Trying Times for Employee Engagement

These days are either the most trying time for encouraging employee engagement or the best we could expect.

With so many people trying to work remotely, many businesses need extra ways to communicate with the rank and file, and this might present a prime opportunity to try new things.

We make a big deal of engaging the customer, and in most CRM circles engagement outranks simple customer experience. Authorities like Paul Greenberg have made a crusade of engaging customers — and rightly so.

An engaged customer is far more likely to have a positive impression of a brand or company than one who merely had a good experience. Yet it must be said that the accumulation of good experiences is one way to get to engagement.

We simply have to acknowledge that there are many and varied experience types other than getting a customer happily involved with a new purchase.

CRM’s Communication Chops

What of the employee though? You can say that customer engagement drives revenues and profits simply because engaged customers buy more over time and require less handholding. You can say something similar about employees.

Roughly speaking, employee performance is a function of employee engagement, alignment and competency. Alignment refers to how well employees understand their roles in the organization and execute them competently — a function of how well the organization communicates through all channels. Competency involves training and simply having the tools to do the job.

All of this is underpinned by an organization’s ability effectiveness at transfering knowledge of its goals and vision to employees. This brings us to the present and CRM, especially the modern CRM that has come of age over the last five years.

Now is a great time for CRM to show its stuff. CRM — with its fully articulated suite of voice processing, natural language processing, business intelligence, analytics and machine learning — is better positioned than ever to help organizations communicate to employees and customers.

Time to Innovate

To be sure, perhaps most organizations using CRM — which is basically all of them or all that would need to — are one or more revisions behind. Any business that’s still using a CRM system of record won’t be benefiting, but that’s a great reason to start thinking of upgrading as soon as this economy-wide coronavirus detention session ends.

As we’re looking at a frozen economy and wondering how to thaw it out, buying new CRM systems might not be top of mind for businesses desperately trying to figure out how to make payroll, but it should be right up there with payroll and taking your next breath.

Why? Because businesses need better approaches to encouraging employee engagement during good times as well, and they need to boost alignment and competency now. Not only that, but with cloud computing there’s no need to take an excessively huge bite of the apple.

Some vendors, like Zoho, are offering their products free in an effort to help all tiers of customers weather the economic storm and to help promote the communication that’s so important to alignment and retaining competency.

There’s plenty of slack in business right now, and I’d bet there are more than a few employees who would be happy to trial some new CRM products to fill some boring time. Trialing new CRM now might give your organization the tools it needs to come out of this downturn armed with the things it needs to take off.

Even if your preferred CRM vendor isn’t offering a freebie or any special deals, it’s a reasonable assumption that it would if given the proper prodding — like just asking.

In another context, some politician once said we shouldn’t waste a crisis, which meant in a time that needs innovation, innovate.

So, take a look at your to-do list and if there’s anything on it related to enabling employees to do things better, faster, and with less, consider more CRM — especially as it applies to them.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Denis Pombriant

Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can't Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. Email Denis.

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