Walmart’s Pay Increase Will Probably Lower Costs

Walmart recently announced that it plans to raise wages for more than 100,000 of its managers and employees in specialized departments. Why would the “everyday low prices” retailer add a ton of new costs to its ongoing operations?

I want to explore a hypothesis that this move will actually lower Walmart’s long-term costs. I know it sounds counter-intuitive; how do you lower costs by spending more? The answer comes from understanding the Employee Engagement Virtuous Cycle.

Temkin Group's Employee Engagement Virtuous Cycle

As you can see, a more engaged workforce can drive even better financial results. One of the reasons is that engaged employees are much more productive, they’re willing to work harder. While compensation is not the key motivator for engaging employees, it’s hard to engage employees who don’t believe that they are being fairly compensated.

As you can see below, 59% of employees who believe they are appropriately compensated are highly likely to do something good for the company even if it’s not expected of them, compared with 45% of employees who do not believe they are appropriately compensated.

TGVirtuousCycle

This move by Walmart will certainly get a lot more employees to believe that they are appropriately compensated. Think about how much value (and cost savings) those employees can create by doing good things for Walmart. I’d bet that it will more than cover the costs of the pay raises.

The bottom line: Sometimes you can save money by paying your employees more.

Temkin Group’s Engage Employees Challenge

logoJoin Temkin Group’s Engage Employee Movement and help raise the bar on employee engagement. We’re giving out $1,000 for innovative ideas, because great CX requires engaged employees.

Report: Activating Middle Managers to Drive CX Change

1505_ActivatingMiddleManagers_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Activating Middle Managers to Drive CX Change. Here’s the executive summary:

It’s hard to get any group of employees to change their behavior when their managers are still reinforcing old processes, measurements, and beliefs. Middle managers show up in organizations under a variety of titles, but regardless of the descriptor, they are the ones who execute plans, lead teams, and direct collective efforts to produce results. Because of the importance of these responsibilities, Temkin Group made “Activating Middle Managers” a key strategy in its change model, Employee-Engaging Transformation. In this report, we examine five categories of best practices for successfully activating middle managers in organizational change efforts: Involve Middle Managers in Shaping the Change, Engage Middle Managers in Goal Setting, Train Middle Managers on Key Skills, Provide Middle Managers Tools to Engage their Teams, and Connect Middle Managers with Customers. In this report, we also describe the critical role that senior leaders must play across all of these strategies.

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The report contains details on 21 best practices across five categories:

1506_ActivatingMiddleManagers21BPs

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The bottom line: You can’t drive change without activating middle managers.

Report: Engaging Millennials in the Workplace

1503_Millennial Engagement_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Engaging Millennials in the Workplace, which provides five employee engagement strategies for younger workers. Here’s the executive summary:

Common estimates predict that the Millennial generation—those born between 1980 and 2000—will make up 60% of the workforce by 2020. As with each previous generation, this group of employees brings its own set of expectations, attitudes, and approaches to the job, which creates both challenges and opportunities for the organizations that employ them. Temkin Group research found that compared to other generations, Millennials desire opportunities to learn and advance their careers as well as opportunities that allow them to be creative and work flexible hours. To engage Millennials more effectively in the workplace, companies should deploy five strategies across Temkin Group’s Five I’s of Employee Engagement. These five strategies are: Expand Job Descriptions, Create Connections, Make Work Matter, Allow For Flexibility, and Develop Millennial Leaders. We also added a checklist to help HR departments drive these five strategies across their core processes.

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Here’s an overview of the five strategies:

1503_MillenialStrategies

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The bottom line: Engaging Millennials is no longer an optional focus.

Report: Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2015

1502_EEBenchmarkStudy15_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2015, which is our annual analysis of U.S. employees. Here’s the executive summary:

We used the Temkin Employee Engagement Index to analyze the engagement levels of more than 5,000 U.S. employees. We found that although employee engagement overall has increased over the past year, engagement levels still vary by organization, industry, and individual. Companies with stronger financial performances and better customer experience have employees who are considerably more engaged than their peers. Our research also shows that out of all the industries, the construction sector has the highest percentage of engaged employees, while the transportation and warehousing sector has the lowest. We additionally found that large companies have a lower percentage of engaged employees than smaller companies do. On an individual level, our research shows that frontline employees, high-income earners, and males tend to be more highly engaged. Given the significant value of engaged employees, we recommend that companies improve engagement levels by mastering our Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.

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This is the fourth year that we’ve released this study (see 2012 study, 2013 study, and 2014 study). Here are the results from the Temkin Employee Engagement Index over the previous four years:

EEBenchmarkOverview

Some of the other findings from the research include:

  • The number of highly and moderately engaged employees in the U.S. increased from 55% last year to 57% this year.
  • Compared with disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are 2.5 times as likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends, more than twice as likely to help someone at work even if they don’t ask for help, more than three times as likely to do something good for the company that is not expected of them, and more than five times as likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job at their company.
  • Seventy-seven percent of employees in companies that have significantly better financial performance than their peers are highly or moderately engaged, compared with only 49% of employees in companies with lagging financial performance.
  • Companies that outpace their competitors in CX have 50% more engaged employees than those with CX that lags their peers.
  • Ninety-one percent of highly engaged employees always or almost always try their hardest at work, compared with 67% of disengaged employees.
  • 25- to 34-year-old employees are the most engaged group while 45- to 54-year-old employees are the least engaged.
  • Senior executives are 50% more likely than individual contributors to be highly or moderately engaged.
  • Of the 15 industries measured in the study, construction has the highest level of engaged employees while transportation and warehousing has the lowest.

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The bottom line: There are a lot of employees who can and should be more engaged.

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2015

1501_LessonsInCXExcellence_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2015. The report provides insights from 8 finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2014 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which is 98 pages long, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we chose eight organizations as finalists for Temkin Group’s 2014 Customer Experience Excellence Award. Finalists are Activision Customer Care, Aetna, Crowe Horwath LLP, Dell Inc., EMC Corporation, Texas NICUSA, The Results Companies, and TouchPoint Support Services. This report provides specific examples of how these companies’ CX efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses. We also highlight their best practices across the four customer experience competencies—purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. At the end of this report, we have included all of the finalists’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Watch Temkin Group webinar about this research.

Here are some highlights from the finalists:

  • Activision Customer Care. Activision demonstrates its commitment to creating great game player experiences in a multitude of ways, such as emphasizing the use of player feedback to identify improvement opportunities. Activision combines this dedication to listening to its players with a willingness to redesign significant interactions. For example, it revamped its “Contact Us” page to include ambassador chat and callback scheduling, which resulted in higher satisfaction and lower effort for customers.
  • Aetna. Despite being in an industry undergoing tremendous change, Aetna is focusing on its 2020 vision to make the company 100% customer-centric. It has implemented many changes to help achieve this goal, including providing service over the phone and investing in text and speech analytics to better identify customer pain points and improve the behaviors and skillsets of its call representatives. The latter effort has already resulted in reduced repeat calls, improved accuracy, and a higher Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Crowe Horwath. With a client engagement score towering 33 points above the accounting industry average, Crowe Horwath is seeing the pay-off of its efforts to deliver an exceptional client experience. These efforts include establishing a firm-wide governance model and measurement scorecard, implementing a closed-loop voice of the customer program, incorporating customer journey mapping to uncover moments of truth, and engaging employees through training, client-driven CX recognition programs, and an employee ambassador program.
  • Dell. Dell’s CX efforts start with an emphasis on listening to and engaging with customers and employees. Dell enlists different groups from across the company—including engineering, marketing, sales, support, and digital—to make improvements to the entire customer journey. As a result of this work, Dell has opened 16 solution centers—which gives customers a place to experience solutions—and has provided proactive support over a wide variety of social channels, simplified Dell.com for consumer and business users, and implemented more than 540 customer innovation ideas.
  • EMC Corporation. The Total Customer Experience (TCE) program at EMC works across the enterprise to enhance the company’s customer experience by listening to customer feedback, analyzing data, and taking directed action based on that feedback and data. The program also raises awareness of how every person at the company impacts customer experience. As its CX efforts have matured, the TCE team has evolved to take on more challenging tasks; its projects now include predictive CX analytics, measuring its partner experience quality, and optimizing the experience across many different customer segments and solutions.
  • The Results Companies. To support its work as a business process outsourcing provider, The Results Companies uses its own unique operating model called CX360, which allows for continuous business process refinements that improve the customer experience. Built on three pillars—people, knowledge, empowerment—CX360 has helped the company ensure that its 8,500 employees around the globe remain focused on CX. The operating model has also contributed to Results’ strong growth in new clients and year-over-year revenue.
  • Texas NICUSA/Texas.gov. Texas NICUSA provides support for Texas.gov and implements technology solutions for Texas governmental agencies. It serves over 50,000 monthly site visitors and 300 state and local governments. Its three-tiered multi-channel customer service approach includes a general customer service Help Desk (phone and online), a Service Desk to support governmental agency needs, and a group of Technology Subject Matter Experts who can provide escalated assistance to either citizens or agency employees.
  • TouchPoint Support Services. TouchPoint Support Services streamlines support services within healthcare facilities. The company’s business goals, known as Top of Mind Objectives, guide the work of its 6,800 associates, helping them to find inefficiencies and improve patient satisfaction, associate engagement, safety, unity, and budget compliance. Touchpoint uses many methods for aligning employees with these objectives, including special training for managers and frontline employees, coaching from dedicated customer experience managers (who visit sites regularly), and associate recognition programs.

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If you enjoyed this report, check out Lessons in CX Excellence, 2014 and Lessons in CX Excellence, 2013.

The bottom line: There’s a lot to learn from these CX Excellence Finalists.

Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Creates Fan-Centric Culture

I recently had the opportunity to hear Derrick Hall, CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, speak at the Arizona State University, Center for Services Leadership (CSL) Compete Through Service Symposium. Hall was extremely passionate about customer experience. His goal: “Treat our fans, employees, and players better than any team in sports.”

Hall’s perspective as a senior executive was so refreshing that I scheduled a follow-up interview. The call started with some baseball talk (I confessed to being a passionate member of Red Sox Nation) and included a brief interruption by Tony La Russa, the Diamondbacks’ Chief Baseball Officer. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the conversation.

CircleOfSuccessDiamondbacksHall joined the D-backs in May 2005 as Senior Vice President, Communications, was named president in September 2006 and CEO in January 2009. He proudly points to the core operating framework he adopted called the “Circle of Success.” It describes how the Diamondbacks organization needs to focus on five things:

  • Performance (on the field)
  • Community
  • Culture
  • Financial efficiency
  • Fan experience

You can tell a lot about a person’s true priorities when they are faced with difficult decisions. Last year was a very tough season for the Diamondbacks, winning the fewest games in MLB. It would be easy for Hall to blindly focus on the team performance. But Hall is so committed to the culture, fan experience, and community items that he told me that the organization was cutting baseball payroll this year instead of cutting those other items.

I asked Hall about the connection between baseball operations and the rest of the organization, which is an area that I’ve seen clearly split-up within other professional sports teams. Hall told me hated places that he had worked where there was a sense of “us” and “them.” Hall lets players know that they are part of the broader organization and many of them show up with their families for team holiday parties and barbecues. Hall also actively encourages players to improve the fan experience. He sends hand written notes to players thanking them for signing autographs during batting practice.

Hall talks about his “one fan at a time” philosophy. He explained that there is a lot of competition for fans’ attention, and many things they could do instead of going to a Diamondbacks game. So he wants to be aggressive at winning and retaining every fan. That’s why he implemented a customer service policy called FAWTSY (Find A Way To Say Yes). The organization quickly responds to every voice mail, text message, and email, viewing every complaint as an opportunity to improve. The team also assigns people to proactively reach out to every season ticket holder and holds focus groups with 20 season ticket holders on every home stand.

Culture & Innovation CenterDespite the focus on fans, Hall made it clear that “the fan doesn’t come first, employees do.” He told me that if employees feel respected and taken care of, then they will treat the fans the way that the organization wants them to be treated (I couldn’t agree more, see our Employee Engagement Resources).

The Diamondbacks use several mechanisms to engage employees. Instead of celebrating people leaving with going away parties, the organization starts employees on the right foot with arrival parties. Hall also holds a “President’s Roundtable Lunch” with 13 to 15 randomly selected employees every month. The first Friday of the month the team holds a session over lunch called “On the Couch with D-Hall,” where Hall discusses what’s going on with the team in the format of a late night show.

Hall takes culture so seriously that he renamed the front office as the “Culture & Innovation Center.” The Diamondbacks have won a lot of awards for the quality of their work environment. According to the Diamondbacks website, the organization was named by Yahoo! as “the best workplace in sports” and named the “Most Admired Company for Workplace Culture” by AzBusiness Magazine and BestCompaniesAZ for the seventh consecutive year.

Hall sets the tone for his organization. He told me “I like to thank every one of my ushers with a hand shake and a hug” because he wants them to feel important. He sends the game day staff notes and letters and mentions them by name in the team magazine. He also doesn’t believe in watching the game from a private box, unless he is hosting someone like the commissioner. He likes to sit with the fans and shake their hands and listen to what they have to say. He tries to get to any fan that is hit by a ball to make sure they are okay, then gives them his personal card. And when he sees trash on the ground, he does what he wants all of his staff to do–pick it up and throw it away.

What does Hall see as his next “big thing” in fan experience? Creativity in technology. He envisions a fan experience that blends the best of two worlds: the comfort and information watching the game at home on a large screen TV and the excitement of seeing a game live in the stadium.

I’m not surprised that Hall was named as the “Best Boss” in sports in 2013 by TeamWork Online.

The bottom line: Customer-centric organizations need leaders like Derrick Hall.

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