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Company Culture and Customer Service

How did United Airline's Company Culture Contribute to the Incident This Year?
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Company Culture and Customer Service

There have been countless views of the YouTube video of the United Airlines incident that happened in April: passengers had boarded the over-booked flight; a United crew needed to get to another city to work that flight, so four passengers were asked to give up their seats. One man elected not to cooperate and was forcibly removed from the flight – and the whole thing was captured on video. This incident has created a firestorm of controversy with everyone weighing in on the source of the problem.

How did United Airline’s company culture contribute to this incident? To be fair, United’s employees did not drag this customer off the plane - a security officer removed the customer, but United Airlines has been taking the flak for their policies that set the stage.

Granted, air travelers are not always the best examples of good behavior. People may attempt to board with more or larger carry-on items than allowed, try to move to empty seats in an upgraded section and behave as though flight attendants are there only to serve them rather than to ensure the safety of the passengers. Rational people understand that the flight attendants are not responsible for the weather or potential mechanical failures, yet they take the brunt of the frustration when delays occur.

Every customer-facing employee will encounter bad behavior at some point. The company’s brand and reputation is at risk when employees don’t respond perfectly in every situation. Since everyone now has the potential to capture every interaction on video, how do you prepare your employees for this type of scrutiny?

We know that engaged employees are invested in the company policies and act according to the corporate culture. In your company, is the “customer always right”? Do employees have the autonomy to solve problems to the customer’s benefit at the company’s cost? Are employees confident that management will support their decisions?

Employee recognition programs help to define and reinforce corporate culture and increase employee engagement. They show by example the behaviors that are valued and rewarded. People instinctively pay attention to what is measured, so if you have an effectively structured employee reward and recognition program in place, your employees understand exactly what is expected. When employees are involved in making the rules, they are more engaged and invested in the process. This is true when designing employee reward and recognition programs as well as developing general company policies.

When companies take care of employees, those employees take better care of their customers. A workforce that is recognized and rewarded is more likely to be highly engaged and will treat customers the way in which the company wants them to be treated: consistent with the culture of the organization.

Employee Engagement Advice

5 Signs Your Employee Recognition Program is Getting Tired
Thursday, April 20, 2017

5 Signs Your Employee Recognition Program is Getting Tired

Human Resource professionals continue to seek the Holy Grail that is employee engagement and company culture. Both are challenging to define and measure. Because human beings are involved, the target is constantly moving. Employee recognition contributes to increased engagement. If your employee reward and recognition program is not aligned with your employee engagement strategy, it might be time for a tune-up.

Here are 5 signs that your employee engagement program is getting tired:

1. It’s all about the “prize”.

Today’s employees are not motivated by pins, plaques and certificates that might be seen by their co-workers. In many cases, they’re not even working together in an office environment. An effective Employee Reward Program intentionally accommodates the work environment. The program process and experience should be as motivating for the employee as the reward.

2. The program is in print and/or online but is not mobile.

Consider these statistics: 80% of internet users have a smart phone and 34% of smart phone users ONLY read their email on their mobile device. Apps constitute 89% of mobile media time (with the other 11% on websites). If you do not have a mobile app for your Employee Reward Program or it is at least mobile responsive, it’s time for an update.

3. Management is recognizing-by-rote.

The Manager is not connecting the dots between the accomplishment and the recognition. It feels to employees as though management is rotating through the roster to recognize the next employee in line. For an Employee Motivation Program to be effective, the employee (and the manager!) must understand why they are being recognized and rewarded.

4. Your Employee Recognition Program stands alone in your department or division.

Employee recognition, reward and engagement programs all help to build and reinforce a positive employee culture. Integrating the program across the organization ensures consistency and allows you to communicate and reinforce company values.

5. You’re not rewarding employees immediately enough.

Gone are the days of rewarding employees for hanging around for 5 years. Today’s employers need staff performing at their highest levels. A professionally-designed Employee Recognition Program will clearly outline expectations and immediately reward employees for reaching objectives. Employee reward and recognition programs play a critical role in employee engagement strategies. Once you decide which behaviors contribute to improved performance, reward and recognition programs are the levers that help you achieve those changes.

Working with an experienced partner to help design a program that optimizes the current technology as well as the latest motivational theory will ensure that your Employee Recognition Program will provide the highest return on your investment.


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