One of my Six Laws of Customer Experience is that unengaged employees can't create engaged customers. It's a pretty simple connection, and one that we've captured in Temkin Group's Employee Engagement Virtuous Cycle:

If you're looking for analytical evidence supporting the relationships in this model, here are some data points from our recent study of more than 2,400 U.S. employees

  • Seventy-five percent of employees in companies with significantly above average customer experience are moderately or highly engaged, compared with only 25 percent of employees within firms with subpar customer experience.
  • Engaged employees are more than twice as likely to stay late at work if something needs to be done, help someone at work even if they're not asked, and do something that is good for the company even if it's not expected of them.
  • Engaged employees are almost three times as likely to make recommendations about an improvement and more than six times as likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job.
  • Nearly twice as many employees at companies with subpar customer experience are looking for a job compared with employees at companies with good customer experience.
  • Seventy-five percent of employees in companies with significantly above average financial performance are moderately or highly engaged, compared with less than half of employees within firms with subpar financial results.

Hopefully you've bought into the need to engage employees. If so, I recommend that you master what we call the Five "I's" of Employee Engagement.

  • Inform: Provide employees the information they need to understand the organization's vision and brand values, along with how customers feel about the organization. Example: ITA Group, a business-to-business firm specializing in customer and employee loyalty, strives to communicate important messages eight to 10 times through various channels to ensure they are understood and retained by employees.
  • Inspire: Connect employees to the organization's vision and values so that they believe those matter and take pride in their jobs and the organization. Example: Hershey Entertainment tells stories about their own Service Action Heroes in company newsletters, training programs, and new hire orientation.
  • Instruct: Support employees with the training, coaching, and feedback they need to successfully deliver the organization's brand promises to customers. Example: Symantec modified its launch training and created an online program to introduce new employees to the importance of customer loyalty to the company, how it's measured, and what individuals can do to positively impact the customer experience.
  • Involve: Take action with employees when designing their jobs, improving work processes, and solving problems identified through customer or employee feedback. Example: JetBlue's executive team regularly monitors monthly employee engagement performance metrics and the airline's Crewmember Insight Team works with its Survey Ambassador Team to define action plans across the organization.
  • Incent: Deploy appropriate systems to measure, reward, and reinforce desired employee behaviors and motivate employees to give their best. Example: Safelite AutoGlass recognizes employees for their contributions to the customer experience in multiple ways. The awards include the Excellence in Service program, which recognizes any employee who delights a customer with a personalized letter from the president and CEO and points towards a gift of their choice.

Don't lose sight of your organization's greatest asset, its people.