High levels of employee engagement are integral to inspiring customers, delegates at the CIPD's annual conference heard from telecoms company O2
Creating 'fandom' meant customers were not merely satisfied but had an 'emotional connection' to the brand, would recommend it to others and display robust loyalty, said Nicky Brimmer, senior HR business partner at the mobile giant.
To drive this it was important that O2 employees felt the same brand commitment and product excitement, she told delegates, adding that the company recruited on attitudes and behaviours that would to result in good customer service.
Brimmer explained that customer feedback fed into HR processes as inspiring brand loyalty "Starts with our people. We need to create the fandom feeling in our organisation and give customers that feeling"
The company decided that in order to galvanise employees around the concept it would have to invest in embedding the same values and loyalty among staff. As this was rooted in employee engagement, in response to staff feedback O2 developed a 'People Promise' to reflect the values in its 'Customer Promise' said Brimmer.
The pledge to staff included the expectation of a warm welcome to new recruits, confidence in their leadership, opportunities to progress and ability to feedback through staff forums.
The 'People Promise' has since evolved into 'Live the Experience' a global vision within the wider Telefonica group which defines the opportunities employees can expect from the organisation, and the commitment the company seeks in return.
Brimmer added that staff suggestions had resulted in a new peer-to-peer recognition programme called Fanclub, an O2 employee community portal on their intranet. This enabled staff to send a colleague an 'applaud', seen by their line manager to acknowledge and compliment good customer service.
The site now averages more than 4,000 applauds sent between O2's 11,000-strong UK workforce each month, with the employee collecting the most applauds receiving a personal phone call of recognition from the CEO.