Your Workforce Approach Should be Based on What You Deliver to Customers, Not Just What Employees Want

A couple of months ago, you quickly moved some or all of your employees home to keep them out of harm’s way.

Then you learned how to help employees perform remotely and helped managers learn how to manage remote employees. Most organizations thought this would be a temporary, true safety response and employees would return to the workplace when the pandemic’s danger had passed.

But now, some employees have expressed interest in remaining as remote employees. You may have seen greater performance as the time spent commuting has been redirected to performance. You may have found employees are more willing to work on projects and take calls later in the day and evening since they are already at home, and home is where work is [now].

At the same time, some employees who had a taste of working at home want to return to their workplace when it is safe to do so. They feel they work better at their old desks and with their friends / colleagues than trying to work at home with various interruptions or lacking the discipline to stay focused.

So, some want to stay remote and some want to return. What do you do?

In an effort to focus on employee retention, many organizations are engaging with employees to gather their ideas on how to move forward. A challenge, however, is that many employees see the situation uniquely from their personal perspectives, not what makes sense for the customer and business as a whole. This is what I believe to be the better starting point for organizations trying to decide what their new reality looks like.

So, as a workplace coach and consultant, the guidance I share with my clients is to assess and redefine what the business does or will do and what customers will need and want.

  • What is it you [now or will] provide?
  • How does your service or product need to be delivered to be successful, engaging and building customer loyalty?
  • What is the customer experience and service standard you commit to?

Let’s say you provide your clients investment advice and tools to assist them in financial security. To provide the service response and customer experience required to engage and retain your clients, your employees need certain technology, a quiet workspace and time to really listen and make recommendations for your clients.

Great. You’ve identified the requirements every employee needs to deliver a consistent service response. The next step is to explore where the work can be done to deliver the exceptional customer experience. Some questions to ask include:

  • Is it necessary to have employees in the workplace?
  • Can they do the work remotely, whether at home or from some other remote location?
  • Do your employees need to travel because their work is still done best face-to-face with your clients?
  • Of these options, which provides the expected client experience while still accommodating how to do business in today’s world?

Today’s most effective leaders listen to their employees and their customers/clients. Both provide critical information to ensure the decisions that come from the C-suite provide the responses that drive the success of the business while valuing and supporting its people.

Take Action
Assess the tasks of each of your roles and determine which can be done remotely and still deliver your customer or client experience. For roles that can be done remotely, assess your employees’ home workplaces to ensure they have an environment that will let them successfully deliver on their performance expectations. Create a policy about remote work that is bias-free and focused on performance success.

Focus on what you clients and customers need and build your work approach to respond.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Now That You’ve Had A Taste: Do You Really Like Working From Home?

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