Engaging employees in 2021, after the upheaval of 2020, will dramatically change. Yet, what will remain consistent is the link between engaged employees and happy, satisfied customers—and profitable growth. Remote and hybrid working will continue post-pandemic. AI-driven intelligent assistants, such as MeBeBot, will be more crucial than ever in 2021–removing obstacles for the hybrid workforce.
The link between employee engagement and higher customer satisfaction and profits.
Numerous academic studies from the past decades have shown the strong relationship between employee engagement, especially among customer-facing employees and customer satisfaction. For example, a study at Sears Roebuck & Co. showed that a five-point improvement in employee attitudes led to a 1.3-point rise in customer satisfaction, which, in turn, generated a 0.5 increase in revenues.
Two years ago, Glassdoor completed a study where they compared their data on employee wellbeing and customer ratings on products and services from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Glassdoor found a strong statistical link between employee wellbeing and customer satisfaction among a large sample of today's biggest companies. Each one-star improvement in a company's Glassdoor rating corresponds to a 1.3-point out of 100 improvement in customer satisfaction scores. This relationship is statistically significant, more than twice as large in industries where employees interact closely and frequently with customers.
Improving employee engagement before the pandemic was well understood, but not easy.
In 2017, Gallop reported that 33 percent of employees at average US companies are engaged compared to 70 percent at the world’s best organizations. Companies with high employee engagement and customer satisfaction have the following traits among executives and managers:
Executives continually communicate the company's higher purpose for humanity.
Managers have a huge role to play with employee engagement in leading their teams. Managers have highly engaged teams with they do the following:
Make the company's purpose real to employees by continually aligning each team's work to the organization's purpose and strategies.
Listen with empathy.
Give continuous feedback with coaching.
Show appreciation and recognize employees.
COVID-19 has been a game changer for employee engagement and burnout.
COVID19 has changed much of our working lives with the dramatic increase in remote work. Forty percent of full-time employees are now working from home versus four percent before the pandemic. Gallup reports that 29 percent of employees working from home have a hugely different experience than before the pandemic and are feeling burnt-out. This is a significant change from Gallup's data in 2016 when the in-office employees felt the highest burnout levels. (See the chart below).
In 2020, many employees were told to go home due to the pandemic with little time to prepare. They also had the burden of taking care of children not allowed to go to school and helping them with digital learning.
AI-driven intelligent assistants will remove obstacles for the digital hybrid workforce.
As we enter 2021, Global Workforce Analytics estimates that 25 percent to 30 percent of the workforce will continue to work from home multiple days a week. Indeed, half of those working remotely will want to continue working from home two to three days a week. This will create a hybrid workforce, with some employees working in the office full time and others working remotely part-time or full time.
Technology has helped enable remote work. AI-driven technology, such as MeBeBot, will help improve this hybrid workforce's employee engagement by removing obstacles for employees at home and in the office.
The artificial intelligence and natural language processing embedded in the best intelligent assistants remove obstacles for employees in three ways:
Answering commonly asked questions of HR, IT, or Operations. Intelligent assistants free up these organizations' team members for problem-solving with employees and higher-level critical thinking tasks. With their 24/7 capability, intelligent assistants are always available and are popular and familiar, as these tools mimic consumer-facing solutions, like Alexa or Siri. MeBeBot’s customer, Epicor Software, quickly appreciated the Intelligent Assistant's impact, as hundreds of HR, IT, and Ops questions were answered (from across the globe) in the first week of usage, with a high degree of accuracy.
Onboarding. Starting a new job is stressful for everyone and even more so now, when remote workers cannot meet their team members and manager face-to-face. Intelligent assistants help new hires quickly get answers to the troubling obstacles they face by instantaneously answering their questions.
Mergers and Acquisitions. Employees going through an acquisition experience "onboarding overload," facing any new hire's common questions with the added complexity of learning how their pay, benefits, new roles, managers, and careers may change in the new company—and its culture. Our customer E2open acquired 14 companies across the globe in three years and experienced dramatic growth. After implementing MeBeBot, E2open saw a dramatic drop in the number of employee inquiries coming into the HR and IT departments.
When employees can overcome obstacles by having their on-demand questions answered in seconds, they can better focus on their work. Confident and engaged customer-facing employees can better meet their customers' needs, making them more satisfied and increasing the company's profits.
Learn how MeBeBot can work for you. Watch a demo today!