Engaged employees are key to innovation and exceptional customer experience

For most companies, employee culture and experience is an undeveloped asset, despite being such an important predictor of customer engagement and sales growth

For most companies, employee culture and experience is an undeveloped asset, despite being such an important predictor of customer engagement and sales growth. While the focus tends to be on the application of new technology and products, it is the people, not the technology, that drives innovation and customer connection.

The demands and expectations of today’s diverse, multi-generational, mobile workforce means that companies need to invest in their customer’s experience–and that starts with building a more engaged, employee-centric work environment to drive successful business outcomes.

Our latest The State of Salesforce Report found a direct correlation between the employee experience and a company’s profitability; when employees find tools like Salesforce easier to use, companies are almost three times more likely to see cost reductions and twice as likely to see revenue gains.

For Bluewolf, employee culture is the backbone of our company, driven by a desire to elevate both business and individual growth. Our culture is created by collaborative and talented people, and now backed by 100+ years of IBM innovation. We engage our employees and strengthen our company culture through five main strategies:

Building a diverse and collaborative workplace

Employee experience involves cultural transparency; we actively seek employees who affirm and contribute to it. We proactively source diverse talent to ensure that our projects are staffed by a variety of employees with different skillsets and ideas, and actively work with managers to ensure that diverse perspectives are well represented.

Additionally, we encourage collaboration in both local and global teams, and provide opportunities for employees to work on-the-ground with others in more than 30 global offices. Our Melbourne and Sydney offices alone consist of a variety of employees from USA, Mexico, India, Brazil, Philippines, China and South Africa. By building a solid employee foundation on diversity and sociability, you cultivate creativity, better problem solving and innovation in your workplace.

Creating an environment of constant learning

Companies who invest in their employees’ future success see major returns in productivity and engagement. We empower employees by investing in hands-on programs that focus on key technical skills which customers demand, as well as facilitation skills, design-thinking methods and presentation skills that enhance the customer experience.

To ensure our employees remain on the cutting-edge, we offer world-class professional and technical training, both in the form of in-house sessions, tuition reimbursement and Salesforce certifications. We’ve hosted best-selling authors to conduct workshops, conducted hackathons and let our own employees create and teach a range of professional development courses available to the whole company. More than just skill training, our programs enables our employees to deliver better customer experience, while improving their own experiences by expanding their knowledge base.

Providing employees with engaging and modern tools

Beyond professional development, it’s important to provide employees with tools to make their jobs easier and more effective. We design, build and innovate our employee experiences to improve employee performance and efficacy.

In today’s digital age, no one is doing all their work at a desk anymore. At Bluewolf, we think ‘mobile’ and enable our employees to use mobile tools, data and applications to keep them up-to-speed and on track. For instance, we use Salesforce Chatter to communicate and collaborate across global teams–on desktops or while on-the-go. While a company must approach their business strategy through the customer, you cannot successfully drive digital transformation or create unique customer journeys if your employees are unmotivated and bogged down by old technology.

Leveraging gamification to influence and stimulate employee behaviour

We also champion gamification as a method of increasing employee adoption and engagement. We achieved this by developing our own gamification program called ‘PRIME’ to encourage a culture of helpfulness, using ‘badges and points’ to recognise performance and collaboration, and rewarding top users for their outstanding participation. We gamify the process of giving positive and constructive recognition, which is tracked within our HR platform and helps in coaching and training employees, and when employees contribute to amplifying our brand.

Positive recognition feeds into employee engagement. Employees who feel valued and appreciated show it through their work and customer interaction.

Taking risks

We have created a workplace where employee input is highly regarded and empowers employees to take action, show initiative and make decisions, and award appropriate actions that advance our company’s goals. Since joining forces with IBM iX this year, our focus has been to maintain our entrepreneurial culture by encouraging our employees to experiment in their areas of expertise and passion, play to their own individual strengths and express their opinions.

By enabling all employees to have a stake and a voice, and showing them how their work contributes to the overall customer experience, you can cultivate a culture of engagement and innovation, as well as retain talent.

Aniqa Tariq is the managing director of Bluewolf Australia and New Zealand.

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