9 Innovative Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

WP Engine's Vice President of Customer Experience, Tina Dobie, believes that employees who are happy and engaged at work deliver a better experience when working with customers.

We've all heard the stories from Google and Facebook and the innovative perks they provide their employees - from sweets shops and nap pods to free gigs and on-site day cares; all to motivate their people and keep them happy in their jobs.

But while these big tech firms can afford providing the more expensive perks, this isn't always within reach for the average company, or even start-ups. So what can you do to increase employee engagement within your business?

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CX Network spoke to Tina Dobie, Vice President of Customer Experience of managed WordPress hosting provider WP Engine – which works with clients such as Network Rail, Cancer Research and Digital Shoreditch – about some of their tried and tested ways to increase employee engagement and ensure a great morale all year around.

WP Engine was founded with the customer at the centre of their business and, as Tina said, "if employees feel valued, they serve customers in a much better way". She leads a team responsible for delivering technical support 24/7/365 to over 30,000 customers globally, so she knows what she is talking about!

Today Tina shares 9 of the innovative ways in which WP Engine encourages employee engagement as a platform for delivering a fantastic customer service; from a high-five wall and kudos, to warm cookies and a real focus on training and development.

Training: New hires in Technical Support (on the Customer Experience team) attend 2 days of New Employee Orientation, 3 weeks of structured classroom training and 4 weeks of mentored, on the job training; all before they are able to answer any customer questions on their own!

WP Engine also hosts a weekly continuous learning session for the whole company called "FFN" or "Full Frontal Nerdity." FFNs are geared toward technical, geeky topics that benefit the teams by continuing to develop the skills and knowledge they need to deliver an exceptional customer service experience.


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High-five wall and kudos: At any time, anyone in the company can take a few minutes to write a thank you note on a hand-shaped sticky note. All sticky notes are then displayed on a "High Five" wall in the office for all to read. Tina says that when people are recognised by their peers, it makes them feel good about the work they are doing.

In addition to the high-five wall, when a team member receives customer recognition, anyone in the company can email the customer testimonial, recognition or story out to the entire company. Similarly, anyone in the company can recognise anyone else, or a team, for a job well done. Receiving Kudos in such a public way makes team members feel valued.

Supercharged Awards: WP Engine also holds quarterly, peer-nominated awards for team members who exhibit their Core Values. This quarterly award is presented to 6 deserving people (one for each of the core values, plus a manager/leader).

Open workspaces: The company encourages collaboration and communication when troubleshooting customer issues. There's high energy on the technical support floor because everyone wants to help each other to solve customer requests.

Daily lunches: A nice perk that keeps people happy and focused on helping their customers is the provision of a daily lunch. It not only saves employees oodles of time having to prepare lunches at home or go out to buy food each day, but it also encourages the teams to share a meal together and get to know one another better.

Warm cookies: On their first day in the Austin office (regardless of their home office), all new hires receive an order of warm cookies from local Austin company Tiff's Treats. They are then responsible for walking around to introduce themselves to other team members and use the cookies in exchange for the introduction.

Tina adds that this is not only a fun way to meet people, but also that people who know each other collaborate more. And when team members collaborate more, they solve customer issues faster.

Free parking: The company provides free parking, even on weekends, making it easier to hang out with colleagues.

Core Values: Two years ago, the team built Core Values based on what WP Engine stands for and how they hold themselves accountable. They challenge each other daily to exhibit these values as they are what keep them grounded.

Since everyone is a shareholder at WP Engine, each team member has a vested interest in maintaining the culture and ensuring the "do the right thing" on behalf of the company, each other, their partners and, most importantly, their customers.

All Hands Meetings: Each quarter, WP Engine brings the teams from all four offices (Austin, San Francisco, San Antonio & London) together for a week of collaboration, planning and celebration. They spend the week sharing business updates, planning & prioritising short-term projects and longer term initiatives, and celebrating their "work family".

Tina explained that they firmly believe that empowering their teams to understand their business and help create its future is what drives engagement. And engaged employees naturally deliver a more authentic and helpful customer experience.