Agile HR: Creating Customer Interactions
Agile HR is all about developing a dynamic workforce that can be deployed and redeployed to meet the changing demands of industry and commerce. It’s about speed, precision, collaboration, and excellence. Agile HR impacts everything from an organization’s team structure to its feedback loop, and every aspect of agile HR is intended to improve employee performance and customer satisfaction.
One of its most notable qualities its inherent value of every individual in a company because of the contributions that he or she makes to the team. This value proposition has obvious applications in a project-based setting, but it’s equally important to apply it to customer interactions by creating customer-facing opportunities for all employees.
Large retailers are already acknowledging the importance of customer-facing employees by investing heavily in personnel. Research and consulting firm Accenture identifies a “growing belief among retailers that investing in customer-facing talent to support pay levels, technology innovations, training and recruitment will result in improved sales and profits.” While some companies have the finances and the infrastructure to acquire and deploy large numbers of exclusively customer-facing employees, this isn’t a broad best practice for all companies, especially startups and other small-scale institutions.
Agile HR presents an advantage over this strategy because it doesn’t require companies to invest in new customer-facing employees. Instead, it emphasizes the priority of creating customer-facing opportunities for every position in the company. In doing so, companies are maximizing the talents and abilities of each individual while leveraging those talents for the benefit of the entire team. When designing customer interactions for all employees, there are some things to remember to ensure that you’re effectively deploying your company for strategic success.
1. Employees want ownership and opportunity. Millennials and their priorities are fully entrenched in the workforce, and they are even starting to give way to GenZ, that somehow more eccentric group with a great penchant for job satisfaction. Incredibly, more than almost anything else, Millennials and GenZ want to play a role in something that they believe in. By allowing teams and employees to more directly connect with customers and clients, companies are giving employees what they want while also implementing a best practice for their businesses.
2. All means all. Agile HR requires transparency and accountability, and that is especially true when creating customer interactions for all employees. From an HR standpoint, model the possibility of customer interactions from your department as a measure of accountability and as a practical showcasing of how it should be implemented. If it’s so important that all groups developing methods for engaging in customer interactions, then it’s important enough for HR to do so as well. They should do it first, and they should encourage others to follow their example.
3. All roles aren’t the same roles. The Harvard Business Review notes that “Customer experience encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering,” but those experiences are going to be different for each individual. Creating customer interactions and agile HR meet at the intersection of flexibility and individuality. Knowing your team well enough to great dynamic engagement opportunities raises the prospects for everyone on the team. In contrast, creating rigid guidelines and protocols that apply to everyone is creating a static protocol that misses the opportunity to embrace each employees strengths. In short, companies that utilize their small, highly productive teams to meet the changing needs of their customers will find success where more stagnant operations continuing to flounder.
In addition to creating small, high performing teams, communications giant Ericsson has embraced an agile approach to customer interactions. Faced with long project sequences and rapidly changing customer needs, Ericsson divided its company into small teams that work directly with customers to hasten innovation and to ensure customer satisfaction.
Forbes detailed their transition, and they report that “Ericsson has over 100 small teams working with customers’ needs in three-week cycles.” The results have been astonishing. Not only are they able to respond to more nuanced customer concerns, but they are able to radically adapt their procedures to ensure that they are always providing the very best service to their valuable customers.
McKinsey & Company are documenting the impact of companies creating customer interactions at all levels, and the results are persuasive. From large scale operations to low- budget startups, companies have prioritized the customer experience, and the best way to achieve that priority is by equipping employees at every level to be customer-facing in mindset and in practice.
Agile HR is a collection of priorities that enable companies to most effectively utilize their resources, develop their employees, and stay relevant in a fast-paced global environment. The culmination of that arrangement is a workforce that incorporates customer interactions into every function of the company.