10 Jul 2019

Build your bottom line by better employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Build your bottom line by better employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

By Arif Mubarak, CEO, Dubai Asset Management

There is nothing more satisfying for a business than satisfied customers – but what most enterprises overlook is the fact that the surest, fastest and most effective route to achieving customer satisfaction and engagement is through employee satisfaction and engagement.

Yes, happy and driven employees translate to happy customers. Studies globally show the significant impact of employee engagement on customer service and overall business performance. According to Gallup, the leading US-based analytics and advisory company, companies in the top quartile of employee engagement experience 10 per cent higher customer ratings. Employee engagement affects your bottom line and is therefore a critical area of investment. A Harvard Business Review analysis revealed that companies with happy employees had 37 per cent higher sales and 31 per cent higher productivity.

As we approach another anniversary celebration at Dubai Asset Management, I am inclined to think about what it takes for an employer to keep their people engaged.

There is no doubt that employee engagement and retention are more challenging today than they have ever been. On one hand, the evolving business environment and increasing competition are continuing to put pressure on the bottom line. At the same time, we are rapidly moving towards a world where millennials form the largest majority – at 35 per cent – of the global workforce.

This group tends to be motivated by mission and purpose, in addition to a hefty paycheck. They value opportunities to grow, give back and build on their strengths. So how do we get them to stay with us longer than the average two years that they plan to give any job?

The answer lies in a suite of initiatives, structural organisational reforms and a focus on changing behavior and attitudes.

The top-down, hierarchal structure of yesteryear corporates is out of the window. In my experience, innovation and intrapreneurship can only happen when there is active dialogue – between peers, between managers and their teams, between the CEO and managers, and so on.

Our breakfast with the CEO initiative, for example, gives executives at all levels, a safe forum to voice their ideas and concerns. In a service-oriented industry the value of such feedback is pivotal in driving the firm’s mid- to long-term strategy.

Investing in talent

As much as we talk about the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on jobs, the fact remains that organisations are yet to embrace employee education and development as a norm at the workplace. Accenture’s research shows that only a fifth of employees receive employer-sponsored training over a five-year period.

With the number of tools to access knowledge in the market, bringing employees closer to their career goals should be a top priority for companies. Through Coursera, we made over 2,000 courses available to our employees, and not surprisingly, the initiative has recorded a phenomenal 68 per cent participation.

Rewarding personnel

People spend the most part of a day at work but knowing that they can enjoy the perks of their commitment in their personal time can be a strong incentive. Companies have many options to create employee benefits, ranging from initiatives such as partnering with ride-hailing companies for special discounts, to securing special deals with fitness and wellness concepts or leisure and entertainment venues that Dubai Holding has instituted across the board.

Team-building events, office parties and corporate off-the-clock activities can often give employees a chance to forge a bond with their colleagues. These environments also tend to bring out the best in people, including hidden talents that could enhance the business.

Employee voice

The first chapter in the employee engagement rulebook is to always listen and understand. Measuring employee engagement and understanding areas of focus and improvement is essential. A Gallup survey, for example, offers a clear reference point for employee engagement strategies. Our latest exercise in this respect showed that Dubai Asset Management employees recorded an above the global average score. These results are rooted in a strong corporate culture of open communication.

If customer satisfaction is central to your business and your employees are the enablers in achieving that goal – invest in your employees. As their investment in the company grows, you’ll see the payoff in terms of a stronger bottom line.