Just last week one of the nation’s largest health care providers made headlines when they raised the hourly pay rate of their lowest paid employees - the same employees who are on the front lines servicing their customers every day.
Expecting employees to address the complex health care concerns of their customers when they face the same personal challenges outside of work, raises the question, why don’t more employers practice what they preach?
Understanding and addressing the personal challenges facing employees often has a meaningful and impactful return on the company’s bottom line.
While it’s unrealistic to expect all employers to increase the pay of their customer-facing employees, there are some benefits to engaging internal employees in the same way they are expected to engage with your key customers and clients. Some considerations for employers include:
Rewards: A variety of different rewards, both monetary and non-monetary, is important to satisfy today’s workforce. Non-monetary rewards, such as a hand written thank you note from a C-level employee, are low cost and are an effective way to motivate employees. Reward and recognition programs increase engagement and have been shown to yield 21% higher retention rates.
A People Oriented Culture: Given that most people spend more time at work than they do at home- creating a collaborative and open environment can cultivate a sense of belonging and personal empowerment for employees. Designing and situating a work space that facilitates communication may empower employees to feel more comfortable interacting with each other and with the leadership team.
Mindfulness: Taking time to understand the external challenges that face employees and making an attempt to address those challenges, will enable employees be more mindful at work. Being mindful can improve mental as well as physical well-being, ultimately leading to better overall employee health.
Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would want to be treated”. Or in other words, practice what you preach. Working to ensure employees are treated with the same ideals that they are expected to uphold when interacting with customers is key to reducing turnover, increasing sales, and growing the business in more ways than initially thought.
Like most things in life, you get out what you put in. So, even if it’s verbally acknowledging employee contribution, taking time to have a conversation to get to know a colleague, or re-evaluating employee pay, it’s essential that the message communicated externally is echoed just as strong internally.