I just learned a new word, skimpflation, and it doesn’t make me happy. I’m a customer service and customer experience (CX) expert. I help my clients create amazing experiences for their customers and employees. Skimpflation goes against everything I believe in and work for. Unfortunately, it may be something that is out of our control, and many of us are noticing and feeling its impact.
Skimpflation, a word that came up on a recent episode of NPR’s Planet Money podcast, is a result of rising business costs and labor shortage. The “Great Resignation” has been a major contributor to this ugly word. Many employees have chosen to quit their jobs in search of a better life. Some have moved on to better or less stressful jobs, while others have chosen to retire early or found ways to take an extended leave from working. What this means to many businesses is that they can’t keep enough employees to deliver the experiences and customer service that their customers previously enjoyed.
Maybe you’ve been to a restaurant and noticed the service was much slower. Or you’ve been a victim of canceled flights because there was no crew available to fly. Perhaps you’ve gone to a store and can’t seem to find an employee to help, or called a company’s customer support number waited on hold even longer than usual.
The Great Resignation has put companies in the precarious position of having to cut services, which is now known as skimpflation.
Skimpflation is not a business strategy. A company’s leaders don’t say, “Let’s skimp on hiring enough employees. Let’s try to diminish the level of service our customers have enjoyed.” No, they don’t want that. They have been forced into it. Many businesses have been forced to reduce their hours, and in some cases, go out of business. No, the leadership of good organizations would not choose to implement a skimpflation strategy.
So now we that know about the problem, what’s the resolution
Is it as simple as paying higher wages? Maybe flexible work hours? There are many factors that go into creating a job that people want. Here are a few thoughts.
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It is about money, at least a little bit. You have to pay someone fairly, but money is not the No. 1 reason employees leave a job. It’s lack of recognition and appreciation for their work. Assuming you pay a fair wage, what employees want is a good boss who recognizes them for the work they do. They also want growth opportunities, which might mean a promotion, but it could also be about learning, which is personal growth.
My friend Tim Durkin says that employees want to be needed, noticed and known. Let employees know how valuable they are to the organization. Let them know you notice when they are doing a great job. Get to know your employee as a person.
In my book, The Amazement Revolution, I write about creating a workplace culture of F.U.N., which is an acronym for fulfillment, uniqueness and next. You want fulfilled employees who enjoy coming to work. Let them use their unique talents and do what they do best, as it fits into their job. And, get employees excited about what’s next. It could be a new product, new software or just loving their job so much they look forward to coming back to work the next day.
Ultimately, you don’t want people coming to work just for a paycheck. If that’s the only reason they come to work each day, it’s the same as the customer who is always looking for the lowest price. But in this case, it’s the employee looking for the largest paycheck. So, pay them properly, but also make them feel fulfilled, appreciated for their unique talents and excited about coming back to work tomorrow. Let them know they are noticed, needed and appreciated.
An employee experience that creates loyalty is every bit as important as a customer experience that creates customer loyalty. Today that may be more important than ever.