Tag: Improving employee engagement

Alignment and 4IR


The fourth revolution

Over the coming weeks, this blog will explore the relevance and importance of organizational alignment against the landscape of the new paradigm we refer to as the Values Economy. Starting us off this week is the fourth revolution and its potential impacts in an evermore and ever rapidly advancing techno-society.

4IR

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the banner name covering advances being made in areas like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, biogenetic engineering, and the internet, to name a few. More simply put, 4IR covers the way in which our world is moving from a purely physically industrial planet to one in which the lines between digital, biological, and physical technologies are overlapped.

Data is king

With the advent of social media, businesses and organizations found a main line directly to their customers consciousness. Now all our decisions are tracked across the internet, every time we search for something on Google, like a photo or make a comment, that data is collected and fed into algorithms that in turn offer more targeted ads, based on what we like to see and our predictability of making a purchasing.

The amount of data being collected is enormous, even in some instances the time to the micro-second we spend paused on an ad or picture while scrolling, and factors into what we are likely to be shown next.

Individual alignment

At one level, this might be of great benefit for advertisers and data gatherers, and even for the general public in terms of accessibility to desired content. However, the conversation might be different if we begin to centre it around the concept of values. It has never been easier for organisations to reach us with their messages, but to what extent does their influence apply to the things we believe in and value?

There is proven power in brand alignment. When we feel aligned with an organization’s values, we are more likely to spend with them, talk about them and remain loyal to their brand. But are we aligned to the authentic reality of that brand image? Or merely to a carefully tailored presentation that targets us cleverly and, perhaps, individually.

Do you see your favourite brands in the same way as somebody else and is it possible that you falsely assume that the same picture is being shown to everybody in a consistent way when it might not be?

Putting Data to Use

Use of data isn’t always an insidious erosion of our personal freedom. Often, people accept the data being gathered as the price they pay for better and more intuitive services. They trust and feel aligned to that organization’s purpose. Businesses like Netflix for example, spend millions on data collection and algorithm generation, to offer better content choices to their customers.

This kind of personalisation means almost everyone is individually seeing the kind of content they are likely to watch without having to do a lot of scrolling and searching for it.

Developing features like ‘continue watching’ also help develop customer experience by making us feel more in control of the platform, and thus able to drop in and out at our leisure; if it makes us feel good, we are far more likely to do it. It serves Netflix too, in the billions of dollars in savings they achieve through retaining loyal customers. For some of Netflix’s competitors. where content is not as accessible and intuitive, this is a serious disadvantage.

Customer Alignment and Trust

As more people become aware of the volume of data being collected about them, they begin to feel more uncertain about whether or not their trust has been put in the right places. With 83% of people believing that trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy.

‘Hard to build, easy to break.’ This phrase sums up the experience of building trust in any business or organisation. They need to be able to prove that they have the customer’s best interest at heart; that the data they are collecting is only used to tailor customer experience for the benefit of the customer, not for the organization to profiteer on.

People feel aligned with Netflix because they get offered the content they desire and are reassured their money is going back into creating the kind of content they want to see more of. This ‘trust us and we’ll keep giving you want you want’ business model has served Netflix well.

The case cannot be made the same for other organisations that make no attempt to align with their customers beliefs and values, instead choosing to push content and products on them that they don’t want or need. Or worse still use the technology to alter public opinion.

Focus

4IR is changing the world, the way we live, work, and express ourselves is shifting, as the line between reality and the online space blurs. Organizations that navigate this frontier successfully will be those that move and grow with a clear sense of shared values. Values practically applied to align with consumer and service user needs in a positive way, focusing on them as people and not as profit.

There are repercussions for developing the appropriate leadership skills and education and training systems in a world where skillset will become an increasingly transient commodity. There is also a shift from traditional organizations with fixed structures to ecosystems which are networks of organizations involved in the delivery of a specific product or service. Unexpected alliances are forged, sector boundaries blur, and long-standing strengths count for less.

SERVICEBRAND

This is where the SERVICEBRAND approach can create significant value because, irrespective of the various stakeholders, the focus remains: delivering a brand aligned customer experience through one team of brand ambassadors, supported by effective and robust systems and processes, and measurement and insight. The framework helps to keep technological advancement ‘in check’ and viewed as a support tool rather than one that takes on a life of its own.

Why Organisational Alignment with Service Partners Matters.

As previously discussed alignment looks at how well an organisation functions as whole. But how can we function in a complete and meaningful way, when most people put no stock in the power of vertical and horizontal alignment?

More organisations are connecting to the idea that vertical alignment can benefit their overall longevity and profitability. Yet, those same organisations seem to put limited stock in the idea that horizontal alignment with service partners plays an equally important role.

Vertical alignment

Vertical alignment within an organisational context, is the way resources and strategies are engaged in the same direction to work towards to the organisation’s goals, mission, or purpose. Having this kind of vertical alignment as a main focus, drives every part of the business the same way. When this happens everyone involved knows what they are contributing towards, and that their contributions are valued as a small part of a larger whole.

Vertical alignment also encourages efficiency from the top down and bottom up. Those at the top will know their front facing employees are aligned with the organisation’s values and mission. These felt sensibilities are passed onto the customer through them. In return, lower-level employees will feel valued and able to express their experiences up the ladder in a way that sees changes made to retain proper alignment. If you don’t know how your employees feel about your management, or aren’t sure if they understand your organisational values, it’s time to ask them.

Horizontal alignment

As well as aligning from top to bottom, it is also possible and important to align across all areas of connected business. Any company, organisation, or business that you work with, even if not a part of you directly, is still an important part of your eventual success. How clear you are about who you are as an organisation, and how well this aligns with the values and purpose of the people and groups you do business with, will define how beneficial and long lasting the working relationship will be.

Alignment between organisations and service providers

As well as vertical alignment, horizontal alignment is an important, if underrepresented concept. Many studies and personal opinions show, that while people are starting to understand the importance in aligning vertically, the major still aren’t considering horizontal alignment with service partners/providers as being of the same importance.

Aligning expectations

In order to find the right service partners, managing expectations and creating an environment of effective communication is key. If your organisation is not well aligned vertically, and struggles to communication its values internally, how can you hope to express yourself correctly to any service providers you may need to work with.

Money makes the world go round, but it is not the only factor that should be considered. Look carefully at who you say you are. Is it clear? Can anyone looking in immediately know who you are and what you stand for?

The same applies when considering who to partner with for services or outsourced production. Alignment won’t exist in organisations that claim a set of values that are not adhered to in all areas of business. Even down to selecting who to work with. Customers can always detect inauthentic businesses, those that claim to have a strong set of values, yet partner with organisations that don’t represent those same values at all.

Communication is key, you have to be clear about who you are and what you expect from your service partners. Once engaged by you, they will become a part of who you are. If they don’t understand what you represent, how can they communicate your brand, message and values to your customers or service users?

Post-pandemic opportunity

The pandemic has offered a rare opportunity for organisations to re-evaluate and reconsider some of their service arrangements. As more service providers realise that value delivery is just as important as service delivery.

What gets done is important, but even more so is the way in which it is achieved. Claiming to be an organisation that values service quality, who then outsources part of their offering to people who aren’t paid a living wage or trained in any way to represent the business in the right way, will always negatively affect customer relationships.

Cheaper is easier, but it isn’t better. There is a unique opportunity now to renegotiate these relationships, so that they better reflect the type of organisation you are striving to become. So that your values are understood, not only internal, but externally, across all customers and service providers.

SERVICEBRAND

Those that aren’t considering both forms of alignment are missing an opportunity to generate lifelong customer loyalty and sustainable market share, through a more consistent approach to business and organisational management.

If you are having trouble with organisational alignment, the SERVICEBRAND approach provides a framework, which can facilitate the creation of joined up approach to help you create a more aligned and thus more efficient organisation.

Values and Governance

Word Cloud with Corporate Governance related tags

Your organisation’s values are the heart and foundation upon which everything you do is built. They serve as signposts or as a compass, guiding the way to fulfilling your organisation’s mission and purpose.

When you have strong organisational values, they shape how your organisation runs and is governed, allow your employees to feel aligned and connected, and make it simpler for customers to build a bond with you, when they know clearly who you are and what values you stand by.

Values-driven Culture

Having a values-driven culture means having clear and present organisational values that enable employees to align with your organisation emotionally as well as physically. Centring your company culture around your values will bring your entire workforce together to deliver on your mission and purpose.

With 94% of executives and 88% of employees believing a strong culture at work is important in a successful organisation, there has never been a better time to ask yourself, who are you and what does your company value.

Culture can be created and driven from both ends of the employee scale. New employees don’t learn about company culture from leaflets and 5-minute briefings. They learn by observing the behaviours of the leaders and colleagues around them, especially long serving ones.

Even though it is the leadership and governance teams that decide the culture and direction of the organisation, it will be the employees that are responsible for embodying those messages and passing them on to customers through their words and most importantly their behaviour and actions.

If you want a strong values-driven culture, ask yourself; do I really know and believe in my organisation’s values? Do I behave in a way that aligns with them? Or only pay them lip service.

The most important thing to remember when creating a healthy workplace culture is that ‘do as I say’ cultures are hardly ever successful in the long term, they breed resentment and unfairness among the organisation and are a barrier to full employee alignment. When you focus on a ‘do as I do’ approach and embody your values in all you say and do, your employees and customers will recognise and reward it.

What makes for good governance?

Understanding values and why they are important can also help play a role in establishing and maintaining good governance at your organisation. There are five key considerations, that serve well as a structure within which to plan culture and behaviour going forward.

The first of these is fairness. Any organisational planning that takes place needs to frame your company values in how they affect everyone that engages with you. Planning that only considers the needs of senior management will always result in an unhealthy culture, especially when other employees taking part in the work are not represented or treated equally.

They say ‘the bad’ always rolls downhill. This kind of culture is completely toxic to an organisation’s performance. Cultures of blame and blame shifting don’t serve anyone and only hurt the relationship between different levels of employees. Take accountability for your plans and actions. If something is going wrong, don’t ask “what did they do wrong”, ask, “what did I do wrong?” Especially if you are in a position of power and influence. What could you do to better communicate the values and culture of the organisation so that failings are mitigated?

Good governance needs responsible thought and action. It requires people who are able to see the whole picture and willing to bear the weight that comes with being both a governor and a leader. Too often, governors don’t get involved at all levels. Ask yourself, when was the last time I spoke to a customer or front-facing colleague?

The last two are the hardest to find among organisation culture. Having the integrity to do the right thing, (even when it costs) and the transparency to be open and honest when mistakes are made.

The pandemic highlighted this in a dramatic way. The organisations that have been most successful at navigating these complex and unexpected developments, are those that have spoken publicly and honestly to their uncertainty.

Employees, customers, and shareholders, it turns out, all much prefer organisations that are transparent, even when faced with challenges, compared with those that would hide how badly affected they are. Publicly doing the right thing can be hard, its hard to predict how others will react, but overall being honest builds trust and allows people to feel aligned with and bonded to the culture of the organisation because of it.

What can you do to encourage the above approach as a framework for effective governance? You might have noticed that we have not referred to audit, inspection, and reporting because, whilst these might have a place, they represent a means to an end and need to be handled with care to avoid an unintended consequence (which might be the opposite of the objective!). Focus on what you can do to move away from box ticking to pass inspections, or blame shifting to shirk responsibility and move into well considered, authentic governance. Quality governance is a combination of heart and head, in that order.

SERVICEBRAND

Why not connect with us and see how the SERVICEBRAND approach can help you determine the right courses of action when the desired standards aren’t being met and transform sentiment and platitudes into real and affirmative action.

Improving Employee Engagement to Drive Business Performance

At SERVICEBRAND GLOBAL, we believe that an engaged workforce is essential if you want your organisation to thrive and be successful.

A Gallup study found that engaged employees are more productive, treat customers better, and are more likely to attract new ones. Plus, there’s a higher chance they’ll stay with your organisation than look elsewhere for employment. The study also found that companies with an engaged workforce had a 20% increase in productivity and a 21% increase in profitability. Put simply, if your employees understand how they and their jobs positively contribute to your company’s success, it means they are engaged.

So how can your company take proactive steps to improve employee engagement? We’re going to take a look at a few steps you can take to promote employee engagement to drive business performance.

Continue reading “Improving Employee Engagement to Drive Business Performance”

Successful Employee Engagement Strategies

Poor employee engagement is a struggle for most brands, with nearly 66% of all employees feeling disengaged. This has costly implications for businesses. 

Unengaged employees often lead to high turnover rates, which can severely affect your bottom line. You may be paying more money than you’d like to find new recruits and train them up. It’s also likely that your unengaged employees are not performing to the best of their ability.

Continue reading “Successful Employee Engagement Strategies”
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