No matter what industry you are in, the companies that stay competitive are the ones that evolve and adapt. Staying on top of the latest trends in leadership, employee development, and human resources helps organizations retain the best talent and attract new talent. At Eagle’s Flight, when we see an increased interest in certain training programs, we get a glimpse at what is important to organizations at any given time. The three most popular trends we’re seeing for 2019 are customer centricity, people centric leadership, and employee engagement.
An increasing number of businesses are focusing their efforts on improving the customer experience. An Econsultancy report found that most organizations cite the customer experience as the single most important opportunity for the year ahead and highlighted several important reasons leadership should not ignore the trend toward customer centricity. The report showed that the organizations that are truly customer centric—with all individuals and teams making decisions based on how they will impact the customer—are nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their business goals by a significant margin.
It’s clear that focusing on building a customer centric culture yields strong returns. However, the report also states, “A great customer experience doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a highly coordinated approach across the whole organization, with commitment from the top of the business to put the customer at the heart of all decision-making.” Shifting a culture starts at the top and requires participation from everybody in the company. Leadership must be committed to making the customer central to all decisions and must model behaviors that support this commitment.
People Centric Leadership
Employees naturally want to work with leaders who have empathy, conviction, and authenticity. Unfortunately, according to UC Berkeley professor Dacher Keltner, many leaders experience the “power paradox.” That is, the higher they climb up the ladder, the worse their behavior gets. In his research, Professor Keltner found that corporate leaders are three times more likely than subordinates to interrupt or insult others, multitask in meetings, and raise their voices.
This phenomenon is not caused by a lack of leadership training, but by the type of leadership training people receive. Focusing training on topics such as finance, business strategy, and management skills is important, but these can’t be the only pieces of the puzzle. Emerging (and existing) leaders must also learn foundational soft skills such as how to communicate with a leadership presence, provide relevant feedback, lead change initiatives, and so on.
According to the 2018 Gallup engagement survey, employee engagement is on the rise. The report shows that 34 percent of employees are engaged, which is the highest benchmark the survey has ever seen. The number of employees who are actively disengaged is also at a historic low at 13 percent. This is great news for employers, and it’s no accident. Organizations have been investing resources in improving employee engagement and are now seeing their efforts bear fruit.
This should serve as motivation for companies to continue their efforts to increase engagement, and as such, business results. According to Gallup,
“Organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors. Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes.”
One important component of boosting engagement is training and development, specifically of high potential employees. This requires commitment from leadership to develop and implement a robust program that helps employees achieve their career goals.
A Recipe for Success
It’s no surprise that these trends represent three of the most important components of a successful business: customers, leaders, and employees. It’s also important to recognize that focusing on just one of these areas is not enough. It will take a comprehensive, well-strategized approach to truly succeed in the coming year. Take a look at the state of your business and evaluate how well you’re doing in relation to each of these trends. Identify the areas that need work and invest in training and development to ensure success in all areas.