Ownership and accountability at every level

Ownership and accountability at every level

Ownership and accountability at every level Fadel ChbihnaHRD is pleased to announce Fadel Chbihna as a speaker for the November HRD Leaders Summit. The industry veteran outlines his team’s two-year efforts to decrease employee attrition and improve customer satisfaction by empowering 7,000 front-line workers. For more information, visit hrleaders.ca.

Customer service and call centres are on the front lines for so many organizations and their clients, but these employees are often the last to receive the training and attention needed to yield top results. Rogers SVP Fadel Chbihna tells HRD how the telecommunications giant turned that trend around

It’s an increasingly recognized truth: Customers judge any brand based on their experience with that organization’s front line.

“They are the brand when they are talking to the customer, and you can’t empower people if they don’t have ownership,” says Fadel Chbihna, SVP of customer relations and operations at Rogers. “It’s a really critical moment because that’s what the customer will talk about to their friends and on social media rather than the brand overall.”

“You need your front line to understand they are the brand when they’re talking to the customer. It’s not Fadel talking to the customer, it’s Rogers.”

Focusing on the front line employees at Rogers has meant effecting change in more than 7,000 people across the country. Chbihna and his team focused on one “unit of change” – the 200 first-level managers and their direct reports – as the target for coaching. The goal was to implement training that would trickle down to the front line.

“The first thing we did was to define the behaviours that support the brand promise,” Chbihna says. “Every culture is built on behaviours, and when we defined those behaviours we could develop coaching based on those behaviours.”

These front line managers were established as the change agents and trained as coaches so they could encourage the necessary behaviours in their teams.

One of the biggest measures of success for the program was in an improvement in employee attrition, which was beyond anything Chbihna expected.

“If the employee feels they are treated well, they understand where they are going, they believe in the values and they are the ambassador for the brand, I believe, that makes for a positive work environment and they will stay,” he says. “The attrition was one of the key elements for measuring success.”

Customer complaints also decreased as Chbihna’s team studied where the sore points were so they could specifically target behavioural changes to improve those problem areas. The team also saw sales more than double over a year as its new methods were rolled out.

A cross-functional, integrated approach was key to the program’s success.

“We embedded HR in every meeting so they understood when they are looking to target specific programs they can develop them based on what the group is trying to achieve,” Chbihna says. “When we talk about coaching, it’s not about how many people are coached; it’s about the effectiveness of the coaching and the result. We can link the sales or savings to that coaching model by comparing the people who did not take part in the coaching.”

This feature is from HRM Canada's July issue. Download the issue to read more.