Does Your Organization Have an Employee Service Philosophy?
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Most organizations have customer service philosophies. Examples include “Put yourself in your customers’ shoes” and “Put your customers’ needs first.” A customer service philosophy is defined as a group of shared principles that guide every customer interaction. Often, they are linked to the organizational mission, vision, and values. Customer service philosophies include references to honesty, respect, empathy, and making customers a priority.
In thinking about external customer service philosophies, it raises a question. Shouldn’t organizations also have an employee (aka internal customer) service philosophy?
While there are a few employee service policies out there, it’s really rare. The employee service philosophy heard most often is “employees first, customers second” that has been embraced by organizations like Virgin, HCL Technologies, and Alibaba Group. The rationale for creating an employee service philosophy is simple. Employees are responsible for delivering the customer service philosophy, which in turn drives the business.
It’s important to note that an employee service philosophy isn’t the same as the employee experience. While they are related, employee service is focused on the interaction and support of employees. The employee experience is the total employee journey with the organization, which would include non-interactions such as workspace design and policy development.
Here are four things to keep in mind when considering and creating an employee service philosophy:
1. Be prepared to discuss the results of a good (and not-so-good) employee service philosophy
Developing an employee service philosophy isn’t for show. Poor employee service can lead to disengagement, lower productivity, absenteeism, and workplace incidents/accidents. All of these things have a negative impact on the organization. A positive employee service can improve sales, market share, and profitability. And of course, don’t forget about better customer service.
2. Align service philosophies
Speaking of customer service, organizations align external customer service with their marketing brand. The same should apply here. Employee service should be aligned with the company’s employment brand, which of course is aligned with the marketing brand. One of the ways that organizations attract talent is through raving fans, meaning “I love the product, so I want to work there.” If internal and external customer service philosophies aren’t aligned, it will create a disconnect that can lead to turnover and loss of revenue.
3. Incorporate employee service into the employee experience
It’s not enough just to talk about employee service, companies need to show it. That’s why candidates should be asked relevant questions about their employee service experience during interviews. Employee service should be included in orientation and onboarding. All learning and development events should show the connection between service and knowledge, skills, and abilities. And, performance management should evaluate employees on their ability to deliver positive employee service.
4. Hold everyone accountable for delivering positive employee service
This adds to the conversation in number three (above) about the employee experience. Employee service isn’t exclusive to the manager and employee relationship. Employee service should be seen with every interaction – peers, managers, etc. It’s equally important to define what employee service looks like for remote workers.
Also, like a customer service philosophy, an employee service philosophy would be embraced at every level of the organization. While HR departments often “own” or are responsible for customer service training, for an employee service philosophy to be successful, it needs to be more than simply a program. It needs to be part of the business. That being said, it’s possible HR would be responsible for leading the creation and buy-in for an employee service philosophy.
In addition to the benefits already mentioned, developing and implementing an employee service philosophy can maintain or improve workplace civility. This also has a direct positive impact on the bottom-line. Once it’s established, promoting an employee service philosophy, like promoting a customer service promise, can create good will and attract the best talent.
Once you have an employee experience philosophy, put it into action with HR case management software. Learn how this technology supports a great employee service experience in our whitepaper, Understanding HR Case Management.
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About Sharlyn Lauby
Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc., a Florida based training and human resources consulting firm focused on helping companies retain and engage talent. Sharlyn sees human resources as a strategic partner - the marketing department for a company’s internal clients rather as administrative. During her 20+ years in the profession, she has earned a reputation for bringing business solutions to reality. Prior to starting ITM Group, Sharlyn was vice president of human resources for Right Management Consultants, one of the world’s largest organizational consulting firms. She has designed and implemented highly successful programs for employee retention, internal and external customer satisfaction, and leadership development. Publications such as Reuters, The New York Times, ABC News, TODAY, Readers Digest, Men’s Health and The Wall Street Journal have sought out her expertise on topics related to human resources and workplace issues.