Companies stand out with organizational excellence

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Employees are at the heart of organizational excellence. (Image: Getty Images)

Organizational excellence is a term used frequently by companies to define how they seek to stand out by putting processes in place to motivate employees to better serve customers.

But there is no template for how to carry it out, and companies, while knowing they want organizational excellence, have different ways of going about achieving it.

Organizational excellence has to be paired with operational excellence and people excellence, said Oxygen Experience CEO Juliana Stancampiano. “There must be alignment in how they are organized, how they operate and how they ask people to behave and show up at work.”

Not one system  

When it comes to organizational excellence, “it’s not one system or approach over the other, but instead all systems, operations, organization and people have to be able to work together in alignment,” Stancampiano said.

To achieve organizational excellence, each employee must have key qualifications to successfully perform a job and be motivated, said Radoslaw Nowak, NY Institute of Technology assistant professor of HR management.

Companies can enhance organizational excellence among their employees by designing appropriate training for employees and to motivate them, employees must believe that there are clearly defined and transparent processes that determine such things as who gets a pay raise, who gets promoted and who gets training opportunities, Nowak said.

Managers must set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound performance goals for each employee, Nowak said. “When companies ensure that qualified employees have control over their tasks, they can fully utilize their skills, provide feedback regarding process improvements, and develop new skills.”

It's imperative

“Organizational excellence is imperative to keep both customers and employees happy,” said Amir Shub, General Manager, Americas, at Smartly.io, an ad tech company.

To achieve this, “a great way to structure an organization is to implement self-organizing teams, and that hinges upon a strong company culture and goals, as well as complete transparency about company decisions and direction,” Shub said. “Only then can self-organizing teams be successfulwhere teams or certain departments have full ownership of their work, what they decide to prioritize and how they choose to work.”

The benefit of this kind of operational approach “is employees feel more accountability to customers and it builds a fast and consistent feedback loop between customers and, say, product development teams or customer service teams,” Shub said. “Working closely with customers, with employees making autonomous decisions, also maximizes product or project development speed. Not only does this yield faster results, but better ones, too, where customers’ needs are being listened to and met.”

“Our success as a company derives from the individual contribution of every single employee,” says Lawson Products CEO Michael DeCata. “To acknowledge their commitment, we launched a social media-driven effort across multiple platforms with tremendous results. One aspect of our #MakingAnImpact campaign involved sales reps, customers, and corporate employees posting selfies from training sessions, customer sites, Lawson offices and distribution centers. Hundreds of photos accentuating the tremendous work employees do for and with customers and one another. And it was fun.”

Company success is one measure

“One way to define organizational excellence is in terms of typical company successes,” said Hannah-Hanh Nguyen, associate professor of management, Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “Another way to define organization excellence is to evaluate a company’s ongoing efforts to come up with effective and creative processes for incentivizing their workforce, which in turn meets customer’s needs. In this scenario, continuous learning about what makes your workers get up energized in the morning and motivated to do a good job is the ultimate barometer of successwithout considering whether these attempts are fruitful in improving the company’s bottom line.”

Organizational excellence “begins and ends with the people on your team,” said Jennifer Keough, CEO of JND Legal Administration.  “The trick as a leader is to find what works best for your team.”

The best CEOs “are not the smartest or hardest working or most innovative,” Keough said. “They are the ones that surround themselves with the best people.”  

Keep employees happy

Often, companies fail their employees, Keough said. “When an employee isn’t happy, isn’t challenged, isn’t interested, that employee will not perform to their fullest.  The key then is to find a way to unlock the passion for each employee.  I don’t mean to imply that every employee is expected to find nirvana at work.  But sometimes people simply become more vested when they are given better goals or more responsibility.”  

“Our philosophy is that happy and engaged employees produce happy customers, as employee engagement lies at the heart of good customer experience,” said Paul Segre, CEO of Genesys.

“If you want your customers to feel supported, valued, and heard, you must first ensure your front-line employees feel supported, valued, and heard.”

To enhance organizational excellence, Genesys adopted the Net Promotor System (NPS), a method and set of tools around collaboration, culture, improvement and innovation.

“NPS offers a consistent way to track progress on customer-centric improvements and influences everything from staffing decisions to product enhancements,” Segre said.

'Continuous improvement'

Voya adopted Continuous Improvement (CI), which it describes as a management system designed to continually maximize quality, efficiency and problem-solving to improve the employee and customer experience.

CI “is about establishing the tools and structure that empower our people to bring their best to work every day,” said Nan Ferrara, executive vice president of operations and CI. “Our frontline colleagues are closest to our customers, and they know the work most intimately. The CI framework enables us to focus on developing our people and enabling them to problem-solve issues that impact the customer experience.”