Following the munition fired at management in my previous column concerning the value-creating role of customer service, it’s now time to look at the employee results. The results of the first two participants seem to sketch a picture of a homogeneous total set of drivers which play a role (this set of drivers influences 65% of employee satisfaction). However, there are considerable discrepancies in the underlying relationships between drivers of satisfaction.
I feel I need to warn you that this column will take a more ‘clinical’ approach. The current results leave me no other choice. Stick with me though, and the information will once again be useful…

Complex set of factors

Employee satisfaction comprises a complex set of mutually influencing factors, which have a direct or indirect impact on satisfaction. The total set of drivers (“the knobs”) are the same, but there is great variance in the relationships between the drivers in this complex set (“how to effectively turn the knobs”). If I look at the main drivers for influencing employee satisfaction, they are as follows:

– Participant 1: five drivers which all have an equally large direct impact, namely customer centricity, enjoyment, sharing information, the role of their superior and clarity of tasks (negative impact).
– Participant 2: one important driver which stands out due to its large direct impact, namely ‘growth and challenge’.

Aspects such as sharing information, the superior and clarity of tasks also play a role in the employee satisfaction of participant 2, but this is a different, more indirect role than in the satisfaction of employees in the other participating organization. The results of the following participants will show whether a central theme can be identified or whether such aspects are extremely specific per organization.

Overly fragmented tasks

One of the striking issues in both cases is the negative impact of clarity of the function. In all other surveys concerning employee satisfaction not conducted in the contact center setting, clarity of an employee’s tasks and responsibilities has a positive effect on their satisfaction. In this setting however, clarity of the tasks (participant 1) and clarity on how to deal with problems (participant 2) had a negative impact at both participating companies! Employees at both organizations indicated that there was great clarity regarding their job and the tasks required of them. Too much so. The reason for this is probably that the employee’s tasks have been subdivided to such an extent that there is no longer any leeway for them to find their own solutions to problems. It is doubtful whether such task fragmentation will in the end save enough costs to offset the negative effects on satisfaction and therefore eventually on the commitment and turnover of employees.

Intrinsic customer centricity

The second striking issue is the role played by the employee’s customer centricity. This customer centricity also influences satisfaction (participant 1) and the perception of growth and challenge (participant 2) among employees. This customer centricity is a measure of the almost intrinsic motivation and need by employees to help customers, and is therefore very telling with regard to your recruitment policy (the employees of both participants scored extremely well). Should a contact center recruit non-customer-centric employees, it will of course be very difficult to satisfy them, let alone to connect and retain them. This is therefore a very useful tool to be used as a testing instrument (brief questionnaire) during job applications, for example


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