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While organizations such as Google are often discussed as shining companies that use employee empowerment, there are countless other firms pushing forward in their markets by engendering a more open and positive culture of empowerment among their people. One such company is Enterprise, the rental car business.
Enterprise’s CEO, Pamela Nicholson, is quite rightly proud of the company’s culture. She says that the basis for Enterprise’s success – it is now the world’s number one rental car business – is to be found in its corporate culture which is indicative of its values. Communicating this culture, and enabling its leaders to empower employees in the accomplishment of their daily business tasks, has been central to the effective execution of the company mission and its business strategy.
Enterprise developed tools that measure the effectiveness of its corporate culture. These help to communicate values and expected behaviors, and align goals to vision and mission. Within this framework, employees are encouraged to identify with the corporate culture and self-evaluate their own performance. In particular, attitudes toward customers, work, colleagues and innovation of services are used as a guide for promotion.
Enterprise’s culture and strategy was evolved rapidly to create a positive environment in which managers and team members are directly involved in recruitment and development programs. Now 90% of Enterprise’s managers and leaders are promoted from within.
One of the tools the company uses to create a culture of empowerment is its ESQi survey. Originally devised as a customer questionnaire, the survey now uses customer comments to challenges employees to create solutions to highlighted issues. In turn, the ESQi scores are used as an aid to incentivise employees toward promotion and career advancement, and customer satisfaction is an accepted and agreed corporate value.
Part of the ESQi survey success is to be found in the way it is used internally. League tables are produced that detail performances of branches, regions, and individuals. The collective goal of customer satisfaction is heightened and employees are engaged in the process of creating reality from these goals. Employees are appraised by customers and colleagues, and top-rated employees are rewarded while branches that are performing poorly quickly improve.
One branch which was receiving bad customer reviews was challenged to discover why and then improve. It instigated several rounds of customer surveys and discovered the root cause of poor reviews lay in the ‘time-consuming and frustrating’ procedures used to process repeat business. Armed with this information, the branch’s team members examined their business closely and found the log-jam was created by the need to gather customer details every time a car was hired.
The branch put in place a new process that streamlined information gathering, creating pre-populated forms that could be printed and signed by repeat customers. The change was so successful that the new process was rolled out across the entire organization as standard procedure. Employees’ workflow is reduced, as is paperwork, while customer satisfaction numbers improved along with repeat business numbers.
Companies that use employee empowerment benefit in a number of ways. When employees are engaged with core values and beliefs, and then given the autonomy to improve within that framework, the organisation moves forward together. Problems are identified and solutions sought and discovered. Employees see their values align with those of the company for whom they work, and the attainment of the company vision becomes a collective effort. This feeds through to greater customer satisfaction, improving revenues, and increased profitability.
Contact Primeast today, and we’ll help you realize the benefits of empowering your employees.
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