A new article published by the Wall Street Journal suggests that the robot revolution could actually create upwards of 21 million jobs (Furmans, 2017). So, although some paint the future of robot automation as grim for the workforce, this article suggests that although some jobs may become obsolete, new ones will be created to replace them.
If your industry is being or will be effected by technology automation, the major question you should ask to stay at the top of your competitors is, what are we doing to develop our people to compete in the robot economy?
Here are some core ideas you should focus on to stay ahead of your competitors in the robot economy:
Focus on Personalized Service Interactions
You can take away the human, but you can’t take away our desire for human interaction. Yes, perhaps in many situations, customers have a desire for the automated service of an app, kiosk or online shopping. But, this will never take away the need for human quality assurance. We’re not at the point yet where we can just trust that technology has got it right. There are still human checks and balances in place behind robot automation that assure the customer experience is exceptional. This is where you can assure that your customer is happy — by providing them with quality, personalized service interactions. Read more about why a Personalization Strategy is so important for your organization here.
For example, I have noticed lately that almost all of my online shopping orders have come with a packing slip that has been personally checked by a real live human. And often I have received a personal handwritten note of thanks for my order or for being a customer. And you know what, I can say that 100% of those personally checked orders have been correct, and I appreciate that extra step they have taken to assure the quality of my order before it has been sent out.
Another example of a personalized service interaction is the customer experience at Sephora stores. Their front-line employees provide you with a hands-on experience, demonstrating how the makeup and beauty products work, and offering you free samples to take home and try. After all of this you think they would be pushing the in-person sale, but often they actually encourage you to go home and buy it online when you are ready. They provide you with the product information/codes and a coupon for free shipping! These are just a few examples of how you can reframe the way you think about personalized service interactions with your customer in the age of robot automation.
Focus on Innovation
You know the adage ‘think outside the box’, well that has never rung truer than in these times. It is so important for organizations to have innovation at the core of their organizational values. Encouraging innovation means being prepared to deal with failure. It also means encouraging employees to speak openly and freely about their ideas. Perhaps even giving them a platform or projects to do this. Read some of the Best Mission Statements from Innovative Organizations here.
Some stodgier organizations may roll their eyes at the ‘hippy’ cultures at organizations like Facebook, Google, etc. where they have ping pong tables, resting pods, fun staff outings, happy hours, etc. but the fact of the matter is, these types of environments really do foster creativity and thinking differently. And in the last decade these organizations have consistently shown to be at the top of their competitor lists.
The major disruptors of our times have been those organization that have focused their core principles on innovation, adaptation and growth. Take for example, Netflix, and organization that first snail mailed out DVD rentals to their customers. They have now essentially changed the entire television and film landscape and continue to develop and grow their business as media investors, creators and distributors.
Focus on Training and Re-Skilling
As an organization or an individual contributor, it is important now more than ever to focus on the learning and development of your workforce. Your talent want to learn and grow within your organization and they want skills that make them more marketable now AND in the future.
A focus on re-skilling the workforce to compete with the demands of robot automation is critical. Those organizations that invest in re-skilling and training their employees in times of rapidly growing and changing technology will be at the forefront of service.
Leaders should be sure to network inside and outside of their industry to keep up with (and stay ahead of) the trends. This will allow your organization to assess where you need to update your knowledge base, and what areas you should be focusing on when it comes to learning and development of your talent.
Developing a custom eLearning program keep up with the changes and demands of your workforce is an exceptional way to offer training and development to your talent. Just-in-time learning and microlearning, offer your employees a way to continuously grow, while not taking them off the job for lengthy periods of time.
If you’d like to learn more about what a custom eLearning solution could look like for your organization, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a 15 minute discovery call through my calendar here.read more
If you’re a leader, it’s tempting to want to focus your efforts on profit margins and business processes, which are obviously important for any business. However, I believe if you focus on recognizing your employees, removing obstacles that get in the way of their service, and creating an exceptional experience for them, that these things will come as a result.
Remove Obstacles in the Way of Superior Service
We live in an experience economy, where customer and employee experiences are so important in shaping their motivation, buying habits, and loyalty. As a leader, your primary function is to enable your employees to achieve a desired customer service experience and exceed customer expectations.
One of the key factors in achieving this is to remove obstacles and barriers in the way of your employee’s service performance. This could include removing outdated rules/policies, unbalanced performance measurements, lack of resources, inadequate learning and development, influences of compensation, and other areas that would inhibit their superior performance.
Improve Internal Service Cooperation
Once you have evaluated your workplace culture and removed obstacles in the way of service, you want to focus on improving your internal service cooperation.
Here are a few ways you can look at improving your internal service cooperation to make your employees more productive, motivated, happy and prepared to serve their customers:
Stay positive and polite. Nobody wants to work with someone who brings down the team, and customers especially do not want to spend their time and money to interact with someone who is negative. When you are positive and polite with your colleagues, they will be more responsive and efficient, which results in better service for your external customers.
Honor your commitments with both your colleagues and customers.
Communicate transparently about any obstacles you encounter that might delay your service. If you communicate honestly and transparently you will set their expectations and be able to over deliver on your promises!
Step out of your silo and learn about the organization and service workflow. This will help you to discover how your output can be a better input for your colleagues and customers.
Be helpful by directly or indirectly supporting a customer or co-worker. It’s easy to play the “It’s not my job” game, but when you have a servant attitude that puts your colleagues and customers first you will find much more joy in your service interactions.
Recognize and Celebrate their Service
Once you have removed obstacles and improved your service cooperation, you want to recognize and reward those employees who are doing exceptional work.
The best organizations catch people doing things right and recognize and reward them for it. Celebrate great business outcomes and recognize employees who create value for customers and others will follow suit.
An employee recognition program can also be very effective at supporting this employee focused proposition. When you recognize exceptional internal service cooperation with both monetary and non-monetary rewards through a formal recognition program, your talent is much more likely to invest their energy and motivation in the form of exceptional service, leading to better profit margins and business processes (full circle moment!!).
If you’d like to learn more about implementing a total recognition program in your organization focused on your employees, get in touch at email@example.com or book a 15-minute window in my calendar here.
Employee engagement expert and author Kevin Sheridan recently reported that the number one key driver of employee engagement is recognition! He also reported that there are hundreds of millions of workers worldwide who feel unappreciated and have not hear a “thank you” from someone in a long time. The thing we have consistently found in our research on employee engagement is that the top organizations in the world recognize their employees at every touch point, every day, not just once a year in their performance review.
Tips for Recognition in Your Workplace
When it comes to engaging all individuals in your organization, you must recognize and reward them in a way that they want to be recognized. That being said, there are a few overarching ways to recognize your talent to create employee engagement.
Non-monetary recognition addresses the emotional needs of individuals. It reinforces behaviors that can change corporate culture permanently, and it is values and principle based.
- a formal certificate of appreciation,
- publicly acknowledging an individual at a team meeting
- a quick and personalized thank-you in person
- a personalized email message.
Monetary rewards address the rational needs of individuals. Rewards can be used to recognize high performers in your organization and motivate others. Most people love to be recognized financially.
Some examples include:
- a performance bonus,
- a raise,
- spot cards,
- spa gift certificates,
- points in their employee engagement portal
Learning and development are two of the other key drivers of engagement. When you invest in your talent by enabling them with new skills and competencies, they are more likely to give you their energy and loyalty. Your talent does not want to stay stationary – they want to grow their skills that make them more marketable NOW and in the future. Providing your leaders, employees and sales reps with learning opportunities shows that you’re committed to their continued growth in the organization and makes them feel valued. Read more about why I believe there is not a Lack of Motivation in the Workplace Today, There is a Lack of Development.
Examples of learning opportunities can include:
- formal eLearning,
- manager training,
- shadowing colleagues in roles above them,
- giving them a challenging project or problem to solve.
Coaching and Feedback.
Managers play a significant role in the day-to-day work experience and engagement of their direct reports. Your talent wants honest and ongoing feedback and communication so that they know your expectations and how they can achieve success. One-on-one coaching shows your talent that you have a vested interest in their development, growth and overall success. When they feel they are enabled to do their job to the best of their abilities and you give them the tools, guidance and direction to do so, the outcome will be immeasurable! Read more about the Senior Leader’s Role in Employee Engagement here.
Your people want to feel recognized and valued. If you want to really make an impact on employee engagement in your organization, focus on creating a world class engagement culture focused on recognizing and rewarding your people for their great work. Your engagement and recognition must be personalized for every individual inside your organization. The above ideas are just a few ways you can start to create engagement inside of your organization.
If you want to chat more about how to implement a personalized total recognition program in your organization, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a 15-minute call in my calendar.read more