Just go from business to business to university to government to utility and observe the rank-and-file as they work. Not the CIO and not the CMO or VP of Service. No: watch the poor schlubs who sit in front of rickety software screens, facing customers, plowing through applications, struggling to find content, information, or meaning. Be honest: most enterprises keep their employees not even at the standard of a 21st century version of the rowers in a Roman ship. At least there was honor and advancement then.
Most of us forget what a galley rower was like: they lived aboard ships, but were not chained to a bench nor forced to row in unison. That is the movie version. In real life, the Roman Navy used the position of rower as one in which a non-citizen of Rome could move up the ranks and become a citizen with full rights. They were not kept in the dark, with no idea of the ship’s direction. No, it took another two thousand years for that to happen, with the evolution of the Call Center.
Talking to employees at many companies could make one lose confidence in the plans that senior executives have: create “Engaging” environments to “Listen to Customers” and “Foster participation.” How do you do that when the employees behind these projects are not given proper training, incentives, advancement, motivation and salary? Without filling them in on the short and long-term strategy for your customer engagement program. Without making them feel that the outcome of a successful project will be down-sizing or more work for the same pay?
I think Human Resources is the next real “CRM” analog. Yes, care about the customer. But that starts with caring about the selection, training, grooming, and incenting of employees so that they love what they do. You feel it immediately when you walk into a company like that: the buzz of employees who are committed and driven to reach goals – it is electric.
We have been writing about Human Capital Management (See Jim Holincheck) and workforce management (See Jim Davies) for many years – and it is an open secret that most of us are still organized like it was 1885 and we’d just built the first factory floor.
Do you see change coming? I do.