By Jeff Puritt
In this time of economic turmoil, business and political leaders are faced with seemingly binary choices. Protect the environment or the economy? Caring for people or the bottom line? Restore or cut?
Fortunately, these are false dichotomies, in my view—doing good is good for business, good for the economy, good for humanity, and good for the planet. Emerging research continues to validate the thesis. And it’s certainly been my experience as a CEO over the past 15 years that in any economic climate, it’s always a safe bet for companies to invest in their people, technology, and community.
Invest in Your People
The world’s workers are often unhappy. That’s the main takeaway from Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report; 60% of surveyed employees were out of work, and 19% described their experience as “miserable.” Despite all the charms and scarce resources during an economic downturn, is it really in a company’s interest to prioritize investing in employee engagement?
Absolutely. Employee experience has a tremendous impact on companies’ bottom lines. A new study, based on three years of detailed employee and financial data from 1,000+ brick-and-mortar stores across the global retail brand, found that if the average store improves employee engagement measures from the bottom quartile to the top quartile, the organization increases. its revenue is more than 50% and its profits are almost as large. A recent report by Gallup had similar findings; Business units with employees have 23% higher profits than those with employees who identify as miserable at work.
The business value of high levels of employee engagement became clear to me again during our time recent acquisition of WillowTree, a leading full-service digital product provider. Investing in its own people-centered and caring culture, WillowTree’s leadership team has done significant due diligence to find a natural fit, carefully reviewing potential employee buyers and metrics. to join in to see if the walk matches the talk. To quote Tobias Dengel, the founder and president of WillowTree, a TELUS International Company, “Employees are voting with their feet.”
Invest in Your Digital Experience
IT infrastructure, digital tools, and solutions for employees and a stronger digital customer experience are always in demand, regardless of the economic climate—and they are fast becoming core parts of competition. The top three priorities for senior industry leaders over the next 12 to 24 months are to retain and develop the best people while driving a simplified customer experiencereducing the number of calls and costs, and building their digital care and advanced analytics ecosystems, according to a 2022 McKinsey survey.
Technology that enables, engages, and supports your team members and your customers is a good use of your resources. Investing in technology—such as chatbots, digital coworkers, collaboration platforms, and communication tools—that make employees’ jobs easier and faster is a smart move to drive efficiency and engagement.
Invest in Your Communities
Providing communities with meaningful economic opportunities improves the quality of life where your employees live, work, and raise their families. It’s the right thing to do and a fantastic way to ensure your business has continued access to an educated, qualified, and diverse talent pool. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our employees’ children and grandchildren become future team members.
Investing in doing well also helps companies win business. Last year, I saw a sharp increase in requests for proposals from customer prospects that included rigorous questions about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and environmental programs. , social, and governance (ESG). And this interest demands more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer—prospects expect specific details about our DEI and ESG goals and the metrics we track.
I have seen firsthand the business value of these investments at TELUS International. A global real estate tech leader recently informed us that our commitment to culture and diversity was a key factor in its initial decision to do business with us—and subsequently expand our partnership support portfolio. with the first year. Similar feedback from a global tech giant who told us that we distinguish ourselves from the rest of its partners through the thoughtful and direct ways we provide where we live, at events such as TELUS Days of Giving, which focuses on strengthening social infrastructure and environmental stewardship around the globe.
Whether your organization is poised to grow, stretched thin, or in a fight for survival, investments in your people, technology, and communities will pay off in the long run. Based on my experience, these are always good investments. Doing the right thing is the right way to inoculate your business against exogenous events, while positioning your brand for sustainable growth even in the most trying times.
Find out how TELUS International can help transform your organization and motivate your team to deliver the best customer experiences.
Jeff Puritt is president and CEO of TELUS International, a global digital customer experience provider.