Customer experience leaders often talk about the importance of having highly-engaged employees who take pride in their jobs, admire the companies they work for and, above all else, are committed to delighting customers. And while all of these are admirable goals for organizations to aspire to and for company leaders to achieve, the reality in today's workplace is that many employees feel overwhelmed by crushing workloads as hiring remains weak. Meanwhile, stagnant wages and declining employee benefits packages continue to drag down morale.Not surprisingly, employee satisfaction levels are dismal across the board. According to a survey of nearly 6,000 registered Monster.com users earlier this year, 42 percent of respondents say they're dissatisfied with their current jobs while an eye-popping 81 percent of workers plan to look for new jobs this year. This maps with a study conducted by Gallup which finds that 20 million U.S. workers are actively disengaged.
As customer experience leaders know all too well, a highly engaged and motivated workforce has a dramatic impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customer-facing employees who go the extra mile for customers - like a hotel employee who tracks down and returns a child's favorite stuffed animal after they've checked out - can help a company land a customer for a lifetime.
So what can executives do to get at the root of employee cynicism? A good starting point is talking directly with employees to find out what troubles them most about their jobs, their supervisor, work environment, benefits, etc. and listening carefully to what their biggest pain points are. You might not be able to grant them a hefty raise or better healthcare benefits but you can demonstrate to them that the company cares about each employee and is committed to providing a great workplace culture for everyone. It's also a great way for senior management to get in the trenches and get a better handle on the common triggers for employee dissatisfaction and take action before morale spirals out of control.
It's also important not to over-rely on annual employee satisfaction surveys. These surveys can sometimes reveal common sources of discontent among employees that senior management can take steps to act on. However, employees don't always feel that they're able to answer such surveys candidly for fear of being labeled as a malcontent - even if the survey responses are said to be anonymous.
What techniques for identifying and acting on sources of employee dissatisfaction have worked in your organization?