Employee Engagement, CX and Happiness

employee engagement - training word image with keywords and icons

Employee Engagement, CX and Happiness

Updated May 2023 (originally posted April 2019) Via phone, chat, or in-person, employees have the power to create the kind of energy that nurtures customer loyalty. Empower them with information and invest in them as people because employee engagement and happiness has a direct impact on CX.

Empower Employees with Information

My friend visited the UK where she made a point to check out a very famous tea purveyor’s newest store. She asked for a well-known single origin tea. She was surprised when the employee responded, “How do you spell it?” Four employees were asked before a fifth knew what she was looking for.

The brand has been around since the 1800s, is high-end, but clearly did not train their employees well. She left the store and went to a competitor’s shop. There she got what she wanted straight away. She made her purchase in the store with the knowledgeable staff where she had a better experience.

By contrast, I love my local Total Wine store. I feel welcomed by the employees who clearly enjoy working there. I have talked with many of them and they all remark on the quality of the on-going training they receive and positive treatment by the company. It shows in their ability to make great recommendations and the interest they show in the products and the customers. I always leave knowing more than when I entered and having had a positive experience. That is why I go there.

Richard Branson, the well lauded Founder of Virgin, tweeted a gem on this subject:

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”


The Value of Training

They say knowledge is power. It turns out the knowledge from quality training is linked to empowerment. It makes sense. Knowing what to do and doing it well builds confidence and a sense of agency.

PwC’s 2022 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey of 52,195 workers from 44 countries and territories found that specialized training and scarce skills are a big part of employee empowerment. 

They also found that 45% of those with jobs requiring specialized training would recommend the company they’re at as a good place to work. 

It isn’t just about general employee training either. How managers are trained impacts the engagement of those they manage. Of the over 9,000 global workers surveyed for SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) 2022 Global Culture Research report 94% felt empathy was essential for a healthy work environment. However, only 50% said their company offered empathy training for managers. Those that did offer this training saw significantly higher worker engagement and satisfaction.

Creating a Culture of Meaning and Support

Pay is important but positive company culture is key to employee engagement. Data agrees.

The aforementioned PwC 2022 Survey found that though pay was important it was not enough. Job fulfillment, ability to be their authentic selves and sense their team cares about them were the second, third and fourth most important factors when considering leaving for another job. Job fulfillment was only 2% behind pay as a top factor.

65% of respondents indicated that the company history of protecting worker safety and health was their top social priority.

The SHRM 2022 Global Culture Research report data showed 30% of workers looking for a new job don’t have meaning in their current career.

Listening to employees and understanding what they need and value is necessary to build a culture of meaning and support.

Treat Employees Like Customers

employee engagement - motivation word graphic with icons  ID 46085629 © Trueffelpix | Dreamstime.com

When employees feel supported there is a direct benefit to customers and business:

“Gallup reports in “The State of the American Workplace” that employees who are engaged are more likely to improve customer relationships, with a resulting 20% increase in sales.”


If you want your employees to give your customers a high-end experience they need to know what a high-end experience is themselves. Navedas Director of Operations, Kellyne Clapper told me a story about her experience working at Bullock’s, an upscale department store that had an 89 year run. The company took the employees to a beach side resort for training.

They were taught the difference between weave and waft, how wrinkle resistant fabrics are created, the reason for blends, the different types of fabrics that are used for men’s dress shirts and so on. Bullock’s treated the employees to a buffet that included huckleberries and currants in a beautiful setting, and empowered them with knowledge on what they were selling.

Zendesk measures not just Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) but also Agent Satisfaction (ASAT). This  input informed changes that reduce support costs while their customer numbers doubled:

“By stressing the importance of both our agents as well as our customers in the decisions we make, we’ve kept our agents happy and their turnover rate low—meaning our agents stay longer, become more experienced and effective, while decreasing the costs of lost expertise and recruiting, and hiring and training up new staff to replace them.”


Employee engagement and CX are connected. Informed, happy employees create an atmosphere that flows over onto your customers and your business.

How is your ASAT score?