The Power of Employee Satisfaction with Jerry Campbell

AskNicely Team

In February 2022, hundreds of leaders from service businesses across the world gathered together online to take part in the Global Frontline Experience Summit, an event we are delighted to sponsor and host again after its hugely successful first run in 2020. It was a phenomenal event with a contagious heaping of inspiration, excitement and possibility for anyone working in the customer experience and frontline service space.

If you missed the summit, brought to you by our Frontline Magic Community don't worry! All of the‍ sessions are available right here, and are just as powerful the second time around.

With a background in the US air force, Jerry Campbell learnt how to help people reach their full potential in the most extreme circumstances. Since leaving the armed forces, he has taken on multiple senior leadership roles in customer experience, for the likes of Seven Eleven, United Healthcare and Service Now. Through his experience, Jerry has learnt that employee satisfaction is mission critical. In his presentation, he shares how investing in employee satisfaction has been majorly underrated, and the repercussions of this. 

The Rising Expectations of a Great Employee Experience 

We talk a lot about how customer expectations are rising, but at the same rate, so are employee expectations. 

Jerry sheds light on a realization: people are no longer only interested in salaries and bringing home the big bucks, instead, there are other distinguishing factors for employee satisfaction at play: culture, community, purpose, meaning and connection. Jerry highlights the necessity of workers looking for places that invest in their talent, have a great culture, and have an active role in their community. 

Jumping The Gun: Pushing for Happy Customers, Before happy Employees

On the other side of the door, companies are battling for their customer loyalty and pushing employees to provide an exceptional customer experience. However, Jerry points out that what companies fail to realize is that a happy employee is needed for a happy customer. 

“This is the priority. They want their employees to drive customer experience”.

But in order to drive exceptional customer experience, two things need to change: 1) we need to focus on employee experience first and 2) we need to reframe the narrative that employee experience is a cost, as in reality, it’s a revenue generator. 

“So as CX practitioners, we need to change that mindset and change management and tell them that this is a revenue generator”. 

The statistics agree with Jerry and this new mindset, as companies with higher employee satisfaction are 21% more profitable. Ultimately, companies with better frontline employee experience make more money, but of course, you should also just want happy employees!

The Cost Related to Employee Experience 

Jerry enlightens us on the reality of what can happen when big companies don't look at employee experience as a revenue generator. 

Whether it’s a dog playing piano or a new ten minute pasta recipe, like most of the world these days, Jerry loves a good TikTok video. He still sheds some light on the company's decision to view employees as a cost, rather than a revenue generator. Back in 2021, ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, laid off 70 to 100 HR personnel in a five-minute meeting. 

ByteDance’s reasoning? The statement they released to the public was: “We took a fresh look at our teams and our employees needs, and restructured this part of the business to better integrate across the HR organization and other high growth areas.” 

In reality, the only thing ByteDance was considering was the bottom line. But at what cost?

This takes us to the next takeaway of Jerry’s presentation: the cost of losing employees. 

Hiring new talent is expensive. Recruiting, onboarding and training take money, time and resources. So here is the million-dollar question: why are companies not taking care of their valuable employees? 

Jerry points out a surprising reason for this: Companies fear their employees will leave if they invest in them. He says companies fear giving their employees a greater skill set if that will provide them with the opportunity to leave, saying, 

“Instead of looking at the ways we can bring them up through the company, they see it as a fear of losing those people”. 

So really, it's quite a catch 22 situation that can result in a loss-loss situation for employers and employees. 

“Being consistent about the message and developing and investing in these people is something that needs to happen”. 

The bottom line for Jerry is that companies are not investing in their employees, and this needs to change. For things to change, consistency and a change in the mindset of every company are crucial. 

But before investing in the frontline, employees need to be successfully onboarded into the company. 

Jerry sheds light on some eye-opening statistics:

  • 35% of employees leave because of a lack of effective management 
  • 10% of the workplace leaves during onboarding 
  • 3-4.5 million US employees leave their jobs on a monthly basis 

“I really don't think that managers are understanding that we need to be investing in these people.”

Companies need to be changing their onboarding process to be more open and communicative, while management needs to be more involved. When the job doesn't align with employees' expectations, employees simply walk away.  

A People-First Mindset

Prioritizing people is the first step to success. As British Entrepreneur, Richard Branson, said “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients“. Jerry believes many companies have the wrong prioritization in place. He recently saw a senior leader bio that read: “1. Mission, 2. People, and 3. Self-development.”,  but Jerry thinks the order needs rethinking – people first. 

Jerry explains how while working with the airforce, there has been a mind shift in their moving practices, one that has involved taking a step back and giving stability to their frontline. By choosing to take care of their people, the air force has implemented a ‘people-first’ thought that is helping their mission improve. 

So changing your company's mindset to put employees first is one way to improve the employee experience. But what else can be done? 

Take a Look at Who’s Eating at Your Table

These days, diversity and inclusion is something that companies simply can't afford to mess up. But how many companies are actually as ‘diverse’ and ‘inclusive’ as they claim to be? Jerry raises the question of diversity in the workplace and takes us through the concept of ‘who’s eating at your table’. 

“Maybe they've hired a woman or a person of color to sit at that table, but is it truly a representation down through the ranks?” 

For this, Jerry suggests companies really have a look around who's sitting at the table, as this is the real representation of a company. Jerry points out that leaders saying that their company is diverse and inclusive is no longer enough, no matter how good the slogan or the social media post. A big part of employee experience and satisfaction is creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels safe, heard, valued and appreciated. 

Final Thoughts 

Jerry stresses that you cannot expect employees to be the best that they can be if you’re not giving them your best either. 

To recap: 

  • Rethink the bottom line: don't make it all about money.
  • An investment in your people is an investment in the long term success of your business. 
  • A lack of diversity and inclusion is something companies cannot afford. Bring in new perspectives and challenge the norm. 
  • Never jump to replace employees; invest, coach and nurture first. 
  • Happy employees = happy customers (don’t jump the gun). 

Thank you Jerry for your time and energy at the Global Frontline Experience Summit. A fascinating presentation with so many thought-provoking takeaways. 

Want to see more presentations from the Global Frontline Experience Summit? We’ll be releasing blogs every week diving into all the juicy insights from our incredible lineup of speakers. In the meantime, you can join the Frontline Magic Community to receive updates, frontline news and more! 

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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