Whether you work in insurance, banking, energy or telecoms, complaints from customers are inevitable, sometimes things will not go quite as we had planned. At Davies we have hundreds of complaints specialists who handle thousands of these complaints on behalf of our clients every week. We understand that every one of these complaints is an opportunity to recover a customer relationship and to identify opportunities for improving the way that our clients work and to shape their future service offering for the better. The same principles are just as true for some of the most important complaints a business can receive – those from its staff.
How do employee complaints arise?
Complaints from staff arise when there are issues with the infrastructure of an organisation; dissatisfaction with business decisions, workplace bullying, unachievable deadlines and excessive amounts of pressure and stress impede the functionality of the entire business if staff can’t work under these conditions.
Usually, employee complaints can be resolved internally with a clearly defined process through your HR function with the resolution forming part of a company-wide incentive to stop another employee experiencing a similar issue, thus improving the organisation. However, failing to recognise or acknowledge the importance of a complaint can leave a company not only open to the complaint to reoccur, but also liable to a range of employee welfare infractions. Therefore, just like you would with a customer complaint, it is important to learn from an employee’s complaint and make changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again to that employee or any other.
Just as with customer complaints, they can be harnessed as a force for positive change, however failing to properly anticipate and prepare for issues puts your employees’ welfare at risk and impedes productivity. One of the ways to get the positive change that occurs from complaints is to pre-emptively create an internal campaign based on improving employee satisfaction. The bottom line is, that improved staff satisfaction means higher levels of productivity and a better quality of work – and fewer complaints!
We have drawn together seven tips that can help any organisation improve employee satisfaction:
Tip 1: Measure employee satisfaction in real time
Annual surveys don’t cut it, by the time information is aggregated the key messages are often lost in an overarching score that is either out of date or doesn’t provide actionable insight. We are strong advocates of using digital tools that obtain personalised feedback and share this with local leadership in real time – those who are best placed to do something about it.
There are a range of tools available for tracking and monitoring employee happiness and satisfaction. Davies’ Technology team have developed a simple app called CheckIn, an intuitive and simple tool that provides visibility of employee happiness and allows management and leadership to track this in real and to identify and address problems as soon as they arise.
Using an app like CheckIn, an intuitive and powerful app that provides visibility of employee happiness and satisfaction – including those working from home – allows leaders to see fluctuations in satisfaction and address problems as soon as they arise.
Through a simple interface, CheckIn prompts employees to choose which emoji best reflects their current happiness level each day. This provides a mechanism for alerting management or HR if there are any issues for concern. Unlike traditional pulse surveys, CheckIn is a continuous tool that allows every employee to CheckIn at any time. Based on the feedback on people’s wellbeing through the app, leaders can adjust their working methods and ease the pressure on their staff.
As with any tool, this is only as effective as the people using it however, our own experience has been enormously positive. I have been impressed with how open people are about their happiness, furthermore it has proven a great way of identifying other issues e.g. the sad face accompanied by “I can’t get my email to work” provides an opportunity to pick up a broader range of issues too.
Not only will leaders have a clear view of employee satisfaction, but employees will gain confidence in the company just by the fact that use of this software is being encouraged.
Tip 2: Drive transparency and communication
Encouraging transparency and communication between management and staff is one of the most important initiatives to roll out whilst the majority of non-essential staff are still being encouraged to work from home. There are clear benefits to this in terms of productivity and project management, however, a level of transparency and openness in addressing uncertainty or unclear elements – as much as anyone can during the Covid-19 pandemic – will go a long way in reassuring your employees that there is a bright and stable future on the horizon for the organisation and for them.
Nothing leads to dissatisfied and disillusioned employees quicker than feeling uninformed of important decisions in the organisation that affect them too. Weekly or bi-weekly company-wide newsletters with relevant updates will help combat that feeling and encourage employees to relax and trust that you have their best interests in mind.
Equally, this system should be encouraged to work both ways: employees should be allowed to voice concerns either through your selected digital employee support tool like CheckIn, or via discussions with their line manager. Satisfaction comes from knowing their opinion matters.
Tip 3: Minimise micro-managing
Striking a balance between not providing enough support and micromanagement can be extremely tricky, especially when close-knit teams are suddenly required to work from home and adapt to new means of communicating. Management should be encouraged to allow employees to manage their own time and use a light hand when it comes to reminders on deadlines etc.
Satisfaction comes from a job well done, not a job done through over-bearing management and stressful time constraints.
Tip 4: Reduce the bureaucracy without compromising quality
A similar initiative to the previous one, reducing the amount of bureaucratic red tape in your processes can alleviate significant amounts of frustration amongst staff. Can approval processes be simplified? Could that meeting actually have been summarised by an email?
Finding ways to streamline or automate processes will improve the speed of project delivery and improve employee satisfaction by reducing the impression of wasted time.
Tip 5: Promote a culture that supports wellbeing
There are lots of little things that employers can do to promote wellbeing during working hours, from simple encouragement to take a full lunch break, stretch and get away from a computer screen, to creating a company-wide fitness incentive scheme. Some are more feasible than others; employers planning on allowing staff to come back into the office could think about creating a cycle to work scheme which encourages fitness and reduces potential exposure to Covid-19 on public transport.
Employers allowing staff to continue to work from home for the foreseeable future will need to think a little more outside the box.
Mental health is just as important as physical health and cultivating an open and empathic culture will make your staff feel more supported if they experience any difficulty in this area.
Tip 6: Invest in a social company culture
What many people forget is the importance of company’s culture in promoting employee satisfaction. It’s likely your employees will spend more time with each other, whether on conference calls or email to coordinate on tasks and projects than they will with their friends and even families over the course of a week. That’s why it’s important to create an inclusive and comfortable company culture and encourage social activities that allows colleagues to relax and have fun together. This could be as simple as spending a few minutes at the beginning of a call to talk about what they’ve been doing on the weekend or organising virtual coffee dates or after-work refreshments at the end of the week.
People who like their colleagues work better together and will enjoy coming to work.
Tip 7: Recognise effort and results with rewards
Employees will want to work hard and hit or exceed targets if there are known rewards to be had. This can range from career progression and promotion, to perks and benefits, which whilst working remotely could include early finishes on a Friday, to surprise deliveries of baked goods or even a book or tools that support their professional development.
Not only will there be the clear incentive to reap the rewards for your staff but knowing that their hard work and effort will be acknowledged will go a long way towards increasing employee satisfaction.
Employee satisfaction is, undoubtably, a game changer
I passionately believe that finding ways to improve employee satisfaction is one of the most effective ways to retain staff and valuable skill sets. Improving employee satisfaction not only impacts the lives of your staff but also improves the infrastructure of your organisation too, without the traumatic effects of forcing change due to complaints.
If you are interested in integrating CheckIn with your existing employee wellbeing programmes, please get in touch.