Recently, I was lost in a world of imagining. I was imagining a world where employees were happy to head to work, the Manager’s superpower was his or her ability to create a motivated workforce and, as a result of all of this, many businesses would have capitalized on the opportunity to turbo-charge to world-class customer experience. Pipe dreaming or possibility envisioning?
As the eternal optimist, I believe that the ability to deliver exceptional customer experience is not rocket science. We’ve interacted with businesses that have cracked the code and if they can do it, then the gateway is there for others to enter and make their mark as well.
I’m preoccupied with the concern that employees and employers have not properly processed the reverse disruption that is being precipitated by the return to brick and mortar offices.
Whilst I referenced the “Great Return” in a previous article, there’s a bit more to unpack. I’m preoccupied with the concern that employees and employers have not properly processed the reverse disruption that is being precipitated by the return to brick and mortar offices. Are businesses doing only what they need to do to recover and is this a situation of focussing on the low-hanging fruit only?
By low-hanging fruit I mean environments being sanitized to perfection, desks being prepared for occupation, tasks awaiting their owners and possibly, many managers breathing a sigh of relief because they are going back to their comfort space. Management-by-sight.
If, in fact this preparation is the norm, then it’s just touching the tip of the iceberg. The deeper issue is the state of mental preparedness that will accompany the returning employee communities. Could it be that that many individuals who have returned already, as well as those preparing to return to work, may be doing so because they “have to,” not necessarily because they “want to?” Of course there are the social benefits of encountering colleagues and catching-up, as well as the “refreshing” change of scenery. But, beyond these benefits, will businesses get to know how employees “really” feel about this Great Return?
Will businesses get to know how employees “really” feel about this Great Return?
One of our clients has dedicated the next year as their “Year Of Wellness.” A nod to working with their employees and customers to really discover how the events of the past two years of a pandemic has affected their lives. We are well acquainted with how livelihoods have been affected. This client is plumbing deeper to discover how lives and mindsets have shifted.
Customers have changed and so have employees. There is widespread chatter detailing the levels of consternation that employees seem to be experiencing regarding the Great Return. Individuals have gotten a taste of what control over their time could look like and for many, it’s a desirable state, notwithstanding the juggling of personal and professional demands. Recently, a psychologist declared that appetites for pursuing work-life balance, have been reduced significantly. The new term he coined is “work-life blending,” since balance seemed unattainable and working from home seemed to have elevated the satisfaction associated with this new blending.
As employees return to the office, why not have a well-defined program that goes beyond the perfunctory “welcome back” platitudes? How about crafting a series of sessions that get to the heart of what matters to employees? Now, I’m not saying that businesses should reverse decisions to have employees return to the office, I’m suggesting that conversations which discover the issues and struggles that employees may be experiencing as they return, be included in the resettlement strategy. Just to ensure that there’s isn’t a culture that’s simmering in volatility, below the surface.
I’m suggesting that conversations which discover the issues and struggles that employees may be experiencing as they return, be included in the resettlement strategy.
Sometimes persons need simply to be “heard” and to know that their difficulties are being acknowledged. Maybe not so much to have decisions reversed, but to be a part of a circle of consideration, at the centre of which is the question, “how are you coping with the Great Return?” Just the opportunity to unpack their feelings in a safe and authentic setting, will mean a lot to employees.
So the big question is, “How will all of this unpacking and ventilation affect the quality of customer experience in a business?” Well, I believe that when an individual is blessed with the opportunity to feel that he or she matters, often, the result will be a sense of goodwill that energizes him or her to pass it on and pay it forward.
But, don’t take my word for it. Just test it.