Why It’s High Time We Forget About Employee Engagement

Customer Satisfaction
Businesses exist to do only one thing – “Make Money”. Even Non-profit organisations need constant cash flow to reach their target. So how does a company become profitable? The answer lies in the making both employees and customers happy. Lot of research have been done in this field and we can safely say that both of these are linked. Here are some of the studies that prove this:

  • A study conducted by Washington State University says that customer satisfaction is directly connected with employee satisfaction and customers give utmost priority to their financial success.
  • According to Journal of Services Marketing,  employee satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction.
  • As per a study done by Bain & Company, employee behavior & attitude is one of the primary components of customer satisfaction. Loyal and satisfied employees are efficient in delivering the best product and service to customers.

Traditionally companies have tried to run various employee engagement programs with the hope that they would result in low attrition rate and eventually result in better customer service. So businesses deploy incentive programs, create social groups, organise team outings, buy foose ball tables and do much more.

Employee Engagement

Employee Enagement

Gone are the days when companies just created a place where employees needed to work. In the modern age employees hold the power to choose the employer and the competitive digital age has left companies to fight with each other to get the best talent. Now companies are vying to create a place where people would want to work.

While the traditional approach listed above generates employee engagement,  it has a tendency to create engagement in only specific set of employees and leave the disengaged in solitude. The problem lies with the way we look at engagement. For example: companies run various incentive programs like granting special privileges to the Employee of the Month, fully paid holiday trip to the Most Productive Employee, stock options with vesting period and the widely used commission based compensation for sales reps. It doesn’t matter what kind of incentive the company is providing – these programs tend to become mundane over the period of time, as they induce a temporary compliance from the employees. The moment incentive is gone, the behavior also changes and people are back to their original self. Incentives can not change the attitudes that drive our behaviors and they are certainly not capable to of creating a long lasting commitment.

Is there a relationship between the average employment tenure of 3 years in a startup and 4 years of vesting period with one year cliff?

It’s time to concentrate on employee experience instead of employee engagement.

Employee Experience

cultivating-happy-customers-29-638

It is all about focusing on the complete life-cycle and covering all the touch points – starting with how employees first discover and apply for an opportunity at the company and ending with their departure. This is a much needed change in the mindset. There is a reason why employees are called internal customers and it’s time companies start treating them as the same.

The first thing that we need to do is look at the way we operate the business, create policies and deal with customers from the employee’s view point rather than just thinking of ways to engage employees with the organisation. It goes a long way to understand what employees actually value the most and what exactly matters to them.

In order to have a significant impact, employers will need to find different ways to connect to each employee and truly integrate personal growth with the growth of the company. Studies show that a significant chunk of employees who have not been adequately onboarded or trained tend to quit their organization within the first year. Short multimedia rich training courses have proven to be highly effective in engaging employees and creating a platform from where they can add value to the company.

In addition to this, conducting eNPS, checking out the reviews of the company on sites like Glassdoor can also give you direction and help you measure the employee experiences. Then the company can go on to transform the part that needs enhancement, introduce one minor changes or add several small experiences in the employee lifecycle. It varies from organisation to organisation – while Google is engineer’s playground and the work may not always be tied to business outcome, at Amazon everything that an employee does is closely associated with customer benefit.

Removing the mental barrier to treat employees as customers and providing a fulfilling employee experience has become all the more important with the advent of new age tech. It has become easier for recruiters to poach employees simply by connecting with them via LinkedIn. Platforms like Upwork, Uber, Postmates, Etsy, Lyft, Airbnb have already given people the choice to earn a living in a non-traditional way. So focusing on employee experience is the way to go, if companies want to make sure that their employees give them a long-term commitment.

Examples

Four Seasons

Four-Seasons-Hotel-Guangzhou-Street-Level

Earlier in Four Seasons Hotels whenever a customer complained about the room, the housekeeping team used to first connect with the manager before taking any action. That was a major problem, as the customer would be expecting swift resolution of the issue. And this led to longer response time resulting in frustrated customer. Four Seasons empowered their lower level employees by allowing them to judge the situation and comp the room immediately. This is type of authority to take decisions at different levels of the organisation can be a great strategy.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods considers “team” as the supreme driving force. They have built self-directed teams who frequently meet to resolve issues and recognize individual contributions. As a company they believe in the following -“open book, open door and open people practices”. Employees have been given free hand to select new team members for a four-week observation period. To join as a permanent employee, new employees must get green signal from the two third of the team members after the trial period. Apart from this, full-time employees get additional benefits like health insurance, a 20% discount on merchandise and extra cash by distributing the departmental savings among themselves. Their team-based and team-first culture fosters loyalty and accountability for each another, which finally translates to customer satisfaction.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has started releasing the insights about the jobs that the prospective employees are applying for along with the time period for which that opportunity has been open and number of applications they have received. They have also re-written majority of the job description in just plain, vanilla English without any legal and marketing tone. This is indeed an important step towards setting the right experience even before people get into the whole hiring process.

Conclusion

Any company that delivers world case customer experience, delivers great employee experience as well. Critically analyse your business strategy through the eyes of your people and make it a priority to empower them. Everything that the employee comes across constitutes the employee experience – right from the food in the cafeteria, the technologies used in the work to the office environment. The whole idea is about providing an atmosphere of empowerment that leads to wholesome job experiences along with traditional benefits. At the end of the day let’s just think about one thing – are we providing the type of employee experience that will allow our people to deliver the best possible customer experience?

TeamWave HRMS

G Suite vs Office 365

G Suite (previously called Google Apps for Work) and Microsoft’s Office 365 offer similar set of productivity tools. Which one should you choose for your small business in 2019?

Plug: TeamWave – Simple CRM, Project Management & HR Software for G Suite

1. Cost and Commitment

G Suite has straightforward pricing with two plans: $5/user and $10/user (monthly)

First plan offers:

  • Company email addresses (name@company.com)
  • Video/voice calls
  • Integrated online calendars
  • 30GB online storage with option to sync and share files
  • Online documents, presentations and spreadsheets
  • Easy to create project sites
  • Security settings and admin control panel
  • Support via phone/email (24/7)

Second plan offers unlimited storage with vault:

  • Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 members)
  • Advanced admin control panel for Google Drive
  • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
  • Google Vault for eDiscovery across emails, docs and chats
  • Searching and exporting to different formats
  • Email archiving
  • Retention policies for messages
  • Option to place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes

Office 365 has complex pricing plans:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials  ($5.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Business  ($8.25/user/month)
  • Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/user/month)
  • Office 365 ProPlus  ($12.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1 ($8.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3 ($20.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E5 ($35.00/user/month)

Without going to the detailed offerings of each plan, we’ll check out the comparable plans from Office 365 and G Suite:

  • $5/user/month plan offered by Google and $5/user/month‘Business Essentials’ plan offered by Microsoft
  • $10/user/month ‘Unlimited’ plan offered by Google and $8/user/month ‘Enterprise E1’ offered by Microsoft

Office 365 Business Essentials will cost $5/user/month with annual subscription, where as the monthly subscription will cost $6/user/month. Essentially you’ll save $1 user/month with G suite. Office 365 ‘Enterprise E1’ will cost $2 less than G Suite Unlimited.

2. Email

Although both Gmail and Office 365 offer clean interface, the major differentiation lies in the way emails are organised – Gmail lets you apply multiple labels to an email and Office 365 has classical folder structure to categorise emails. In terms of storage space, Gmail offers 30 GB (across Gmail and Drive) and Microsoft offers dedicated 50GB inbox in addition to 1TB storage. Microsoft’s Enterprise E3 ($20/user/month) offers unlimited storage.

3. Applications

Microsoft offers desktop versions of their products along with cloud based apps. You’ll be able to install the full versions of Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook etc. on your laptop/desktop and work offline.

Google apps were developed from scratch only for cloud-based collaboration. For example, Google Docs lets users make permanent changes in the file and provide feedback on the content in the “suggestion” mode (helps the author approve the final edits). Here are some of the advanced functionality offered by Google as part of the latest update:

  • Machine intelligence in Google Calendar to quickly find a time when invitees are free
  • Natural Language Processing in Google Sheets to
  • Machine intelligence in Google Docs to automatically recommend related topics to learn more and insert images
  • Dynamic layout suggestions in Google Slides
  • Better file management and granular content ownership with a focus on team in Google Drive

4. Video Call

Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer video conferencing solutions via Hangouts and Skype respectively. Here are the

  • Most important thing to note here is that Microsoft has not yet fully integrated Skype with other apps offered by Office 365 and Yammer.  But, Hangouts has tight integration with other Google apps like Docs, Calendar, Maps along with social networks like YouTube
  • Skype Translator can help you communicate in 8 languages for voice calls (near real-time), and in more than 50 languages while instant messaging
  • The maximum number of participants allowed in Hangout is 50, where as Skype has 250 as the upper limit

5. Third-party Integration

You’ll be hard pushed to find apps these days that don’t claim to integrate with G Suite. Google’s integration with CRM, productivity and customer service software means you have many options. For example, TeamWave (Project management, CRM & HR software for small business) is fully integrated with GDrive, Google Hangouts, etc.

There are some very popular productivity apps that do not have integration with Office 365 because Microsoft is not perceived as developer friendly (in comparison to Google)

6. Security

Office 365 comes with Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – a new email filtering service that provides additional protection by targeting specific advanced threats like unknown malware and viruses, real-time, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs.

Google uses its robust machine learning capabilities to detect suspicious logins and block most advanced types of spam. Note that Google also automatically scans every email attachment before a user downloads it in order to prevent spread of viruses.

7. Compatibility

Microsoft files can be uploaded to Google Drive, but a lot of features won’t be supported by Google and formatting will be lost as well. G Suite Sync for Outlook can sync your mail, contacts, calendar events, Outlook notes, and tasks between your Google profile in Outlook and your G Suite account in the cloud.

You can download Google Drive files (docs, spreadsheets, slides, etc.) to your desktop and easily edit them with Office apps.

8. Support

Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer 24/7 phone support in English and depending on the country, language can change. While email support is available for both products; Google provides additional support via live chat. You can also access forums to seek clarification, give feedback and request additional functionality.

9. Storage Options

All of the plans offered by Office 365 come with 1TB storage for each user, where as Google’s starter plan gives 30GB. Note that Google considers email storage as part of the 30 GB quota.

But, if you go for the G Suite Unlimited, storage-wise it’ll offer better solutions in comparison to all the plans offered by Microsoft. This will be really helpful if your company handles large audio/video files.

Bottom Line

If you are a small business (1-50 people) then go with G Suite.

Reasons to choose G Suite:

  • File storage: G Suite’s unlimited plan provides better value in terms of data storage
  • Scalability: You’ll be able to add unlimited users (the ‘Business’ plans by Office 365 have maximum limit of 300 users)
  • Collaboration: Google apps were built with a strong focus on collaboration
  • Usability: G Suite apps are easy-to-use and the loading time is also less in comparison to Office 365
  • Multi device: If your business uses various operating systems and devices, then Google is a better choice
  • Integration: Majority of third party apps offer native integration with G Suite, as Google has traditionally been developer-friendly

pablo.png

Workplace – Facebook at Work Review

workplace

Facebook’s foray into cloud-based enterprise software has started with the launch of a service called Workplace (previously known as Facebook at Work). After 2 years of private beta testing, this communication and collaboration software currently has more than 1000 companies as customers (RBS, Starbucks, Renault, etc.). Facebook is also accepting applications from companies that are interested in using this service at Workplace website. Read on to find out if this will be a good fit for your business.

Plug: TeamWave – CRM, Project Management & HR Software for Small Business

1. Value Proposition

The primary advantage for Facebook is its familiarity. For any enterprise SaaS app, one of major challenges is user onboarding, as users find enterprise sofware complex to use in comparison to consumer software. But, in case of Facebook people are already familiar with the product so the learning curve will be minimal. That said enterprise software requirements are quite different from consumer apps’ requirements. Here are two significant benefits that Wokplace offers:

  • Companies will be able to reduce or do away with internal collaboration tools like intranet, telephony systems, video conferencing and distribution lists.
  • Companies will be able to ingrain transparent and simplified communication at all levels by truly embracing digital and mobile.

Let’s now go through the core functionalities offered by Workplace.

Groups

These are similar to the Facebook groups present in the consumer app. In the enterprise setup, groups can be formed on the basis of locations, departments (sales, marketing, logistics, etc.) and wtithin these groups users will be able to share updates.

Collaboration with External Companies

Workplace lets you collaborate with external companies via ‘multi-company groups’. Basically you’d create a group that will be shared with multiple companies and users will be able to share information that needs to be, but at the same time keep other information as private.

News Feed

The news feed will show the posts created by the employees.  For example, a designer could share her work in a group and ask for feedback via comments.

Work Chat

This is the enterprise version of Facebook messenger. It’ll help users quickly connect with team members and share updates, files, etc.

faceook-workplace-messenger

Live Video

Most of the customers of Workplace have requested for live video streaming feature. It helps users stream live to everyone in the company right from the mobile phone. For example, employees of Eimskip (a shipping logistics company) can now connect with their ship crews using Live video.

Security

Workplace offers enterprise grade security features like single sign-on (SSO) and secure identity management. Customers retain ownership of the data their employees post into Workplace, and have the option to export that information. Apart from that Facebook follows third-party industry standards set by organisations like Cloud Security Alliance.

2. Pricing

Facebook believes that it can keep individual employees engaged with the product, so it’s betting on a pricing plan that charges companies according to “monthly active user” instead of charging a flat rate per company, says Workplace director Julien Codorniou. Facebook has also deployed progressive pricing – more the number of active employees, lesser is the per user subscription fee.

workplace-pricing

Workplace is free for non-profit organisations and educational institutions.

3. Partnership

Workplace has two types of partners:

  • Service partners guide the customers while adopting Workplace for their organization. Deloitte Digital, Edelman, CSC, TBWA are some of the prominent names among the service partners.
  • Identity partners (G Suite, Microsoft Azure, okta, one login and PingIdentity) help companies securely set up and manage deployment.

4. Customer Profile

In a recent interview, Workplace director Julien Codorniou said that Facebook’s support for widely distributed teams is providing great value to big banks and retailers supporting dozens if not hundreds of satellite branches and offices. Royal Bank Of Scotland’s 100,000 employees have signed up for the service and in India, Yes Bank has onboarded their employees. Yoma Bank in Myanmar will use Workplace by Facebook to replace fax machines and newsletters.

The top five countries using Workplace are India, the US, Norway, UK and France.

Although most of the current customers of Workplace are multinational companies or large enterprises, we do believe that it can be valuable for small businesses as well.

5. Competition

Workplace competes with other collaboration apps on various fronts. The ‘Feed’ feature is similar to Convo, Salesforce Chatter, and Microsoft’s Yammer. The Messenger app competes with internal communication tools like Slack and HipChat and the live video feature could compete with Skype.


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