Brad Cleveland

The Edge of Service® Newsletter


Issue #40

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The best way to improve employee engagement

When you peel back the layers of any customer-centric organization, you’ll find a culture of honoring employees, encouraging their insight, and engaging them every step of the way. Customer experience is built on a foundation of employee engagement. I don’t know of any exception.

What is employee engagement? We know it’s not the same as employee satisfaction. An employee can be satisfied with their job for various reasons - geographical convenience, friendships, compensation - without really being engaged.

I define engagement as “the enthusiasm and emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and the work they do.”

Employee engagement:

“The enthusiasm and emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and the work they do.”

(Source: Cleveland, Brad. Leading the Customer Experience. New York, Kogan Page, 2021.)

How do you encourage engagement and grow it across your team and organization? As it turns out, the key driver is purpose: Do your employees believe that their work matters? Do they feel they are making a difference?

One of my favorite commercials, which ran years ago now (it clearly made an impression on me!) was from Home Depot, the building supply company. It reflected a time of turnaround following a season of cost-cutting and poor service that almost drove them to bankruptcy.

The commercial depicts a confused and stressed dad getting advice from a knowledgeable employee on how to build a treehouse. The last scene shows the dad and his young son in sleeping bags, settling in for the night in the new treehouse. “Thanks Dad,” his admiring son says. Read more

Compared to disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are 5.3x more likely to make a recommendation about an improvement and 4.7x more likely to do something good for the company even if it is not expected of them.

Source: Temkin Group

More stats

More Insights from Brad

Video: A Structured Approach to Customer Advocacy

Drive Innovation with Convenience Design

Video: Managing Customer Feedback in Real Time

Resource Spotlight

Traits of Engaged Employees

Use this worksheet to consider six traits of employee engagement. There is space to note the prevalence of each trait, improvement opportunities, and next steps.

More resources

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Motivating Your Team, online course