Although having a disengaged workforce pretty much ensures that your business won't succeed, simply having engaged employees doesn't guarantee business success either. You must be able to convert the potential energy of engagement into the kinetic energy of productive work. In today's digital world, productivity is the combination of three dynamic variables:
-- Connectivity. In today's workforce, 29% of employees use at least three devices for work, use lots of apps and work from multiple locations, up from 23% a year ago. As this number increases each year, you need to reduce employees' frustration with not being able to access the company tools and resources from wherever they are whenever they need them.
--Collaboration. Employees need to easily connect to people in the organization with the knowledge necessary to solve business problems. Forrester's data shows that the increasingly mobile workforce uses email and productivity tools such as word processing and social business apps to connect to their peers, customers, and partners.
-- Content. Employees need access to all the appropriate sources of data and information in the firm on any device and in multiple locations to solve problems, make decisions and do their work efficiently. Data that is scattered among numerous internal systems and repositories must be easy to find and accessible.
3. Impact: How Readily Do Your Customers Benefit From Employee Productivity?
Customers, whether they are internal employees or external paying customers, must feel and be able to recognize the benefit of your engaged and productive employees. The temptation might be strong to focus your efforts on improving the workforce experience for people who engage with customers directly, but you need to think about how to connect all employees' work to the business mission. Firms need to ask themselves:
-- How can we improve customer engagement for all employees? Customer-facing employees -- sales reps, field support, and customer service, for example -- have the greatest potential direct impact on customer experience and satisfaction. But for those employees who don't usually engage with customers directly, the potential for positive impact on customer experience is harder to pin down. Can your back-office and other supporting employees make a direct link between their work and clients? Creating these connections often requires cultural shifts in the organization, as well as mechanisms to allow employees to contribute to customer conversations, such as ideation sessions where you solicit product feedback from workers across the organization.
-- How can our employees help accelerate processes for their customers? There are useful ideas and knowledge across any organization, which can help narrow the time to resolution for customers. Business leaders can help surface that information by reducing the barriers between individuals and information. We see vendors like Salesforce.com introducing social technologies on top of customer processes in order to allow all employees to view customer issues and provide insight for a solution.
-- How can all employees serve their customers better? Customers expect to use a broad variety of communication channels -- self-service, voice, digital and social -- to interact with your company. In the past three years, Forrester has seen an 18% rise in online Web self-service usage, a 39% increase in the use of communities for customer service, and a 43% rise in chat. Technologies that cull information from systems that aggregate information from these sources allow every employee to meet customers at those touch points and provide meaningful advice.