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Forget "Voice of the Customer," What about "Voice of the Employee?"

Posted by on August 15, 2011

It seems as though many people are getting swept up and focused on the concept of the “voice of the customer.”  While I acknowledge that it is important I’m also wondering what happened to the voice of the employee? When did we become so obsessed with external voices that we forgot to look at the voices we have inside the walls of our organizations?  With the current economic conditions and the fact that less than 33% of employees are actually engaged with the companies they work at today(according to a study by Blessing White), I believe that the voice of the employee has never been more crucial to pay attention to than it is today.

It’s really interesting to me to hear about how many people are familiar with customer facing social tools yet not familiar with emergent collaboration tools which can be used to connect employees and allow them to collaborate with one another.  I’ve said this many times but I believe that employees are the most valuable asset that any organization has.  Organizations are spending so much time trying to monitor the web for conversations and trying to talk to and engage with customers that they forget about the people that they need to engage with most, the employees.  We develop command centers, social media programs, micro-sites, communities, in person events, unique loyalty programs, and a host of other things.

Meanwhile employees are still stuck trying to access the information they need with over a dozen usernames and passwords, can’t find the right information they need to get their jobs done, feel disconnected from their companies, spend a full day a week in front of email, can’t find the right people to collaborate with, don’t know how to share their ideas, can’t store or transfer their knowledge for others, and a host of other things.

Don’t you think it’s time we focus on our employees?

What say you?

  • Well said, Jacob.

    Many businesses continue to underestimate their most valuable asset: their employees. Creating a  culture where everyone feels their worth, embraces the company’s values and has a passion to improving the entire experience (for customers and colleagues alike) isn’t easy. However, from a customer perspective it’s often evident which companies get it right, and which don’t.

  • Guest2344

    Absolutely spot on!!! Loved your article and the points that you raise are very valid in this economic scenario.  You have forced me to put my thinking hat to come up with a solution which encourages the important asset of an organization “employees” to collaborate with each other. 

    Thanks once again for hitting the nail on it’s head.


  • Nice post.  Yes – the voice of the employee is critically important.  If you don’t know what it is, and don’t listen to it, you have no idea how it’s impacting what fuels your company (or agency, etc) – your customers.  Customer success has a direct correlation to employee engagement.  Focus on one without attention to the other at your peril.

  • nice post
    now employee voice is very important. employee voice is life of organization

  • Cfraff

    Here here. I really like this post. While Web 2.0 and e-business are fascinating and powerful, I agree, we all too often forget about e2.0 and internal Km practices. I have built my career on “inside the firewall” Km and 2.0, and have a host of war stories, powerfully successful and failed outcomes. I think too many organizations forget that while the customer “comes
    first”, the employee/infrastructure of the organization is fundamental
    and foundational to customer satisfaction.

  • Dr Federete

    One question:

    Can those employees that you describe in your blog raise their heads and just talk to other people? Do you really need to use social media to communicate to people that works next to you?

    • Jody Pellerin

      More and more often there is nobody next to you. Or that person doesn’t have the expertise you need or the time to speak with you when you need information (which is where a good searchable knowledge base comes in). Telecommuting, virtual teams, and geographically dispersed teams are becoming more common. Collaboration tools only go as far as the employee uses them but if the tools aren’t available at all then the employee is being hamstrung.

    • Absolutely, I think human connection is the most important element of collaboration.  You don’t have to use social media to do anything at all, however there are many unique benefits of collaborating via social media which in turn help strengthen the in-person relationship.

  • So True.

  • It is not an either or situation – it is both! We use a customer centricity framework with our clients that pulls both voices (customer AND employee) into the equation – along with a whole host of other variables, tools and techniques. Customer engagement is the flip-side of employee engagement.

    Good to hear another voice recognising the voice of the employee

    • Ideally sure it is both.  However, oftentimes organizations have to make a choice for what to invest in first.  Heck if companies can do both at once, more power to ’em!

  • There should be a fine balance between the customers and the employees.