Improving employee engagement during an economic downturn

Juanita Coley—the renowned Contact Center Whisperer and owner of Solid Rock Consulting—has joined us to discuss actionable ways you can build, improve, and sustain employee engagement in an economic downturn. You can learn more about Juanita and Solid Rock Consulting here.

As the Contact Center Whisperer, employee experience and customer experience are topics I’m asked about often. I’m affectionately known for saying you don’t have a customer experience strategy unless you have an employee experience strategy. Why? Because employees aren’t going to treat customers better than how they’re being treated.

Disengaged employees can be costly for business—and it’s a risk you can’t afford to take. According to a Gallup study, disengaged employees can cost employers 18% of their annual salary. In a company of 10,000 employees with an average salary of $50,000 each, the cost of their disengagement is $60.3 million annually.

In an economic downturn, employee engagement is more important than ever. At Solid Rock Consulting, we recommend a three-pronged approach.

Our three-pronged approach to improving employee engagement

  1. People Culture
    Don’t start by addressing grievances. Instead, focus on leadership. In the words of John Maxwell, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." What leadership believes and how they engage employees creates company culture. Effective leadership strategies include career pathing and coaching, consistent performance feedback, and a strong rewards and recognition program. Zig Ziglar said it best, "Build people and people will build the business."
  2. Process
    Develop strong processes that support employees in their day-to-day roles, including continuous improvement, learning, and knowledge management. As the business changes, so do the needs of the organization, customers, and employees, which can impact processes. Continuously look for ways to improve your processes.
  3. Technology
    While technology can be a powerful tool for aiding productivity and data insights, it should be used to scale, not replace human employees. Find ways to integrate technology into your work processes while still valuing and empowering your employees.

How to sustain engagement and keep your team motivated

Now, let's have some fun! Here are some creative strategies to keep your team engaged and motivated:

  • Give recognition and praise for a job well done. Set up a recognition wall where employees can give props to each other for going above and beyond, or create a virtual leaderboard where employees can earn points for their achievements and redeem them for prizes. According to a survey by Achievers, 44% of employees cite a lack of recognition and engagement as their reason for leaving a job.
  • Be transparent with your team about the organization's financial situation and create a safe space for open and honest discussion. Host a virtual town hall or happy hour and turn it into a game with prizes for the most insightful questions or ideas.
  • Show your team some love with perks and benefits such as gift cards, free lunch delivery, extra paid time off, or virtual fitness classes. According to a survey by Perkbox, employees who receive perks are 18% more likely to feel engaged at work.
  • Invest in employee learning and development through virtual workshops or conferences. Make it fun by turning it into a game with quizzes, interactive polls, and prizes for top performers. According to a survey by LinkedIn, employees who spend time learning are 47% less likely to be stressed.
  • Promote innovation and creativity by hosting virtual brainstorming sessions and turning them into games with prizes for the most creative ideas. According to a survey by Deloitte, employees who feel their organization fosters a culture of innovation are 3.5 times more likely to be highly engaged.

Solid Rock Consulting understands the importance of employee engagement, especially during an economic downturn. Juanita’s team offers a range of services, including leadership development, performance management, and change management, to help organizations build and maintain a highly engaged workforce. Learn more about the work they do.

Everyday, we help customers drive results. See how leaders like you are using gift cards to help boost employee engagement and keep their teams motivated. Learn more here.

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