A juggernaut is described as a huge, powerful overwhelming force. Imagine, just for a moment that some of your employees were juggernauts. Imagine what that would mean to your customers. Imagine what that would mean to the future of your organization. Look out world!
Yes, organizations that enable their most important asset, their people to be juggernauts for their purpose, their mission and their strategy are well-positioned to thrive and prosper. Too often business owners and organizational leaders “control” the process of decision making, innovation and “the customer experience”. Hogwash!
The person in the corner office is likely not the one directly serving the customer, your employee is. It is your employee’s “touch” that will make a difference in that customer’s life. In turn, that customer will respond in one of several ways.
Be disappointed by the experience and decide to tell the world about it.
Feel their minimum threshold was met, i.e. satisfied and tell no one.
Feel their minimum threshold was not met, i.e. not satisfied and tell no one.
Be delighted by the experience and decide to tell the world about it.
Options A and D above will have a direct impact on the future of that business.
A real-life example of an Employee Juggernaut.
I was having a problem with my wireless speed. I did a speed test and was getting a 40Mbps read. The service I have from Comcast is 300Mbps. The issue is now narrowed to the modem or delivery to my home office from the outside. After several calls with Motorola (the router/modem) and Comcast, the ISP, a decision was made to purchase a brand new router/modem.
Upon the arrival of my new router/modem, as instructed, I called Comcast and they walked me through the steps to get it up and running. Excited with anticipation, I ran my new speed test with my new router/modem installed and …… blahhhh. Still 40Mbps. The customer service representative said, let’s keep at it. We tried several setting changes, reboot after reboot and still the same 40 Mbps readings. She said, let’s keep trying. Eventually, after two more reconfigurations and having fiddled away over 2 hours: SUCCESS!
This simple, yet impacting experience covered all of the 3 pillars of CI: Mindset, Metrics and Execution.
The real message here is that this employee, we’ll call her Linda, went above and beyond to ensure that we tried every possibility before escalating the issue. The result was option C from above: Be delighted by the experience and decide to tell the world about it.
This simple case study clearly demonstrates how vital the role your employees play in your organization. So, how do we achieve this Employee Juggernaut sensation in your business?
The Employee Juggernaut Formula
First, as the business owner/leader (yes, it starts at the top), you must embrace and understand truly how impacting your employees are in your business. When we sit back and think about it, we gain a greater perspective on the different roles employees play in our company. Who in our company directly or indirectly touches our customer: EVERYBODY.
The janitor touches our customers by conveying an uninviting or inviting environment.
The accountant touches our customers by providing prompt responses to billing questions.
The assembly line worker touches our customers by ensuring quality products.
The chef touches our customers by preparing a savory dish.
The CSR at a large ISP touches our customers by successfully resolving the problem (see above).
The examples are limitless.
When the executives of the organization come to understand that everyone in the company plays a role in serving our customers (internal or external), we gain insight into how vital a role the employee plays in the short-term and long-term success of your business.
The 3 necessary ingredients to transform your business to enable employee juggernauts are:
Hire to your Core Values
Develop a Culture that enables employees to serve above and beyond
Measure the impact of Employee Engagement
1. Hire to your Core Values
If I could offer one piece of advice for you to embrace in this blog, it is this: don’t skimp on hiring to your Core Values. The price you pay when you don’t adhere to these ardent beliefs can be devastating. Any organization worth its salt has well-defined core values. Our abridged version includes:
We consistently maintain a positive, can-do attitude with a solutions-oriented mindset.
We embrace Imagineering as a strategic opportunity in serving clients.
Training, learning and growing are linked to our existence.
We embrace a solutions-oriented mindset.
Hiring to your core values ensures that you will not have to “convince” somebody to embrace your beliefs. The time, the energy and ultimately, the conflict you will need to endure if you don’t bring those new hires with similar values will have an adverse effect on your business. Hard skills can be taught, soft skills cannot. Staying true to your core values during the hiring process sends a positive and reinforcing message to existing employees that you really care about them as well.
2. Develop a Culture that empowers employees to serve above and beyond
For many business owners and leaders, the concept of enablement is a tough pill to swallow. It requires letting go of the military-style, top-down control centric organization structure many middle-aged managers grew up in. The truth is that you cannot be “watching” employees every second of every day. A culture that enables employees to serve above and beyond requires trust, training and most importantly, empowerment.
Your message must be concise and consistent, reinforcing the purpose, mission and goals of your business. Delighted customers, mission success, strong cash flow, profits, employee growth and development must be part of that mix. Enabling employees to embrace, innovate and act on behalf of these objectives will help drive your company’s success. See Elon Musk’s memo to Tesla’s employees. Indeed a powerful message!
Developing a culture is a day-in, day-out effort. It is a commitment. At some point in this process you will see more and more that employees, through their excited and engaged own initiative are now driving the company. Your job will be to support this transformation. Now you have your army of employees “making it happen” instead of only a select few. That is when the magic happens!
3. Measure the impact of Employee Engagement
The day of the “performance review” is over. I could argue that it never, ever should have begun, but that is for another day. The reality is that what really counts in an organization as it relates to our people is that their presence, their minds, their attitudes, their energies and their efforts (some call it work), exceedingly satisfy the customer. You don’t measure that once a quarter, or half-year or full year. You measure it constantly. How you may ask? Good, simple, efficient, impacting systems!
In our blog, Impact Metrics: Why they Count, we cover the area of measuring Employee Engagement. It is not about how many widgets we produced or leads we created. While those metrics are certainly important, what’s really important is how our employees are impacting current and future results. These results are created through action, whether it be directly or indirectly with the customer or through innovation.
Let me provide you with a simple example. Is it better that Sally or Andrew can process 100 invoices in 5 hours per day or is it better that they research and identify solutions that enable them to do this same business function in 1 hour per day? 80 hours spent on identifying solutions has a payback that is very impacting. Those 80 hours of innovation will save 4 hours per day for 200 days a year, a total of 800 hours. A 10X return (in year 1). The potential is enormous and can be measured.
Another example of driving results could be that a person leading the company’s web engagement initiative finds new ways to improve lead conversion from website visitors. One approach may be to utilize the services of chatbot software like mobilemonkey.com to help enhance the user’s experience and convert more prospects to actual paying customers. Utilizing technology is a great way to move the needle and bring impacting results to an organization. Encouraging and enabling employees to seek solutions toward meeting company objectives is an ideal way to spur growth while providing the employee with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
The Employee Juggernaut environment is within your grasp. It will require rethinking the degree of the impact employees have on your business. It starts with the first of the 3 pillars of Continuous Improvement: Mindset, followed by Metrics and Execution. Bringing these powerful axioms into the management equation of your company will have a dramatic effect on your business results.
Following your core values when hiring ensures that employees are aligned with your creed. Creating an environment that encourages innovation and engagement ensures you get the very best from your employees. Finally, measuring results allows you to track progress and celebrate ongoing successes.
About The Author
David DiPerri,CPA is the founder of ProsperCI, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping businesses thrive and CI4Biz, an educational resource for business owners and leaders. You can connect with David on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.