The Ballad of the Voice-of-the-Employee

By: Emily Markmann

May 9, 2013

The most critical component of a company is its people. Not products, not fancy branding, not endless amounts of funding (although that helps), but the people. Employees are the heart and soul of an organization; they are the best sources of ideas and are often the first line of interaction with customers. There is certainly a correlation between employee engagement and positive business outcomes like talent retention, customer satisfaction scores, and innovation. But despite this, few businesses have successful Voice-of-the-Employee (VOE) programs.

Turn that Ballad into an Aria – Listen to and Hear what They Have to Say

Employee engagement focuses on the contributions that individuals make to the organization, as well as on the personal satisfaction they experience in their jobs. The more individuals feel that they contribute to the success of the company, the more satisfaction they feel. The happier they are in their positions, the more likely they are to engage positively with peers, management, and customers.

A motivated workforce is vital to a business, yet challenging to achieve given cutbacks, salary freezes, and layoffs. Consider these statistics from a Gallup Poll on employee engagement in the U.S.: 29 percent of employees are engaged; 54 percent are not engaged; 17 percent are disengaged. Organizations have their work cut out for them to bring detached workers back into the fold. Businesses must give employees every opportunity to be heard.

Create an Intelligent VOE Program … and Improve Your Customer Experience Along the Way   

Traditionally, organizations use conventional tools to gauge employee attitudes, but they are limited in the type of data they can analyze and they don’t measure sentiment – only telling part of the story.

The next generation of employee engagement – Intelligent Employee Engagement – is the use of sentiment and text analytics technology to create a centralized, holistic process for intelligent listening, analyzing, operationalizing, and measuring of the VOE. When done correctly, an intelligent VOE program increases employee motivation, productivity, retention, AND the bottom line.

An added benefit is that a VOE program can benefit the Customer Experience (CX). Engaged employees are critical components of a successful CX program. Employees typically raise issues weeks to months ahead of customers and can get organizations to provide a positive CX proactively rather than reactively.

As the market becomes even more competitive and the cost of doing business escalates, retaining happy, empowered employees is a priority. Capturing the intelligence contained in employee feedback can make all the difference in maintaining a positive and productive workforce while limiting turnover. And the fact that it can improve CX initiatives as well is reason enough for making intelligent employee engagement a top priority for your organization.

My colleague, Melissa Pippine, VP of Marketing, recently wrote about VOE in an article published in Biz2Community, where she dives into the subject in much more detail. Plus, she shares a real-world story from one of Clarabridge’s clients who adopted a VOE program and realized some pretty amazing results. Give it a read!