The idea that happy employees makes happy customers is not a new concept, but it is starting to get enterprise-level attention and traction. Thinking about the kind of service you might receive when an employee is unhappy makes a very clear case as to why this idea is gaining momentum. My first job was working at McDonald’s as a cashier, and I could not have been more excited and proud to have a job as a 14 year old. Earning money at that time was the ticket to freedom and fun as I would no longer be dependent on begging my parents for funds anytime I wanted to go out. My enthusiasm for my job never waned and it kept me happy and excited all the time, literally.
An employee’s attitude can have a significant effect on the customer experience. A McDonald’s cashier has the power to transform a $5 transaction for a burger and fries from a relatively routine experience into something pleasant and fun, or into a nightmare. The workplace environment influences the level of engagement employees subscribe to. If the atmosphere or tools are frustrating or not helpful, the employee level of engagement is at risk of being substandard. A new software category introduced by Gartner called Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) refers to the suite of products that helps companies manage and improve employee engagement.
Workforce Engagement Management
The types of products that make their way into this category will be supplemental to established set of products under the Workforce Optimization (WFO) umbrella. The difference simply being that WEM products will have their primary focus on employee engagement, while WFO products focus on the overall quality and efficiency of an operation. After all, you wouldn’t tell your employees that you were going to “optimize” them, rather, you engage them. WEM product types might overlap with WFO, but they will have different characteristics in that they have the employee engagement at the center of the design and functionality of the product.
The primary areas of focus for WEM include:
- Onboarding and recruitment
- Quality evaluation and improvement
- Time management
- Task management
- Employee recognition
- Voice of the Employee surveys
Who needs WEM products?
Any company that aims to improve their employee engagement would benefit, but WEM will be most valuable to organizations with large employee groups that have the same/similar skill set (i.e. contact centers, fulfillment centers, food operations, etc.). Operations like these often struggle to manage and maintain the desired level of interaction with their employees.
Create happier employees
As this evolution of the WFO category matures, further innovation will help companies deliver a better experience for their employees. Although I eventually had to move on from my first employer, I continue to be a satisfied and engaged employee. It is exciting to know that there is a movement in place to focus and engage employees in new and better ways.