By: Sattar Bawany, Managing Director, EDA Asia Pacific & C-Suite Master Executive Coach
“Leading in a world that is highly disruptive and digital and VUCA-driven (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) not only provides a challenging environment for leaders to operate and for executive development programs to have an impact: it also provides a much-needed range of new competencies for leaders at all levels to succeed.
The world moves faster today when compared to 20-30 years ago. Companies feel the pressure to decrease time to market and improve the quality of products while delivering on ever-changing customer expectations to maintain competitive posture – that is, be adaptive and nimble. Driving results in high-performance organizations (HPOs) is difficult even for companies who have the benefit of dedicated and knowledgeable employees and business leaders to leverage.”
– Sattar Bawany (2019)
Business Expert Press (BEP) LLC, New York, NY. ISBN-13: 978-1-94944-304-2
Employees who are engaged and motivated are instrumental in delivering the service experience for the client which will result in customer engagement. The level of employee engagement is dependent on the “organizational climate” (sometimes known as corporate climate), which here simply refers to “how employees feel about working in the organization.” Organizational climate is the process of quantifying the “culture” of an organization. It is a set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in influencing employee behavior and engagement.
We know that leaders create, transform and manage organizational cultures. The leader’s values, beliefs, and leadership styles will impact the organization’s climate. In a VUCA-driven workplace, effective leaders are those who demonstrate ontological humility and possess emotional mastery. They also need to possess essential integrity in discharging their day to day roles and responsibilities towards engaging the employees.
Leaders and managers often fail to appreciate how profoundly the organizational climate can influence financial results. It can account for nearly a third of financial performance. Organizational climate, in turn, is influenced by leadership style—by the way, that managers motivate direct reports, gather and use information, make decisions, manage change initiatives, and handle crises.
The Employee Centric Results-Based Leadership (RBL) Framework
There is currently extensive published research on the direct link between leadership effectiveness and sustained organizational performance. Hence, managerial leadership capability should be of primary concern for all organizations, since the contribution and motivation of the employees are key towards achieving the organizational goals and objectives. While all organization needs a financial resource, technical and professional knowledge and expertise, relevant systems, and processes, success cannot be assured and sustained unless the leaders can utilize these resources creatively and effectively. Arguably, the organizations that are best placed to survive and thrive in the digital-driven and highly disruptive business environment of Industry 4.0 are those which have a strong focus on leadership development practices and a good understanding of what effective leadership means to them.
The organization’s leaders must focus on effectively engaging all stakeholders, but specifically the employees, in delivering results. In the Industry 4.0 era and at a time of continued significant transition and challenge, leaders at all levels will have a responsibility to ensure that the organization’s mission and purpose are at the heart of what they do.
The concept of ‘engagement’ can be defined in many ways. Essentially, engagement is a measure of how an organization values its employees and how employees value their organization and recognize that every individual is at liberty to decide whether to do the minimum required of them or to do more. Engagement can also be taken to represent the degree of empowerment to which staff are involved in decision-making and/or the openness and perceived the effectiveness of communication. Hence, leaders at all levels have a key role in cultivating a strong culture of engagement.
The basic premise of the Employee Centric Results-based Leadership (RBL) Framework is that a highly effective transformational leader would start with a strong sense of self-leadership, specifically developing a high level of self-awareness of his or her strengths and area of development in the crucial next-gen leadership competencies. These include emotional and social intelligence along with cognitive (mental) readiness in leading in the highly disruptive, digital and increasingly VUCA-driven business environment. Next, he or she needs to lead and engage the team by coaching them to success by adopting the proven SCORE™ High Performance Team Framework.
Organizational climate (sometimes known as corporate climate), simply refers to how employees feel about working in the organization. Organizational climate is the process of quantifying the culture of an organization. It is a set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in influencing employee behavior and engagement. By implementing Step 1 effectively along with the relevant human resource practices, the leader will create an organizational climate of trust between themselves and the employees who will be highly engaged and would want to remain in the organization.
The level of employee engagement is dependent on the organizational climate. Employees who are engaged and motivated are instrumental in delivering the required customer service experience for the client, which will result in customer engagement and retention. A consequence of the engaged employees will result in employee loyalty which will reduce the attrition rate and reduce the operating costs of hiring new staff.
Employees who feel fully committed to the organization for which they work take great pride in doing their job. They do more than is expected of them and go that extra mile. In doing so, engaged employees, in particular, the front-line service staff, will have an impact and inevitably influence the buying behaviors of the customers. The excitement of an engaged employee is contagious and cannot help but rub off on the customer.
The KPIs or metrics of success for the organization differs for each organization. However, one of the factors driving profitability and efficiency is the level of customer engagement or loyalty, since the cost of acquisition of new customers is reduced significantly. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees especially the customer-interfacing service employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from the internal high-quality support services and organizational policies that enable the front–line team to deliver excellent service to customers.
Managers often fail to appreciate how profoundly the organizational climate can influence financial results. It can account for nearly a third of financial performance. Organizational climate, in turn, is influenced by leadership style and by the way or manner in which the leader motivates direct reports, gathers and uses information, makes decisions, manages change initiatives, and handles crises.
The fundamentals remain that organizations need to continuously deliver service value and build good customer relationships to generate sustainable results through their satisfied and loyal customers. Employees being at the forefront of the service delivery chain hold the key to building this satisfied and loyal customer base.
Managing Director & C-Suite Master Coach, EDA, Inc.
Professor Sattar Bawany is the Managing Director & C-Suite Master Executive Coach with EDA in Asia Pacific. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Executive Education (CEE). EDA is the Strategic Partner of Centre for Executive Education (CEE) in offering a suite of Executive Development solutions in the Asia Pacific region. Prof. Bawany is also an Adjunct Professor of Leadership and member of the Advisory Board of the Curtin Graduate School of Business (CGSB) of Curtin University, Australia.
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