Most HR managers and executives, indeed most managers and executives in almost every company, are familiar with the terms "employee satisfaction" and "employee engagement." Not so familiar, though, is employee commitment.
Employee satisfaction and employee loyalty research: Identifies attitudes and behaviors leading to job satisfaction and loyalty to company. This is very traditional employee research which has been around for generations.
Employee engagement and alignment research: Identifies attitudes and actions leading to agreement with, and belief in, overall company mission/objectives, as well as degree of perceived "fit" within organizational culture. This is employee research which has gained acceptance and application by Human Resources professionals and consultants over the past ten to fifteen years.
Employee ambassadorship: There is growing recognition of the need for a third approach, one which relates and links employee perceptions and actions to company business and financial missions and strategies, particularly regarding customer behaviors on behalf of the employer; and very little employee research (qualitative or quantitative) has been conducted, and no proven technique had been created, in these areas. We call the concept forming the research method we have developed employee ambassadorship. This represents the new reality of optimizing employee productivity, connecting to the organization, and focusing on delivering value to customers; and it addresses the direct and indirect behavioral linkages between these stakeholder groups.
Employees are the common denominator in optimizing the customer experience. Making the experience for customers positive and attractive at each point where the company interacts with them requires an in-depth understanding of both customer needs and how what the company currently does achieves that goal, particularly through employee loyalty. It requires that companies understand, and leverage, the impact employees have on customer behavior. Employee satisfaction and engagement will both have relatively passive linkage, but employee ambassadorship and commitment will result in stronger financial performance on every key measure.
This was first published in May 2007