Employee engagement? It’s no mystery

Yes it’s people who are our greatet asset, but more; it is our people’s strengths… so set them loose. NAOMI SIMSON

Naomi Simson

By Naomi Simson

I think one of the reasons for our recent Hewitt employee engagement score of 97% is because we do things differently. We have an employee experience manager rather than a HR manager.

One area that we have fantastic engagement is with the team that answers the phone every day…. day in day out. This team is the personification of the brand.

The customer service team at RedBalloon is not the average call centre. This is our Pleasure Relations Team – simply because they are responsible for ensuring customers have a good time on their experiences purchased through RedBalloon.

We also mix up their week, finding out what they are interested in and how it can add to the business. Our Pleasure Relations consultants are assigned project time every week allowing them to add value in other ways and to take a break from the high-pressure environment of answering calls 37.5 hours a week.

Some of the team for example: Brendan and Cindy both take on organising events and team building days for RedBalloon clients. Mitch works in the IT support team for a few hours each day. Ben is a father of a young child who works part time and uses his expertise as a dad to assist design gifts for men. Emma and Olivia work with the marketing team conducting competitor research while they complete their communications degrees at university.

As I like to say: “Instead of saying people are our greatest asset… we like to say our people’s strengths are our greatest asset.” I think the key to our current engagement level is employees using their strengths in the majority of the work they do. Also that they know the game they are playing every day… and they go home feeling like winners.

Arielle, has been able to draw from her background in television and film production as well as staff training, to edit video RedBalloon website. Like her fellow colleagues Arielle is well aware of her strengths (communication, responsibility, woo-er, relator and activator) and the value she adds to the business.

“I look forward to project time because I then contribute to other parts of the business, I can nurture my strengths and creativity and get out of the office,” she says. “Which means when I’m with the customer I am more generous with my time and have the energy to be as empathetic as I can.”

Many companies are investing time and money into web interfaces, which attempt to answer all queries. Voice recognition systems are designed to appeal to consumers on their mobiles wanting to make a speedy transaction.

“Sometimes the customer just wants reassurance, they want to hear our personalities. Especially if you’re an online brand, people aren’t particularly online savvy so we hold their hands through the purchase. Often they need to feel a level of trust,” says Arielle.

Call centre agents are at the forefront of the action, they need to be personable, empathic and most of all resilient. They are the bridge between image and reality of your brand and pivotal in establishing your brand equity. It pays to take them out of the high-pressured environment, giving them the chance to add value to the business in other ways.

“As they say, variety is the spice of life. To be interested in other people all day everyday you need to stay interesting. It’s really important to do other things” says Brendan, pleasure relations manager.

I challenge you to think about what you could do differently. Also have a look at what it is like inside RedBalloon.


Naomi Simson is the founder and CEO (Chief Experiences Officer) of RedBalloon Days, Naomi is passionate about pleasure! Backed by enthusiasm, energy and drive and recently named one of Australia’s best bosses (Australia’s Marketing Employer of Choice), the Entrepreneurs Organisation (Sydney Chapter) President 2007 – 2008 and mother of two, Naomi also inspires others as a regular speaker, writes a blog and has recently completed her first book .

To read more Naomi Simson blogs, click here .



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