In a highly competitive market, organizations are strategizing on how to differentiate themselves and be the first choice for customers. When products and value options are similar, what can make or break an organization is the ability to provide “exceptional service.” I firmly believe that employee engagement and the discretionary effort that engaged employees bring to the workplace is the “secret sauce” to the recipe that creates exceptional service. Employee engagement cannot be faked and it cannot be learned from a manual. Employee engagement is often most noticeable when it isn’t there – when it is apparent the employee serving you would rather be doing practically anything else. I can guarantee that no disengaged employee has ever delivered exceptional service to a customer.

When I think of the exceptional service the extreme example on my continuum was an experience I had at a hotel in Hong Kong. I had just returned from a day’s journey to a tourist hot spot on a neighbor island and the concierge asked me how my day went. I casually babbled that although it was an incredible experience – in my rush to catch the departing tour bus I had left my favorite sunglasses, which I had saved months to purchase, in a remote monastery. The next day my sunglasses were sitting in my hotel room. No note, no claim of the insane effort and resources required for their return. There are hotels with better facilities and locations but I wouldn’t consider any other offering.

Identifying the ability to create brand loyalty is one of the key reasons employee engagement surveys are common initiatives that most organizations conduct these days, they are necessary for any workplace that wants to achieve and retain a highly productive, competent, and motivated workforce. Employee engagement surveys are a great way to take the pulse of your organization and get data on improvement areas. It’s important to do an engagement survey and not a satisfaction survey.

Key differences between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction tends to be:

Employee Satisfaction is generally how content the employee is with their jobs and usually refers to compensation, workload, flexibility, etc. These things are important, but employee satisfaction is only a part of employee engagement. In fact, some “satisfied employees” are people your organization might be far better off without.

Employee Engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work. Discretionary effort is the “secret sauce” in the recipe of exceptional service it is the effort that goes above and beyond the employee’s job description or minimum expectations for performance. Most companies measure employee engagement and try to drive positive engagement because it leads to increased customer satisfaction, higher revenue and higher profits in many cases.


Michelle Smirnoff

 

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