Engagement – There Is No Such Thing As Bad Press

One Worth Coming Back To

One of the things we talk about in Custerian is to avoid starting a story, process or journey – anything in fact – part way though. That’s why we are keen to understand the context of any project. In short why we have been engaged.

Context is one of those things that is worth coming back to again and again. It’s very obvious that if you join something partway though, you might not contribute effectively… But this quick missive is not about context, although this opening paragraph is building one….

Emotional Engagement Is What Drives Us All

Gallup are great at looking at a wide range of things. This blog was started by the mention of their employee engagement survey in an article which gave a 13% figure for Colleagues being actively engaged at work – You can read more here. There is also a great launch pad into the world of engagement according to Gallup here.

The reason why I wanted to write this piece is there is a bit of a tendency to throw engagement around as the next big thing, when in fact it is, and always will be THE BIG THING. I fear we sometimes forget this, hence the opening paragraph about joining part way though, and that is a potentially very bad thing.

By the way 13% is terrible – after all these are colleagues who touch a brand and represent it day after day. But how many people actually start their day looking at or trying to improve Colleague engagement? Not many I guess, but they spend a lot of time dealing with the downstream effect of having poor engagement.

Engagement Is The Focus Of Nearly All Interactions

Hopefully many of you get this, but what led me to post in it is that if you don’t, or have started further along the line, then please do go back and make improving Colleague engagement one of your ‘first thing I think about and do’ things every day.

We actually launched Custerian on the premise that building Colleague engagement in the brand, so they could serve it to Customers with less effort, would produce massive improvements in efficiency & effectiveness (It does by the way).

The Only Model You Will Ever Need – Possibly

The reason for this is captured in my very simple marketing ‘How To Get More Out Of Things Model’ I have used this – or version of it with the words slightly changed – for 30 years. Hundreds of times a day you will be doing this across numerous interactions. Making instinctive split second decisions whether you can trust the other person, business, product etc to do what it says it will.

This is why you should be spending time on emotionally engaging your colleagues in your brand – starting with recruiting the right ones. It’s impossible to write a procedure to be more instinctively trust worthy. Oh and in case you are thinking this is less relevant because we live in digital age, have a read of this Waterstones.

Or as we keep saying – often whilst developing and delivering Digital Service Strategies – In an increasingly digital world, it’s the human interaction that we still crave, and will make the most difference.

By the way, have you noticed when anyone says “trust me” you instinctively don’t – The reason for this is Trust is the feeling you build though engagement, it can’t be pushed onto you. Hence phrases like “Trust is earned”. It is one of the most basic human emotions and with good reason, not so long ago trusting someone might have been a mater of life and death.

It still stuns me that spending time ensuring all the Colleagues in an organisation understand how they can personally contribute to the growth of the brand, by which I mean doing something that company is really great at, that customers want, is viewed with scepticism or as something that is new and innovative.

I say this because most organisations have spent a significant part of their budget – typically between 5% & 35% of turnover – trying to emotionally engage Customers in their brands for years. So as my dad used to say, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that doing the same with Colleagues is a no brainer.

Remember Metrics Matter

Now we are massive fans of measurement. After all you won’t change what you don’t measure and we do spend a lot of time creating balanced scorecards and RAG Dashboards. All of which are necessary to keep a check on the really important handover and Customer critical factors and to provide momentum for constant service iteration.

We have also picked up the tide turing against NPS, but I suspect that is mainly because it is used out of context (there is that word again) and so is beginning to fall out of favour. Also most things are cyclical, it’s just a question of how long the cycle is.

But if you can only measure one thing, measure how happy and engaged your Colleagues are. Ideally this is a compound metric (which simply means one made up of a couple of variables) and you should start using it during recruitment to make sure you pick people who share the same values as your brand.

But most importantly – for me at least – try to make this a given, not an initiative.