Top Employer 2020 – #TECD 20

Top Employer 2020 – #TECD 20

Top Employer 2012-2020

Established more than 25 years ago, the Top Employers Institute is the global authority on recognising excellence in people practices. For Merchants, being one of those 1500 organisations that get it right is proof of their efforts to make their people matter. Merchants is thrilled to have achieved Top Employer accreditation for the eighth year running. Miranda Hall, Head of Organisational Development, Industrial Relations and Remuneration, who has led the accreditation programme for Merchants since introducing it to the company in 2012, has seen the winds of change over the years. “Top Employer keeps abreast of the global strategic direction which Human Resources leads to ensure it remains relevant and forward-thinking. The future world of work has to consider the main drivers of technology, demographics, society and globalisation, and Top Employer changes it’s format every year to ensure that it is examining the evolution of these drivers within companies. Merchants is very pleased to be measured against other Top Employers in South Africa, and our achievements thus far have shown that we are, in fact, a company whose policies and practices demonstrate our overarching principle, that People Matter”.

Agents are CX change makers

If your business is serving customers, you’re in the business of people. To keep your foothold in any market, that means that your customer interactions depend on positive employee experiences and optimised working practices and environments.

Businesses recognise that the relationship between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) is the main factor that’s reshaping organisational cultures. That’s according to Dimension Data’s 2019 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, which shows that over 50% of businesses know they need to evolve if they want to recruit and retain the right talent, and more that 40% are aware that employees are demanding a better work-life balance.

The human element is at the heart of positive change in any business. To remain relevant to evolving customers, organisations need to strike the right balance between positive engagement and efficient delivery. That means using information about your workforce to improve your operating models, while using digital transformation to support cultural change for the better.

Getting that right isn’t always easy. Many businesses have fallen into the trap of automation – where digital solutions don’t seem to deliver the improvements they promised. Bottom line: without the support of real cultural change, digital transformation initiatives will fall flat and worse still, will result in employees leaving for greener pastures.

Understanding people needs

“Employees who feel engaged, valued, and motivated in their work will strive to deliver for both the customer and the organisation. You have to listen to what your employees are saying so you can create a positive environment for them to deliver.”

Simply put, EX = CX: having happy employees means happy customers. As Merchants Head of HR Systems Management Diane Meyers points out, if you’re leaving EX to chance, you run the risk of low productivity and poor CX.

“Employees who feel engaged, valued, and motivated in their work will strive to deliver for both the customer and the organisation. You have to listen to what your employees are saying so you can create a positive environment for them to deliver.”

And that’s the reason why EX is becoming an important tactic for improving CX. Real cultural change means changing your recruitment, training and management practices, by taking a consumer approach to employment.

Mithum Singh

Mithum Singh, Merchants’ Transition and Optimisation Executive, explains that identifying improvement opportunities requires taking a long, hard look at how you’re performing now.

“If EX is the art behind CX, workforce management is the science. Workforce optimisation tools empower employees to perform better, so you get more value from the skills you’ve invested in. Look at building a model that combines CX, quality management, and operational data to reveal opportunities – and opportunity costs – in your workforce.”

Making people matter

As passionate believers in creating a true service culture, Merchants works hard to optimise its people practices and to develop its employees.

Starting with putting its customers and people first, Merchants has evolved its approach to encompass good business citizenship AND embracing technology to stay competitive in a modern world.

As Meyers explains, it’s about supporting humans to deliver the right experience through technology. “Our belief that people matter holds us accountable for our actions in business and our personal lives. It’s why we come to work every day, and we believe that people include our customers, employees AND the communities we live in, work in and serve.”

How to attract, keep and nurture talent

There’s a reason why nearly half of all businesses are tracking employee morale today. As well as embracing a changing workforce demographic, and the expectations that go with it, businesses recognise that one bad experience can travel across social media channels and cause real harm.

That’s why it’s so important to create a memorable EX from recruitment to exit. Meyers offers some key approaches to think about in creating an environment of trust and ownership:

Technology-driven recruitment

As technology takes over routine tasks, interpersonal skills are in demand. Using digital recruitment tools like MyCalling helps pinpoint specific job profiles and the abilities needed for a great match. With clever algorithms, recruitment is more efficient, faster and cheaper – especially when you’re running bulk recruitment campaigns.

On-the-go learning and development

Training has moved from classroom to screen. Online learning and self-service training is the way of the future. It’s the smartest way to empower employees to manage their own career development.

Real-time communication

Knowledge is power, but vital communication can often get stuck at managerial level. Thanks to messaging and social networking apps, companies can improve information sharing and answer questions quickly.

Leaders who listen

If you’re not sure how to make your employees happy, just ask. If you’re not listening, you can’t drive change, which is why leaders need to engage respectfully with individuals, and take a holistic approach to overall wellbeing and development.

Contact us to find out how we can help you.