In the current landscape of talent wars and job-hopping, employee retention can seem like an impossible task. So, in 2016 we took responsibility to make a change and create and implement a clear differentiation on the market regarding both our business approach and our internal culture.
“In a very structured way, the Service Culture Programme has enabled our organisation to enhance the focus on people and customers and to deliver a greater experience”
Andreea STĂNESCU, VP Service Delivery EMEA, Stefanini
Focusing on innovation, people engagement and continuous service improvement, Stefanini Romania partnered with UP! Your Service Romania with the main goal to design a Culture of Service Excellence and the main commitment to build a better and inspiring future.
Two-years on, that integrated approach has not only had a marked improvement on employee engagement in our teams across several nations, but it has also won us a national award – Employee Engagement Initiative of the Year at the Romanian Outsourcing & Shared Services Awards.
All good plans start with a goal and ours was clear from the offset – to attract and retain the right people that share our ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit and ethos, with regards to the workplace, projects and client-approach. Here’s a snap-shot of how we did:
1. A Formula
Employee satisfaction and retention is multidimensional, so it was important for us to start with a strong foundation, which would enable us to proactively manage our culture – including emotional intelligence, employee appreciation, job stimulation and rewards. Our inside-out Service Culture transformation programme is based on the UP! Your Service principles created by the No. 1 Customer Service Guru in the world, Ron Kaufman, which include personal responsibility, appreciation and implementing high service values.
2. Open Communication
None of our achievements would be possible without the input and constant feedback of our employees. This is why we take an open and proactive approach to internal communication. Our annual engagement survey has seen a 20% increase in response rate, from 60% to 80%, whilst we have also seen higher scores for relationships with direct managers and team communication.
Making our employee experience as important as customer experience and mirroring our client promise of creative, fast and tailored solutions to our employees has been key to the results we have achieved.
3. A Strong Sense of Community and Empathy
A natural affinity exists when employees feel that they have a community that empathises with them and is genuinely interested in contributing to their individual growth. A strong community helps ground employees to a company, providing an anchor for development.
And, that’s why we created Smiles, a virtual role-model of Service Culture, that embodies the core ethos of the Smile, IT helps! vision – serving others by inspiring them to become Unbelievable versions of themselves. And, if there’s one thing that technology cannot replace it is human interaction and emotion, which is why we implemented the 7* pins of Smiles campaign – a collection of pins that promote an altruistic selfishness. The focus for all employees is to complete their own collection of ‘pins’ by taking action to create value for someone else. Each pin is paired with a personal, handwritten letter of gratitude, representing the gratefulness of others.
The result? An increased number of employees making the commitment to take action to create value for someone else.
The initiatives of our Service Culture Programme have not been determined by senior management, but instead by Stefanini employees throughout the business who have volunteered to work on the programme and share their views on what Unbelievable service looks like, alongside the steps the company can take to achieve this.
It is impossible to build a strong workplace culture overnight and you cannot have a service culture if your employees are not brought into the vision. That’s why giving employees the accountability and opportunity to build their own Service Culture Vision – “Smile, IT helps!” has proven to be so valuable to the spirit of our teams.
5. Growth and Gratitude
Companies can only achieve growth when the environment in which they work is conductive to development and gratitude. One of the greatest resources is the knowledge of your own colleagues, so in 2016 we launched the ‘Stefanini University’ where employees cannot only learn from external coaches, but also from their own colleagues.
Each month, Stefanini employees have also the liberty to decide what they would like to invest their benefits budget in, via fully integrated, online benefits programme.
Using our most valuable insight – that from our own colleagues – has helped us put in place the right proactive and reactive strategies to support employees with strengthening their emotional resilience and overall workplace satisfaction. So much so, that we have echoed aspects of Stefanini’s award-winning service culture programme to our offices in Poland and the Republic of Moldova.