience, understand  why people leave and recover at-risk employees. 
  • Retain Customers: 68% of customers will leave because of poor employee attitude.
  • Boost Brand Perception: 70% of customer brand perception is determined by experience with people.
  • Encourage Cross-Sell and Upsell: 41% of customers are more loyal when they interact with employees with positive attitudes.
  • Decrease Cost to Serve: Higher-quality experiences mean fewer calls to customer care and a subsequent reduction in call center costs.
  • Increased Profitability: Engage and empower employees to take ownership of profitable CX outcomes. Companies with engaged employees are 21% more profitable.

Want to learn more about how you can boost employee engagement and your bottom line? Check out this free eBook!

9 Must-Read Articles on EX, Linking EX & CX, and Branded Experience

Organizations around the world are actively evaluating—and seeking to better understand—the decision-making and behavioral influence of employee and customer trust, the drivers of emotional bonding with a brand or company, and what is required to create and sustain a more valuable branded experience.

If these topics are on your company’s radar, you can get the answers you need here! In today’s post InMoment EX and EX-CX linkage expert Michael Lowenstein is sharing his thought-leading insights on just those subjects. Check out these must-read articles!

Top Articles on EX, Linking EX & CX, and Branded Experience

#1: The Future Role of Consumer Trust 

Stakeholder (customer and employee) trust is about performance consistency and reliability, active 360 degree communication, and emotional security on an individual level, and humanized processes which lead to desired outcomes. It’s based on perception of personal value delivery relative to expectations. Like a bank or investment account, employee and customer trust is earned; and it can build, or decline, over time as the totality of experience unfolds.

Learn more here!

#2: Trust as an Emotion  

Trust is considered to be a “feeder” emotion, actively contributing to an overall perception of experience value, which, to help assure success, must become part of how organizations design experiences for both customers and employees. It is evident in both b2b and b2c products and services, everywhere around the globe. In some industries, such as financial services, trust has particular importance, especially concerning brand image and optimized relationships.. 

Read the full article here!  

#3:  The Customer Behavior Consequences of Low and High Employee Trust

A high percentage of U.S. employees simply don’t trust their employer.  This has a direct impact on employees’ perceptions and behavior, on their level of commitment to the company and also its customers.  There are progressive organizations, such as Zappos, that focus on mutual trust between employer and employee.  At very high levels, trust can help produce a corps of employee advocates (aka ambassadors in the post), making them active, contributing partners in a shared destiny with their employer.

Get the full article 

#4:  What if Employees Don’t Support Brand and CX Initiatives? 

As organizations design brand and customer experience initiatives and programs, there is often tacit belief that employees will indirectly and directly support such efforts.  It has frequently been demonstrated, however, that neutral or uncommitted employees can withhold their support and/or participation, even being negative in this regard.  Without multi-level employee commitment (to the organization, its product/service value proposition, and its customers) these programs can be in jeopardy of not meeting business outcome goals

Learn more here!  

#5:  The Positive and Negative Emotions of Employees and Customers 

Going beyond traditional quality-related and tangible aspects of value to behavioral drivers, there are 20 stakeholder experience-related emotions, which can be applied to deeper understanding of decision dynamics.  Eight of the emotions are negative (stressed, frustrated, unhappy, etc.) and twelve are positive (safe, trusting, energetic, etc.).  At the pinnacle of positive emotions are ‘happy’ and ‘pleased’, and this can be expressed in experience through the concept of lagniappe, essentially purposeful overdelivery of value.

Read more 

#6:  Emotional Drivers Shared by Employees and Customers  

Getting at the “feelings”, drivers of underlying customer and employee emotions, has seen growing importance.  Though this has been slower to develop on the employee side, changes in consumer and marketing dynamics have resulted in significantly increased focus on how emotions shape, and are shaped by, experience.  For both groups of stakeholders, the key priorities are to create, support, and leverage trust and value, through several techniques:  transparent and frequent communication, understanding of behavioral influences, etc.

Tell me more 

#7:  The Importance of Brand Image in Shaping Perceived Value and CX 

Corporate and brand image is a key, though less studied, element of perceived stakeholder value and overall experience.  Research has demonstrated, for example, the strong correlation of brand and product reputation through online reviews and resultant sales.  On the employee side, this impacts recruitment and retention.  For both customers and employees, there is also evidence of downside performance due to impaired or poor reputation.  Proactive organizations, understanding this, have taken an array of steps to protect image and reputation.

Read the article 

#8:  Creating Emotional Value for Customers and Employees

Many companies have tactically elected to apply traditional engagement approaches in the belief that these will enhance employee and customer behavior.  However, more progressive and advanced organizations have learned that stronger value and business outcomes, for both stakeholder groups, are realized by creating emotionally-based commitment and advocacy behavior.  The proof is that the most successful organizations reach higher levels of perceived value, performance, and financial results through such contemporary means.

Learn more! 

#9:  Customer Bonding and the Branded Experience 

There are organizations, such as IKEA, for example, where the experiences created for customers are meant to be personally bonding and immersive – through product design, employee interaction, and the overall store visit.  It is, in effect, a ‘branded customer experience’, distinctive and unique to this retailer.  Examples are offered of B2B and B2C companies that have transcended from transactional, commoditized experiences and now offer branded differentiation with higher perceived value—for both employees and customers.

Get the article

The Best Way to Identify (and Share) the Moments that Matter with Frontline Employees

Metrics, metrics, metrics. It’s common for frontline employees like contact center agents to be inundated with them—schedule adherence, efficiency, handle time, and hopefully, amid all of that and more, customer experience (CX) metrics. Ostensibly, the goal with this information is to give contact center agents the guidance needed to create Experience Improvement (XI) for customers, but do they have the time and wherewithal to actually sort through comments and data? Should that even BE an organizational expectation?

Having plenty of data and feedback is certainly important, but inundating your contact center agents with it won’t make them better at their jobs. Today’s conversation briefly covers how to actually leverage data by being tactical and thoughtful with what you share with your frontline employees. We’ll also discuss how best to use data to recognize employees for excelling at the executing moments that matter to customers. Let’s get started!

Sharing What Matters with Frontline Employees

There’s no one specific type of information, insight, or data that supports frontline employees across all industries, but there are several high-level principles that brands can bear in mind when determining what those employees need to know. The first north star to aim for with sharing insights to frontline employees is to consider which of those insights will make your employees not just efficient, but actually better at their jobs and at creating Experience Improvement.

Organizations that make compliance and efficiency the high water mark for contact center excellence will not see remarkable agent performance, let alone the Experience Improvement that you need to acquire and retain customers. Finding the insights, data, and comments that will make employees better at their jobs begins with using an Experience Improvement platform to ingest data (especially customer comments) for actionable insights. Many brands end up wasting time by either trying to manually mine insights out of data mountains, or by gathering metrics and then quitting at that point because they think numbers alone can drive success.

The platform approach can help you avoid both of these pitfalls and make the most of all your data—both qualitative and quantitative. Finding relevant and actionable insights in your data will motivate your employees to act upon Experience Improvement opportunities. Enacting this approach will also enable your frontline employees to provide a far superior experience to customers. This strengthens brand connection and creates a customer-centric culture.

The Next Step

Giving your employees the tools to create Experience Improvement is one thing—demonstrating your appreciation for them successfully doing so is another. All of us—frontline agents, supervisors, and business leaders—can take advantage of data and insights that allow us to simply “be better.” However, there’s one more step on that road that is specifically applicable to driving to top-level frontline work: recognition. 

This is another area in which brands and experience program vendors underutilize  data, unstructured and otherwise. Data is great for strengthening experiences and the bottom line, but with the right plan and structure, it can drive another factor just as if not more fundamental: an employee-centric culture.

Many brands use data to measure employee performance as a matter of course, but  tracking something only accomplishes so much. Brands need to go beyond tracking—they must use data to celebrate success, continually create a positive culture, and recognize a job well done.

This is a fundamental component of being human in all of your experiences, and employees who feel both recognized and a part of the company’s success will be all the more effective in their roles. That is the heart of Experience Improvement, creating a customer-centric and employee-centric workplace, and identifying the moments that matter.

The Frontline Insights Universe

While we’ve covered a lot of ground in discussing how to improve and recognize frontline employee performance, there’s a lot more you can find by checking out my full-length point of view article here. I take a deeper dive into communicating insights to frontline employees, as well as additional strategies you can use to improve experiences for customers, employees, and your wider organization!

How Customer Aggression in the Workplace Has Forever Changed Employee Experience

We know that everyone is sick of talking about COVID, but the pandemic has had far-reaching effects on customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) that will persist long after the virus is finally contained. Staying on top of these effects is hugely important to continuous Experience Improvement (XI), which is why today we want to take you through one of the biggest elements we noticed in our recent experience trends report: customer aggression in the workplace.

Even if aggressive customers haven’t been a problem for your brand specifically, you’ve no doubt heard all the horror stories about employees and brands for whom they have been. The problem has become widespread enough that it’s changed many employees’ workplace expectations, and it’s in that context that we all need to consider a few questions. Why has this become so much more common, and how has that problem changed employee experience?

The Roots of Heightened Customer Aggression

Figuring out how best to respond to aggressive customers begins with finding out why this problem is ramping up to begin with. The answer probably won’t surprise you: the pandemic has been, to put it lightly, an extremely stressful time. Our research and that of many other organizations have found a direct correlation between that stress and the customer aggression we’re seeing in workplaces around the world.

As you might expect, this aggression has resulted in big changes when it comes to employee expectations. Whether it’s diffusing unruly airline passengers or a fight over Pokemon cards (not even kidding), many employees are experiencing enforcement fatigue from attempting to uphold COVID regulations in the face of hostile customers. As a result, many employees are expecting brands to make some pretty big changes in the post-pandemic era.

How Customers and Employees View This Problem

Another factor critical to addressing aggressive customers is understanding how experience stakeholders view the problem. That was another element to all of this that we closely researched, evaluating both customers and employees across a few different demographics. What these folks had to say might surprise you!

For example, when asked “what would you think if you witnessed a customer acting aggressively toward an employee at a place of business?” only 48% of customers said they’d perceive that behavior negatively. 6% of customers would develop a negative perception of the employee and the brand. Finally, when we looked at this data against a more generational backdrop, it became clear immediately that Generation Z shoppers would be the most likely to feel empathetic toward the employee.

Impact of Customer Aggression on Employee Experience and Brand Perception
Image #1: Customer responses to the question,“What would you think if you witnessed a customer acting aggressively toward an employee at a place of business?”

To be clear, this question was asked under the assumption that the employee remained calm while the customer was being aggressive. But what happens when we change the scenario to both parties being aggressive toward each other? With that change thrown into the mix, 24% of customers had a negative perception of all customer behavior, Generation Z shoppers became less empathetic toward the employee, and negative sentiment toward the brand among all customers skyrocketed from 6% to a whopping 35%.

Customer Aggression and Employee Aggression
Image #2: Responses if the employee was aggressive in return

Clearly, mutually assured aggression isn’t the solution. What is

Employee Commitment 

The conventional wisdom for a lot of brands here is to closely support employees as incidents like these occur. That’s certainly important, but as The Great Resignation is demonstrating, strictly reactive support is insufficient for employee Experience Improvement (XI).

The answer, then, is for brands to dig much deeper in their employee support, going from reactive employee advocacy to something more fundamental and progressive: employee commitment. You can achieve employee commitment by working hard to drive trust, transparency, and communication, with the end goal being to help employees feel a human, emotional connection to their work. Taking this proactive tack with your employees won’t ‘just’ empower them to deal with aggressive customers; it will help your organization retain talent amid all this unprecedented churn.

Defining how exactly to go about employee commitment is going to look different from company to company. The work isn’t easy and can take some initial time, especially as you identify the end goals your commitment initiative needs to fulfill and then design that program around them. But that guiding ethos of trust, transparency, and communication makes a world of difference for employees who are feeling fatigued from aggressive customers. It’s an approach that will make them feel truly supported instead of just patronized, which will inspire them to handle these situations gracefully and create Experience Improvement for themselves.

Understanding and dealing with customer aggression is extremely important, but there’s a lot more to this experience universe for brands to consider. Want to learn more about the trends we’re seeing amid employees and customers in 2022? Click here to read our full-length trends report for this year, where we take a deep dive into everything brands need to know for their experience initiatives!

The Employee Experience Maturity Path: How Does EX Improvement Impact Customer Behavior?

This article was originally posted on CustomerThink.com

Sacagawea, a knowledgeable young Shoshone woman, successfully guided Lewis & Clark through the Louisiana Purchase territory, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, whose backyard was the Himalayas, successfully guided Edmund Hillary on the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. Ports around the world have skilled and experienced pilots whose detailed knowledge and map-memory of local shoals, sandbars and currents is essential to guide arriving ships to their berths. 

In the modern era, Tim Berners-Lee was the trailblazer of computer science—the inventor and mapmaker of the World Wide Web and HTML—without whom we simply wouldn’t have the internet of today. And then there’s Steve Wozniak, the technical pathfinder behind the initial system for Apple products and services. Every successful journey greatly benefits from having a reliable, capable, amply proven guide, especially one using a detailed, user-friendly map with signposts to mark steps needed to reach the intended goal. It is as true with employee experience (EX) improvement. There is a clear path to greater employee experience maturity and employee insights success, with a map and signposts to aid the guide.

4 Signposts on the Employee Experience Maturity Path Map 

There are four distinctive signposts which serve as a guide up the employee experience maturity path, each one bringing organizations closer to their goal of optimal employee behavior and value as enterprise assets. These signposts, or markers, represent the points along the path, or the trajectory, employee experience has taken, as companies become more mature in a) how they consider employee contribution, in other words the importance attached to it, and b) what role, or roles, employees have in enterprise culture, strategy, and business outcomes.

#1: Employee Satisfaction

The enterprise EX improvement and insights journey path often begins with very basic employee satisfaction, as companies are principally looking to manage and measure behavior at a macro level. For the employee experience maturity trajectory, it is the point of embarkation. Employee satisfaction will typically include job-related factors like compensation, workload, perceptions of management and leadership, flexibility, teamwork, resource availability, etc. 

#2: Employee Engagement

The next, and first real, EX journey signpost brings many organizations to employee engagement. Engaged employees have a stronger sense of purpose within the organization. Here, the predominant, HR-formed, construct is to consider employees as costs of doing the company’s business, and the overall objective is for their fit, utility, and productivity within the enterprise.

#3: Employee Commitment

This signpost represents and recognizes arrival on the path of a deeper awareness of what creates and shapes the full EX landscape: employee commitment to the organization, to its product and service value proposition ,and customers – and plan to optimize business outcomes and stakeholder value. Part of this more progressive awareness is also understanding, and mitigating, things which can impede EX success. Employee fit, utility, and productivity are certainly important, but they are insufficient where real employee experience and linkage to customer value delivery are concerned. Organizations need to have more contemporary and actionable insight into what motivates employees, connects them to the culture and customers, and drives their behavior as invested, highly contributory enterprise assets. 

#4: Employee Advocacy

This signpost has the EX parallel of the flag planted at the top of a mountain peak. Few organizations are able to reach this terminus point on the path (although it is certainly within reach, with strategic focus and discipline, for virtually any company). Companies with high rates of employee advocacy, and its accompanying strong set of business outcomes, are those which have embedded commitment and customer focus into the enterprise DNA, and where the culture, operations, and processes all flow through stakeholder value creation. 

How Does EX Improvement Impact Customer Behavior?

In looking at the progression from satisfaction to engagement to commitment and advocacy, we have examined research conducted over the past three decades. What we have observed are studies that examined some contributing factors of employee experience and value, such as reward and recognition, job fit, training, career opportunities, work environment, and departmental and management relationships. But the critical component often totally missing, or lightly addressed, from all of this material is the definitive linkage and commitment to customers.

Tony Hsieh, the late founder and CEO of Zappos, said: “The brand is just a lagging indicator of the company’s culture.” He hit the mark with that statement. Brand image needs to be complemented and supported by a culture and set of processes dedicated to both employee and customer experience. That brand promise has to be delivered for customers every time they interact with the company. Contribution to customer experience also needs to be fully, and strategically, baked into the organization and into every employee’s job description.

Consider how frequently your customers come in contact with your employees, either directly or indirectly. Whether it is through a computer screen in a customer service chat, on the telephone, or in person, every employee, whether customer-facing or not, should be an enthusiastic and committed representative for the brand. If, today, employee satisfaction and employee engagement are not designed to meet this critical objective of the customer experience, almost inevitably there will be a sub-optimal downstream result with regard to customer behavior.

The Importance of Creating a Culture of Commitment

In any group of employees, irrespective of whether it’s a service department, technical and operational division, or a branch office, there will be differing levels of commitment to the employer’s brand and the company itself, its value proposition, and its customers. If employees are negative to the point of undermining, and even sabotaging, customer experience value, they will actively work against business goals and outcomes. However, if employees are advocates, and whether they interact with customers directly, indirectly, or even not at all, they will better service and support customers.

For companies to create and sustain higher levels of employee advocacy, it’s also essential that the employee experience be given as much emphasis as the customer experience. If employee commitment and advocacy are to flourish, there must be value, and a sense of shared purpose, for the employee (as well as the company and customer) – in the form of recognition, reward(financial and training), and career opportunities. Combined with advanced analytics and other employee-related data, the advocacy concept can lead and enable any organization to be more stakeholder-centric, flexible, dynamic, and financially successful.

This is a clear path and map to EX maturity. Where is your company on the journey?

2022 EX Trends: The Top 2 Things Employees Must Have in Their Next Job

Even if you don’t work in the HR space, you’ve probably seen the term “The Great Resignation” cross your news feed at least once (or 100 times, more likely). At the very least, no matter what department you operate out of, you’ve seen the unprecedented level of churn the job market is experiencing right now. And that might leave you wondering: what employee must haves are convincing employees to leave their old jobs for new ones?

There’s a lot to unpack with The Great Resignation, but one of the core truths playing out here is that many employees aren’t getting what they’re looking for from their employers in 2022. We dove into that in our recent 2022 Experience Trends Report (you can check out the full findings here), but we’re going to quickly cover two of those things here for you today.

What Do Employees Want from Their Employers?

  1. Supportive Culture
  2. Connection to Customer Experience

Employee Must Have #1: Supportive Culture

It may sound like a no-brainer to have an employee-supporting culture in place at your organization, but if the amount of employee churn going on right now is any indication, far fewer brands have that scheme in place than you might think. A lot of folks believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was the starting line for employee churn, but the truth is that the pandemic only exacerbated a lack of employee support that had already been there for a long time.

This is why it’s so important for organizations to invest heavily in this employee must have if they haven’t already. The best ‘employee support’ is what EX experts call employee commitment, wherein companies roll up their sleeves and dig deep to learn how they can better drive transparency, trust, and communication. Much of the churn we’re seeing with The Great Resignation stems from employees feeling that these elements were absent at their previous workplace.

Whereas the traditional employee response model has been to react to problems only as they arise, it’s become pretty clear that that’s no longer sufficient for retaining talent. Helping employees feel a human connection to their brand has never been easy, and the specs of that mission vary from company to company, but investing the time and effort into identifying what that looks like for your organization will make all the difference when it comes to employee retention. Remember; employees don’t want you to react to problems after they’ve occurred. They want to feel a bold, human connection to your brand.

Employee Must Have #2: Connection to Customer Experience

As important as it is for employees to feel connected to their organizations, workplace connections are only part of the puzzle. There’s another element here that employees are actively seeking as they look for opportunities in 2022, and that’s a connection with the customers and clients that brands like yours partner with.

On the surface, this may seem like yet another no-brainer. Employees become more committed when they see how their work makes a difference in a customer’s life. The thing is, though, is that a lot of companies have committed to illustrating that difference only to frontline employees, when the reality is that every team, frontline or otherwise, works together toward that goal. 

With that idea in mind, it’s vital for brands to find ways to let even those non-customer-facing teams know how their work contributes to Experience Improvement (XI) among customers. This contributes to employees’ sense of value at your organization and reduces the risk that comes with the siloed feeling many non-customer-facing individuals may encounter during their work. Demonstrating that link will look different at each company, but organizations need to find a way to do so now more than ever. 

The 2022 Employee Landscape

All in all, employees are seeking two major factors in 2022:  a culture that commits to them rather than just reacting to issues after they occur, and a chance to see how exactly their work matters to customers no matter how far they are from the front line. 

These tasks are by no means easy to execute on, but if you put the time and effort into figuring out how, you’ll be able to retain your talent and continue building meaningful experiences for both your employees and your customers!

The Importance of Employee Loyalty in the Workplace

We all know that employee loyalty is important, but oftentimes we forget how employee loyalty is connected with customer loyalty and how loyal employees contribute to the success of the entire business.

“Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.” (Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work, Harvard Business Review, 1994)

Leadership and Loyalty

There is a strong relationship between employee satisfaction and employee loyalty and between employee loyalty and customer loyalty and, ultimately, profitability. So what is the secret to fostering employee loyalty and preventing employee turnover? Effective leadership.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Korn Ferry, 33% of employees plan to look for a new job due to being bored and needing a new challenge.

Leaders who genuinely care about their people—who are “plugged in” to their organizations and listen to their employees for suggestions on how to improve—will develop corporate cultures that naturally support the concept of the Service-Profit Chain. By no surprise, employees who trust and respect the leadership of an organization often feel more empowered and motivated to do their best, which reduces employee turnover and its costs.

Those costs, particularly when layoffs are involved, can include low morale among stressed employees, and widespread distrust of the company by employees, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey.

Metlife had similar findings in its 2011 Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, which reported that employee loyalty was  at a 3-year low. However, the study’s 2017 findings, titled “Work Redefined: A New Age” focused  on what companies can do to inspire loyalty: “With so much change, employees are looking for more stability, protection, and a safeguard against disruption. If they can find it in their employer, they’ll show their appreciation through loyalty.”

Much of the report examines what kind of benefits inspire employee loyalty in the workplace, but even great benefits can’t make up for a poor work environment, so it’s more important than ever for leaders to embrace and implement changes that encourage loyal employees who uphold your brand’s values.

6 Tips for Fostering Employee Loyalty

These tips, which are drawn largely from the experience of customer service reps (CSRs), are widely applicable since in the end we all ultimately serve the customer.

1. Give Employees the Tools They Need

Develop tools that allow employees to quickly look up the answers to common problems, share best practices and solutions with each other, and contribute to the company’s knowledge base. Train employees in soft skills as well, like de-escalating a situation, and feeling and expressing empathy.

2. Give Employees the Time They Need

Think about voice of the customer (VoC) for a moment, and how often feedback comes from a post-interaction customer satisfaction survey, whether it’s an automated phone call or email.

Now think about how much customer service is outsourced to call centers, which work effectively in keeping calls short. One call center explained the need for time limits this way:  “Companies account for customer service as a cost center, not a profit center, and companies need to keep costs down.” Talented, hard-working employees with great people skills might be forgiven for hearing this as, “You cost us, and the only value you have is your ability to keep costs down.”

This is hardly a way to build loyalty, and the pressure to keep calls short contributes to the call center industry having the highest turnover of industries worldwide. (In a 2016 post Talkdesk, a provider of call center solutions, reported the yearly turnover as 30-45%, double or triple that of all U.S. industries in 2013.)

3. Change How You Account for Customer Service

A better way to think about customer service and build employee loyalty is to think about how many customers your employees talk with and interact with each day. That gives them valuable perspective on customer wants, needs, frustrations, and satisfaction. Think about ways to record and gather that perspective, and how you can use the data to improve your services, products, offerings, and, especially, profits.

4. Measure the Right Things

Remember that not all projects take the same amount of time. Strict time limits or quotas may discourage talented employees from taking on difficult tasks. Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC) reported that one company saw a significant increase in retention by designating more resources and adjusting performance expectations a little for a particularly stressful call type. Think about the knowledge and experience the company held onto by keeping those employees. (Not to mention the cost savings.) QATC’s article ends with a table breaking out the line items behind the oft-quoted cost of about $6,500 to replace a non-supervisory employee.

5. Solicit Employee Feedback

How does an employee show loyalty? Through open communication. ATB Financial, which has appeared repeatedly on Achievers’ 50 Most Engaged Workplaces list (and most recently as one of The Elite 8), encourages its employees to logon to the recruiting site Glassdoor and leave anonymous reviews of the company. The chief people officer’s response to fears that employees might leave nasty reviews? “Then we’d better get a hell of a lot better,” Lorne Rubis told the Financial Post. “I’d much rather know and have the courage, strength, and conviction to allow for the data to be free-flowing than to worry about what kind of governance we put on that.”

6. Study What Other Companies Are Doing To Build Employee Loyalty

Achievers compile an annual list of 50 Most Engaged Workplaces by looking at eight categories: Leadership, Communication, Culture, Rewards and Recognition, Accountability and Performance, Vision and Values, and Corporate Social Responsibility. A good place to discover what other companies are doing is the citations for The Elite 8, the top companies in each category.

InMoment was honored to appear as one of the 50 in 2011 as Mindshare Technologies, and we’re tremendously proud to have employees who are engaged, passionate about their work, creative, and committed to providing the highest quality of internal and external service. At the heart of our company is a phenomenal leadership team that has created a culture where people work hard, care about each other, are innovative, and fun to be around.

By constantly improving from our employee feedback, we were recently awarded the Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in the United States.

Ready to improve employee loyalty and satisfaction in your company? See how InMoment can help you increase employee loyalty in the workplace and boost business success.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Create More Inclusive Employee & Customer Experiences

Diversity and inclusion initiatives have become front and center for many organizations in recent years. It’s important for brands to create diverse and inclusive customer experiences (CX) and employee experiences (EX)—not ‘just’ because being more inclusive is the right thing to do, but also because organizations have a lot to gain from accommodating greater diversity in every experience they create.

Of course, an organization stating diversity and inclusion goals is a good start, but how can brands like yours translate such goals into tangible Experience Improvement (XI) strategies and tactics that create more inclusive customer experiences? There are many, many opportunities here, but the most important thing to do is to just get started. 

So, here are three quick thoughts you should apply right now to create more inclusive employee and customer experiences.

3 Keys to Creating More Inclusive Customer Experiences

  1. Key #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
  2. Key #2: Engage New and All Audiences
  3. Key #3: Apply What You’ve Learned

Key #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

It’s understandable for organizations to be intimidated by the prospect of making mistakes while attempting to accommodate and include new audiences. Such mistakes can quickly become viral via social media, review sites, and other tools, creating headaches both for brands and the customers (or employees) at the heart of such events.

Though this worry is certainly a valid concern, it’s better to accept that mistakes might be made and press forward with your diversity and inclusion efforts than to allow timidity to outright impede either. These are the growing pains of becoming more inclusive with your customer and employee experiences, and facing them head-on will also give your team an opportunity to consider how best to handle such mistakes and learn from them. 

Experience shows that both customers and employees accept that mistakes inevitably occur and are a result of activity. Being passive is not an option when trying to create more inclusive customer experiences. Overcome the fear of making mistakes and concentrate on a transparent and authentic way to deal with them when they occur.

Key #2: Engage All Audiences

If you’re still concerned about how best to connect to audiences you haven’t consistently talked to before, this is the section for you. For many years now, the big idea behind CX and EX programs has been to simply gather as much feedback as possible from as many people as possible. However, before turning any listening posts on, you should sit down with your team and design (or reorient) your experience initiatives with your end goals in mind. You must ensure that you give all audiences you want to hear from the opportunity to provide feedback. 

In this case, if your goal is to create more inclusive experiences, you should consider which audiences you need to reach out to and how to do so. This means doing some legwork to find out how those audiences communicate, what their preferences are, and bringing all of those insights to bear when meaningfully improving your experiences to accommodate diversity and inclusion. 

Also, don’t forget: You need the right tool to collect feedback from all audiences as well as to disseminate that information to all members of your organization. Make sure you are using accessibility tools like screen readers, larger font sizes, higher contrasts, etc.

Key #3: Apply What You’ve Learned

You can and should apply the above mindset to any experience goal you have across the entirety of your business. Applying it here will give you the intelligence and landscape map you need to achieve Experience Improvement (XI) for new audiences. 

However, intelligence and roadmaps are only half the battle; taking action is imperative to actually making your experiences more inclusive. The work is ceaseless and oftentimes difficult, but if your team is ready to continue making an effort, you can be assured that the audiences you need to reach will respond.

As you continue to take action on what those audiences tell you, you’ll be able to meaningfully transform your business and realize your goal of a more inclusive experience. Being more inclusive is an invaluable component of marketplace leadership, but it’s also what will set your organization apart from your competitors in your customers’ eyes. The result is a mutually beneficial, meaningfully improved experience that will demonstrate to all your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as faster revenue growth and higher profitability.

Click here to learn more about the importance of diverse and inclusive experiences in my full-length point of view article. I take a closer look at the topics explored here and go over a few other best practices you might not have had the chance to read about elsewhere.

Stress Awareness Month: 3 Ways Your Employees Can Combat Stress Year Round

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? Merriam-Webster defines stress as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.” And looking at the world around us, there are many elements that could lead to immense feelings of stress. 

Rather than rattling off a list of possible stressors, we want to talk about how you and your employees can manage these feelings year round with practical, accessible tools and coping strategies. So without further ado, let’s get zen!

3 Tools to Share with Employees for Stress Awareness Month

Tool #1: Leverage Company Mental Health Resources

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies realized that they needed to provide mental health resources (such as tele-therapy) for their employees as they navigated “unprecedented times.” And though the pandemic is becoming less central in our everyday lives, those resources are still absolutely vital. 

If you are on your company’s human resources team, it might be worth reiterating available resources to your employees via email or your company’s internal communications channels (especially since it’s Stress Awareness Month). This communication should also feature clear instructions on how to access those resources to increase accessibility. Having those resources is only helpful if your employees are aware of and using them!

Tool #2: Create Space with Meditation

Stress can create feelings of helplessness, decrease ability to focus, and stir up racing, negative thoughts. To combat this, encourage employees to create mental space with meditation. 

Meditation will look different for everyone, but the goal is to “focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress.” One common method is to sit quietly and focus solely on your breath for at least two minutes. If you get distracted, that’s okay! Just refocus your attention on your breath.

There are also apps and websites that provide guided meditations and tools to help achieve a meditative state. At InMoment, we provide our team members with access to an app called Sanvello, a mental health app that supports people through self care, peer support, coaching, and therapy. One of the tools available on Sanvello is guided meditations.

“We are so happy to give our InMoment Team access to Sanvello, a mental health app that focuses on the importance of checking in with yourself,” said InMoment CHRO Wendy Rand. “Employees will be able to leverage the app to access self care tools like daily mood tracking, guided journeys, coping tools like meditation, and more to help them manage stress in a world full of noise. This is a wonderful step to support our team both inside and outside of the workplace.”

In addition to apps like Sanvello, you can also find free guided meditations on Youtube and other sites. These resources can be communicated via the same method we mentioned in tool number one.

Tool #3: Plan for Moments That Matter

At InMoment, we have this saying: “Own the Moments That Matter.” And though this is applicable for improving experiences for customers and employees, we also mean that it’s important to really be present in the moments that matter most to you personally. 

We each have our own “moments that matter,” whether it’s going on a walk with our dog, taking an exercise class, spending quality time with our family and friends… the list goes on! In these stressful times, it’s more important than ever that we are deliberate about setting time aside for the things that make us feel our best. 

At the beginning of each week, set aside time in your schedule to do something for yourself, and encourage your employees to do that too! It can be something as simple as taking 20 minutes to get up from your desk to stretch, or you could even utilize your paid time off to have an extended weekend. Whatever it is, we each need to take the time to create (and own) our own moments that matter.

Encouraging a Self-Care Culture

It’s simple: companies are most successful when their employees are successful—and this stretches beyond professional success. To be their best at work, employees need to know that their employers encourage them to do what they need to in order to thrive. That means companies must clearly communicate about mental health resources and provide the tools necessary to assist their employees year round—not only during Stress Awareness Month. Doing so clearly displays employee commitment, and will lead to cultural and business success long term.

What is employee commitment? And how can brands demonstrate that? Learn all about it from InMoment employee experience experts here.

11 Articles You Need to Read About Today’s Employee and EX Landscape

In the midst of the fallout of a global pandemic and the Great Resignation, the employee experience (EX) is an incredibly hot topic. With such a complex EX landscape, what do brands need to do to retain their employees, inspire their commitment and advocacy, and attract new talent?

If you’re looking for the answers to these questions, say no more—InMoment EX expert Michael Lowenstein is here to help with all the thought leadership you need. Check out these must read articles below!

#1: Employee Engagement: Does the Defense’s Case Still Hold Water? 

When it comes to optimizing the employee experience, does an engagement-based approach still work? More and more, we are finding that employee commitment represents a more progressive and actionable EX construct. It better reflects the realities employers face in today’s talent landscape, and how employees are making job-related decisions.  

Read It Here!

#2: What Causes Employee Turnover? How Does Today’s Unprecedented Employee Churn Impact Customers Tomorrow?

Today, there are multiple drivers, or causes, of employee turnover. And, there are definite connections, or links, to how the rate of employee resignations can, and does, impact customer experiences and perceptions of value. So, how will unprecedented employee churn today impact customers tomorrow?   

Check It Out!

#3:  The Key Post-Pandemic EX Holy Grail for All Companies: We’re Now in the Era of Required Employee Commitment and Linkage to CX

The COVID-19 pandemic has actively contributed to a reassessment of priorities by both employees and employers. Employees are reconsidering the personal value represented by their jobs and roles. Employers are reconsidering methods for building connections as well as performance. So, post-pandemic, what are the key enterprise considerations for improving employee experience?    

Discover the EX Holy Grail

#4:  The Impact of YOLO on Employee and Customer Experience

YOLO (You Only Live Once) is a current societal force which has been over 250 years in the making. Today, it is directly fueling the Great Resignation—especially among GenZ and Millennial employees. This has contributed to greater attention to factors of YOLO which influence employee behavior, especially employer disconnection and churn. So, what is the impact of YOLO on employee and customer experience?   

Find the Answers

#5:  In EX, Quo Vadis? Translated from Latin: Where Are We Going with Employee Experience Improvement?

The employee landscape is undergoing dramatic and rapid change, with a heightened emphasis on emotional drivers and connection to the employer’s culture. For instance, organizations are coming to understand that everyone in the organization is responsible for developing and delivering customer value. So, where is employee experience headed? 

 Learn the Direction

#6:  Do Companies Recognize the High CX Value of Employee Advocates? Shouldn’t They Want to Cultivate the Kind of Behavior Advocacy Represents?

Employee commitment and advocacy behavior influences customer experience, on both an indirect and a direct basis. Significantly more than either satisfaction or engagement, where employees are viewed as costs, committed employees are key enterprise assets, delivering superior, differentiated customer value. So, how well do companies recognize the value of employee commitment and advocacy?  

Read Article

#7:  Diagnosing and Improving Employee Connection to Company Culture

Employees’ connection to, or disconnection from, the employer’s culture—its fairness, transparency, equity, humanity, career opportunities, communication, management trust, etc.—is perhaps the biggest contributor to today’s high resignation rates. Yet, traditional engagement research only minimally addresses, if at all, what cultural factors work, or don’t work, for employees. Through new and focused research approaches, there is a clear, actionable path to enterprise culture improvement. So, will organizations do more to understand the importance of, and level of employee connection to, company culture? 

 Connect Employees to Customer Culture

#8:  Potentially, How Will the Future of Work and ‘The Great Resignation’ Impact Customer Experience?

Today, many organizations are focused on how the future of work will affect both customer experience and employee experience.  A major challenge, however, is the continuing high level of employee turnover. This is largely because employees, who actively desire to work for companies with a more humanistic culture and a purpose which they can support, are too often finding these lacking in their present employer. These perceived shortcomings can be reversed. So, how will key realities in the employee landscape impact CX? 

 Uncover the Impact

#9:  It’s Time to Recognize the Impact and Value of Employee Behavior: Making Employee Experience an Organizational Priority

As organizations become more mature in their approaches to employee behavior and experience, a key question which needs to be addressed is the level of enterprise priority, and investment of resources, employee experience receives. And, directly connected to this question, companies need to understand the degree to which employees are recognized as key assets, not costs, when their research and initiatives still follow an engagement-based model. Moving the strategic focus to employee commitment is the next, more progressive, stage of employee experience maturity. So, are organizations making employee experience and employee behavior a priority?  

Make Employee Experience a Priority

#10:  Employee Advocates: Their Role as Committed Company Assets, Active Communicators, and Key Contributors to Stakeholder Value

Advocacy, where employees are identified as active contributors to business outcomes and are recognized and leveraged as significant enterprise assets, is the ultimate stage of EX maturity. Although developing a corps of such employees is attainable with focused discipline and investment, few organizations reach this level. Not only are employee advocates committed to the organization and its customers, they are emotionally connected to the culture and purpose of their employer. They are active partners in delivering superior customer value. So, do companies see employee advocates as essential enterprise assets?    

Learn More

#11: Elves Rule: Employees ‘Make’ the Experience for Customers, and They Should Be Recognized for It

Just before Christmas, good little children all around the world are preparing their lists of preferred gifts. They are told that the holiday presents they receive will come courtesy of Santa (and Ms.) Claus. But, isn’t it the elves, toiling in anonymity (except for the occasional movie) at their North Pole workshop, who—like employees everywhere—are those most responsible for creating customer joy? So, how well do organizations understand and recognize employees’ essential role in the customer experience and the creation of value?

Check It Out

3 Employee and Customer Experience Trends for Banks, Wealth Advisors, and Credit Unions in 2022

What is the future for employee and customer experience trends in banks, wealth advisory firms, and credit unions? InMoment recently dove into the financial services industry’s 2022 outlook—and there’s a lot to unpack. 

Through our dedicated Strategic Insights Team, we collected data from bank, wealth advisor, and credit union consumers and employees across North America. This year’s trends report has unearthed a few key discoveries that these businesses must pay attention to if they want to differentiate themselves in this competitive market.

When you have both customer and employee perspectives, it’s easier to rethink the workplace and how one experience affects the other. Let’s think through this together to improve finserv experiences for the long haul:

Employee and Customer Experience Trend #1: Digital Experiences and Personal Engagement is Vital to Improving Experiences

One of the first questions we asked customers and employees was, “what experiences are you looking forward to in the following industries [in 2022]?” 

For Customers: Most banking customers responded with “tap-&-go or digital wallet” (Apple or Samsung). This hammers in a point this industry is all too aware of: digital transformation is a crucial element that all banks need to pay attention to as customer expectations evolve. And that extends to other types of financial services businesses as well, be it investment management or credit unions.

For Employees: On the other hand, employees have a unique perspective to add to this conversation. One stated that they would like:

“More time [spent] with customers around personal investments.” 

— Financial Services Wealth Advisor

Of course, different firms operate with different goals in mind, but what’s important to take away here is how the customer experience is impacting the employee experience and vice versa. With this insight in mind, businesses across the financial services industry should include the employee perspective in their customer experience efforts. What do your bank tellers know about friction points in the in-branch experience? What improvements do your advisors think can be made in client sessions? The answers could lead to major improvements in the customer experience and to bottom line influencing factors like customer retention.

Employee and Customer Experience Trend #2: Focus on Both Digital and In-Person Interactions to Serve All Customers

We’ve all seen the articles claiming that the “in-branch experience is dead,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to our data, there are those customers that prefer 100% self-service capabilities, but there are also those customers that rely on in-person interactions—and there are employees that find fulfillment in serving those customers.

When asked what their primary expectations for their experiences were, the majority of consumers voiced their desire for self-serve options, specifically with investments profiles, banking services, or credit union interactions. At the same time, employees also expressed at the same time that they want training to support customers better, whether that is in a contact center, over live chat, or in-branch. 

To satisfy both employee and customer expectations for experiences, finserv businesses need to make sure they are focused on both digital and in-person interactions, and make sure they are consistent while they’re at it.

Employee and Customer Experience Trend #3: How to Optimize Talent Acquisition for Gen Z

Employee values tend to shift from generation to generation and it’s the responsibility for businesses to acknowledge those changes if they want to last. That’s why employers everywhere have been thinking more about Gen Z and how they’ll carve out a future for the workplace, and finserv businesses are no exception. 

To help banks, investment advisors, and other finserv employers understand Gen Z, we leveraged our latest trends report to dive into Market Pulse data as well as indirect and inferred transactional data and put together a pros and cons profile for the most critical factors in recruiting a Gen Z employee specifically in the finserv industry. Check it out below!

Based on these findings, Gen Z seems likely to be attracted to a work setting that prioritizes instilling a sense of purpose in employees and supporting a collaborative work community, on top of, understandably, ensuring financial security.

There are many ways to foster these attributes in your company’s work culture, but one thing is for sure: as Gen Z grows more prominent in the workforce, it is vital that businesses shape work cultures according to Gen Z ideals if they wish to attract top talent.

Not only did InMoment feature the financial services businesses like banks, wealth advisory firms, and credit unions in its newest Customer and Employee Experience Trends Report, but the research covers ten other industries as well! If you’d like to learn more about what’s happening in 2022’s experience realm, take a look at the full online version.

Optimizing Employee Insights from Structured and Unstructured Data

Power from the People

Employee insights can come from a multitude of sources like unstructured data; and, with churn at record levels (overall turnover rate is estimated at 57.3 % per year, and with Gen Z changing jobs at a rate 134% higher than in pre-pandemic 2019)—and the cultural, operational, and customer value discontinuity this can create—it’s essential for every company to have, and apply, every piece of relevant data.  

Information from employees gives businesses power and can be leveraged to enhance customer experience, resulting in higher retention, more positive customer behavior, and stronger business outcomes.

Workforce Analytics and Voice of Employee

Employee data streams come from two principal frameworks: People Analytics and Voice of Employee (VoE).  People Analytics aka Workforce Analytics, are the data sets HR uses to make recruitment more effective, increase retention and longevity, and improve fit, alignment, and productivity. The pandemic has had a profound effect on people analytics, with challenges coming from differing industries, job/role types, and locations. Today’s most successful companies can and do, utilize internal and external data to enhance workforce strategy through better planning.

Voice of Employee is a bit more complex, and given today’s talent landscape and heightened set of employee responsibilities, perhaps even more crucial. VoE programs collect, analyze, and distill employee feedback to identify areas of performance, challenge, and opportunity. These programs were largely manual until recently, which is both costly and time-inefficient. Also, when traditional people analytics tools were applied to unstructured data, the resulting text analytics were superficial, yielding little real actionability. The best and most contemporary approach for employee-generated text analytics is natural language processing, or NLP.

…Organizations that use workforce analytics have the most engaged workforces, and they thrive in tough conditions. 

— Tim Ringo, Workforce Analytics Isn’t as Scary as It Sounds

Leveraging Natural Language Processing for VoE Analytics

With Natural Language Processing for VoE, organizations can gather an in-depth understanding of factors driving emotionally-based behavior and performance, resulting in clear and impactful programmatic recommendations that drive engagement, loyalty, and commitment. 

  • Gather: All data sources (surveys, reviews, messages, emails, chat threads, and other communication) can form a single stream
  • Process: NLP analyses can be run utilizing HR language, with customized dashboards, or they can be exported to the organization’s business intelligence tool
  • Analyze: Identify areas of focus and experience and emotionally-based sentiment with the power of NLP
  • Act:  NLP enables narratives on topics, trends, and patterns to be developed, along with root cause issues and supporting data

Figures 1&2 / Polarity data visualization from insurance company reviews

Using NLP helps businesses identify key topics, categories, themes, intentions from every document in the data stream, and detailed sentiment analysis. And, when compared to open source and traditional people analytics techniques, NLP is more efficient and requires less technical support. NLP is, as well, both highly configurable and completely secure with any infrastructure.  

All employees have stories about their experiences and those of customers. NLP helps organizations hear, understand, share, and leverage those stories to make business decisions that make work life and their customers’ lives better.

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