You've probably heard of the Golden Rule: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But have you heard of the Employee Golden Rule?

"Do unto your employees as you want done unto your customers," says Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer and Customer Service and Experience Expert at Shephard Presentations, Inc. "You set the tone and you become the role model internally, if you're a manager or leader. In the C-Suite, the way you treat the people you work with is exactly how you can expect them to treat others.

This seems like a simple concept, but it's rarely given the same thoughtful strategizing that other mission critical elements receive. However, remote and hybrid work models are highlighting the ways customer experience and employee experience interact, and just how crucial it is to improve both.

We recently spoke with Shep about this topic, drilling down to discuss The Now of Work: how remote and hybrid workforces affect management, customer service, employee engagement, and more.


Let's start with how a customer contact center might look in our post-pandemic world. You may have a group of employees working side-by-side in a pod of cubicles, a group working remotely, or a blend of the two. But no matter where your employees are, clear and consistent communication is paramount.

When you're in the office, it's easy to flag down your supervisor to ask a question. But if you're working remotely, you have to rely on different channels, such as instant messaging applications. This, Shep says, is something we must become accustomed to. "One of the biggest drawbacks of working remotely is that people aren't used to that, but they will quickly become used to it," he says. "What's important, however, is to maintain some sense of connection with your colleagues."

This could manifest itself as a daily videoconference call to check in on your team. You might even consider having multiple check-in calls with your employees, even if it's just for a few minutes, so you can stay in continuous contact with your employees and they can maintain that feeling of connection. This will go a long way toward keeping them fulfilled, which will in turn improve their interactions with customers.


Another way to keep your employees engaged and filled with a sense of belonging and appreciation is to celebrate their accomplishments. As Shep notes, this doesn't need to be a "rah, rah" type of celebration, but acknowledging success can go a long way.

"If I'm a manager and I know that someone had success yesterday, I'm going to ask them if they mind sharing that story with the team when we meet tomorrow morning," he says.

And this celebration can go beyond just work success. During the pandemic lockdown, Shep has implemented a series of meetings that also help celebrate the unique personalities of his employees.

In a morning meeting, employees talk about what they're working on that day and what they're excited about, but the lunchtime meeting he implemented wasn't about work. It was about meeting with HR—not Human Resources, but Humor Resources.

The Humor Resources rep would lead the meeting. "Her job was to bring a funny video in for all of us to watch together so we could laugh together," Shep notes. "It was more personal than business. We wanted to share what's going on in our lives." This focus on humor and personal connection went a long way toward boosting morale and keeping the team connected with one another, which in turn helped them improve customer relationships.


If your employees feel connected to each other and to management, they're more likely to be able to connect to customers, providing superior customer service.

Oftentimes, Shep points out, management focuses solely on the customers, perhaps neglecting employee satisfaction. This is perhaps understandable, as we rely on customers to keep the business going. But, he says, some managers have learned that a focus on employee connection and satisfaction will have a direct and positive impact on the customer experience.

He cites the example of Herb Kelleher from Southwest Airlines. "Herb was once asked 'what's more important to your stakeholders, your employees or the passengers?'" Shep recalls. "He said "employees". His team is the most important. Take care of them and make them happy and fulfilled and they will better engage with the customer. And when the passenger feels good about flying on Southwest, guess what they will do again and again? And that's going to make stakeholders very happy. It starts with employees."

The Now of Work

Managers have a lot on their plates, especially as they adjust to the reality of having employees working both on premise and remotely. Things can get hectic under ideal circumstances, and today, circumstances are far from ideal. But, if we take a step back and think about communication, celebration, and connection, we realize that it may be more simple than we imagined. If we take care of our employees, they'll take care of the customers, and everyone will have success.

To learn more about how to manage remote and hybrid workforces, Visit the Now of Work Asset for more expert insights >

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