Some years back, I wrote a few pieces on how & where social media interacts with a business' CRM strategy.

Across those pieces, I considered how to bring a business strategy in line with employees.   Sounds odd, I know, as many would consider the latter to fall in behind the former.  However, despite statistics that may suggest otherwise, a "war for talent" is back in full swing. Some say that this war is back to a peak not seen since pre-recession days - the American Society for Training and Development noting that over three-quarters of roles in 2015 will require STEM skills - skills that not enough of the population have to offer employers.

So, linking those ideas back to a personal interest for me (executing a CRM strategy so that everybody really "gets it"), let's talk about employee engagement & how that intersects with a CRM strategy.

By way of background ...

In an increasingly frictionless world, where sourcing & buying from alternative suppliers is as easy as a few mouse-clicks, smart companies choose to compete on another level: delivering service excellence to acquire & retain customers.  Harnessing these "knowledge-based" skills means operating a business with engaged employees - ones that are willing to invest their talent ensure the organisation succeeds.   

So, what does engagement mean to employees ?  

Well, there are a number of levers that can be used in support of customer relationship management efforts:

  1. Employees need to clearly understand the VISION of a company - what are the goals & how are they measured ?  
  2. Employees need to feel their INPUT matters to that vision - that, where appropriate, they can help establish processes to facilitate goal achievement. 
  3. Employees value & wish to exercise some element of CONTROL over the flow & pace of their jobs. 
  4. And, within that control employees want to ensure they collaborate, working with trust & cooperation right across the company.

So, what does engagement mean within a CRM strategy ?  

In my experience, the best implementations are where key points are addressed:

  • The requirements are directly & visibly linked to a company's goals. Put another way, outcomes that define "CRM success" should be connected a company KPIs, and visible to all.
  • Intended CRM users have direct input to the way the CRM system is to work.  That means involvement from the initial acquisition (scoping requirements, being involved in demonstrations, etc), through to the implementation cycle & then on to "champion" roles within the organisation

Another point to consider is CRM disconnect within a company:  "Doing CRM" in just one department undermines effort in one team when they come to dealing with other departments.  Why? Collaboration falters & a typical customer journey is interrupted, with subsequent damage to brand value a distinct possibility.  And, employee engagement runs the risk of going down.

Any CRM strategy needs to be company-wide & have employees at its' heart.  Anything less just dilutes strategic effort & spend.

-= David