In my previous blog post, I explained the importance of a strong company culture as a means to measuring GRC ROI, through engaged employees. Today, I’d like to talk about that a little more, focusing primarily on training. We’ve long said that ethics training must be engaging if it’s to resonate with your employees and create memorable compliance lessons that employees will take with them. As a recap, a recent article on LinkedIn, “New Generation of Business: Connecting Employee Loyalty with Customer Loyalty”, provides further support for striving to engage employees.
The article says that while engaged employees make up only 20% of your workforce, they are the key to your customer loyalty. Engaged employees are seen as brand ambassadors who believe in the brand and perpetuate its livelihood. They will strive to go above and beyond what is required of them and in so doing bring the “Wow” factor to customers. Connecting employee engagement with customer loyalty hasn’t been paid much attention, but one researcher, Michael Lowenstein, PhD, CMC, has found a correlation by differentiating between satisfied and engaged employees. Specifically, satisfication refers to how an employee feels about his/her job benefits (compensation, room for development, work environment, etc.). Engaged employees, on the other hand, are committed to the company, its value propostion and its customers.
Committed. That’s a great word isn’t it? Engaged employees are committed. As a company this is absolutely what you want, especially if it means retaining more customers. Customer loyalty is a completely different picture today than it has ever been. The new generation of consumers, Gen Y, is less concerned with loyalty and more concerned with finding the best product. “Loyalty Programs” like grocery store cards, for example, are really reward programs — consumers use the one that works best for them at the time and will switch easily. According to Lowenstein’s research, if you want loyal customers, you need engaged employees. So how do you do that?
Start by instilling a sense of pride in your employees. Your employees need to understand that the organization they work for cares and is committed to doing what is right. Engaging employees isn’t about flashy parlor tricks — start engaging your employees with ethics training that they will remember, that isn’t boring, outdated or over-the-top dramatic. Engaging ethics training may not be at the top of your to-do list, but the effects should be. An engaged employee has the power to affect your bottom line — their compliance knowledge can help you avoid undue litigation and their overall enthusiasm can make them a champion for your brand and customer loyalty.