The outbreak of COVID-19 didn’t just alter consumer behavior—it’s also had a major impact on the employee experience. Once the pandemic was announced, essential workers across all industries were forced to pivot overnight and adjust to new operational procedures. On top of that, employees then had to deal with the emotional stress that comes with putting their own health and safety on the line every time they go in to work.
Organizations that give associates ways to provide feedback—particularly during these unprecedented times—will set themselves up for a more successful transition as operational guidelines continue to shift.
As you continue to evolve your experience management (XM) strategy amid COVID-19, remember employees are often your best source for gaining key insights. Be sure to evaluate your employee experience (EX) solution to ensure it provides these 3 key elements:
1. Ongoing feedback: Pulse surveys allow organizations to quickly pivot and asses priorities as situations—such as COVID-19—rapidly evolve. This isn’t just a tool to solve immediate issues—it’s also a way to prepare and plan for the future.
Pulse surveys should be kept short and strategic. We recommend proactively querying employees on topics such as:
One example of how restaurant brands can optimize pulse surveys is through strategizing drive-thru or curbside pick-up operations. With COVID-related restrictions keeping customers from dining in restaurants, many brands have had to pivot in order to provide alternate options.
Implementing a pulse survey to get feedback from the staff on how these new procedures and processes are working will help identify gaps in operations so you can adjust your plan and provide a more seamless experience for customers.
2. Immediate connection: You already know an effective close-the-loop system is key to resolving customer issues and driving loyalty. This is no different when it comes to your employees. If they have something to say, they need to be heard.
Give employees direct access to your support center and implement an immediate response process. Pulse surveys are important, but sometimes the most crucial insight comes from unsolicited feedback.
A voice of the employee (VoE) solution provides an open, 24/7 platform for employees to share feedback and concerns with leadership and help your organization:
3. Celebration alerts: Every customer interaction with your brand is impactful—even those that don't require an urgent resolution. When good things happen, it's important to share that with your team as well. Celebration alerts highlight exceptional customer service, notifying managers when a customer is highly satisfied and mentions an employee by name. This recognition helps reinforce loyalty-building behaviors and enhances field engagement with the program.
Especially in today’s challenging climate, these acts of recognition are a great way to boost morale and drive employee engagement. Sharing these stories of success with field teams also provides a great example of high service standards other employees can strive for.
Make employees feel heard + supported
Communication with your employees has never been more critical. Your EX solution should equip you with the tools you need to best manage the impact COVID-19 has had on your employees and provide real-time feedback and faster issue resolution.
Above all else, it will show employees that you care enough to listen and that you have their back. They need your support now more than ever and to understand their service is appreciated.
As operational guidelines keep evolving with COVID-19 and beyond, SMG will continue to report on customer and employee experience trends and what organizations can be doing to protect these experiences. For the latest coronavirus-relate content + best practices, check out our COVID-19 resources.
Charles Cornwell | GM, Employee Engagement