Durban, South Africa

Rethinking Employee Engagement

RRS ~ Action meets insights...

Strategies don’t exist in a vacuum, they are made and actualised by people. Hard as it may be to accept, employees’ ability to translate strategy into customer value is a more critical component of strategy implementation than the strategy itself. While strategy development, being a conceptual picture of the internal and external business environment, is a prerequisite for policy development for tackling complex business situations, employee engagement, psychological safety and job security, especially in the COVID-19 era, play a deterministic role in achieving an organisation’s desired future state and goals. Strategic decisions relating to the value proposition to be made to customers, actions to be taken to outperform the competition, alliances and collaborations, negotiations with suppliers and customers etc., are therefore as good as the quality of the workforce available to implement such strategy.

Employees must be sensitised on the procedures, mechanisms and flow of activities and operations of the business. This will ultimately promote customers’ familiarity and affinity with the value proposition. It is no more rocket science, employees play a critical role in creating memorable and positive customer perception and experience. They not only enhance customer trust and confidence in products/offerings, their knowledge, skills and courtesy inherently translate to customers’ perceptions of product and service quality.

Employees are no longer an organisation’s most valuable assets, they are the only asset. The manner in which they show concern and care for individual customers’ needs and expectations, will enhance the ability of the organisation to deliver value. For example, employees determine whether or not customer expectations are met or exceeded, service is delivered on time and that accurate records pertaining to customer transactions and complaints are well-documented and processed.

Employees are responsible for proactively staying abreast of customers’ needs and responding appropriately to complaints, in line with the documented reporting procedure and measures for complaints management. Employees are responsible for providing clear communication to customers, and responding swiftly to customer requests. They are responsible for sustaining the organisation’s reputation by creating strong customer bonds and understanding the changing patterns of customer buying behaviour.

Another vital component of strategy development is the adoption of appropriate engagement and collaborative mechanisms for human resource development. This constitutes the ability to motivate and inspire employees to meet and exceed customers’ expectations. It also involves putting employee behaviour in sync with predetermined strategic goals and plans. One way of operationalising this is to keep communication lines open by ensuring transparent and proactive communication. There is also a need to promote teamwork and leverage employee reward and promotion programs. It is equally important that management take lifelong learning seriously. Having a large market share should not be an alibi for complacency. Businesses need to be flexible to change and engage in ongoing market research to better understand changing customer and target market needs.

Nevertheless, the above should be deeply ingrained in the shared values, goals, attitudes and practices which characterise an organisation. This is the era of adaption, as such, an enduring organisational culture should be subject to reviews and adaptation in order to adopt new strategies to maintain or earn corporate reputation, and leverage on new sources of competitive advantage. Above all, the captain and crew members aboard the organisational ship must possess relevant skills and experience. This is a crucial strategy implementation driver as it will not only enhance the organisation’s ability to maintain and improve ongoing customer engagement but also translate strategy into customer value.

Abosede Ijabadeniyi (PhD)

Research Director

Regenerate247 Research Solutions

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