It's that special time of year again, when we stock up on cards, balloons, chocolates and flowers for our beloved. But will you be celebrating one of your most important relationships this year - your rapport with your frontline employees who represent the face of your business and deliver on your customer service objectives?
And even if you love them, how can you tell that they love you too?
1. They can’t bear to be without you
Figures vary from report to report but, according to research from Mercer, employees who feel engaged in their work and able to be their authentic selves in the workplace are four times more likely to stay within that organisation.
In fact, simply providing a thorough and welcoming onboarding experience creates more loyal employees, reducing staff turnover by 25% and slashing the early retirement of good employees by 50%. Ahhh, together forever!
2. They send love letters
Research shows that companies - especially larger multinational organisations - who give their employees a voice (both within and outside of the organisation) not only have higher employee engagement but, as a result, tend to be more attractive to potential recruits and customers, and more financially successful to boot.
According to a study by Medallia Institute, 61% of employees believe that, if the company listened to the feedback of them and their team, it would improve business results. However, a third of frontline employees are convinced that their company is either “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to act on any feedback given.
3. They’re happy to receive your gifts
One of the easiest ways to let your employees know that you love them is to tell them - regularly.
According to Gallup, employees should receive recognition four times per month on average to remain engaged in their organisation; that recognition can be in the form of cash incentives or points, but it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture of love to achieve results.
The UK’s Shop Direct, for example, introduced an online peer-to-peer recognition program that gave all employees £5 per month, (£10 for senior leaders) to reward to colleagues who they thought went above and beyond. Shop Direct reports that the average number of recognitions has risen to 8 per month; in turn, employee engagement has increased by 17% and profit has grown by 43.6%. The gift that keeps on giving.
4. They feel just as passionate as you do
When McDonald’s introduced its 'Velocity' customer-obsessed growth plan, they were looking for ways to win with consumers - to deliver a fast and efficient digital experience while also serving up moments of human connection.
It turned out that the answer lay with their employees who were just as passionate about serving the customer as head office was, but was just lacking the tools to succeed.
“They said: make tools familiar for me - give me the same sort of digital experience I would expect outside the workplace,” explains chief people strategy officer, Paula Coughlan. “They said: enable me to give feedback on things that could work better to solve customer problems.”
5. They talk about you with their friends
While a flat organisation in which employees feel they can quickly and easily feedback to senior management is a sure-fire sign of a lovey-dovey organisation, so is a workplace where employees love talking and sharing with each other.
That’s exactly what has happened at cosmetics giant Rituals since they introduced Speakap as their internal communications platform of record.
“We use Speakap to share principals, instructions, feedback, learnings and our standards of performance,” reveals senior shop manager for Rituals in New York, Stephanie Nickens.
“I can get tips from my fellow colleagues and ensure that all my customers are happy,” agrees New York shop manager Al Sienkiewicz.
6. They’re committed to you
When Heathrow Airport was experiencing something of a crisis - uncertain ownership and management with employee engagement at an all-time low - they refreshed their whole employee value proposition (EVP), which ultimately resulted in what Heathrow senior managers called “the deal”.
“Instead of compensation, this was built around a psychological contract,” says people director - expansion at Heathrow, Becky Ivers. “This is our commitment to you; these are your commitments to us. We’re very clear about what we’ll provide but also what we want back.”
7. They don’t ask for much in return
And talking about EVPs, when you get yours just right and love is in the air, then your employees actually won’t ask for much in return.
CEB Global reveals that companies who offer an attractive EVP can pay lower compensation while acquiring 50% deeper talent acquisition reach, decreasing turnover by 69% and increasing new-hire commitments by 29%.
8. You’re just better together than apart
Ultimately, like all the best relationships, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly why it works but you simply achieve more together.
In "Creating the Best Workplace on Earth" for the Harvard Business Review, Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones state : “Companies with highly engaged people outperform firms with the most disengaged folks - by 54% in employee retention, by 89% in customer satisfaction, and by fourfold in revenue growth.” A marriage made in heaven.
If those figures don’t make you love your employees this Valentine’s Day, then you might just be destined for a lonely life of high turnover and low engagement.