Ageism in the Workplace: Transforming a Challenge into a CX Opportunity

Ageism in the Workplace: Transforming a Challenge into a CX Opportunity

Ageism is a critical issue in the workplace, particularly for women who are often labeled as either “too young” or “aged-out and irrelevant.”

Ageism negatively impacts employees and customer experiences (CX). Not sure how? Please keep reading and applying actionable advice, as every person can make a difference, from CEO to Intern!

Understanding Ageism in the Workplace

Ageism manifests in various ways, particularly against women. According to a Forbes article, “Companies choose not to hire women in their late forties due to concerns about family responsibilities and impending menopause. Similarly, women in their fifties and sixties face discrimination based on their age and appearance, while similarly aged men are offered jobs. To sum up, ‘there is no right age’ for women regarding career advancement”.

These biases not only stifle individual growth but also limit organizational potential by excluding a significant portion of experienced talent.

How Ageism Relates to Customer Experience (CX)

Ageism doesn’t only affect internal organizational dynamics—it also has a direct impact on customer experience. Here’s how:

Diverse Perspectives Drive Better CX:

Age diversity within a team enriches the collective perspective, leading to a deeper understanding of a diverse customer base. Older employees bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help in designing more inclusive and empathetic customer experiences.

Diverse Perspectives Enhance CX

Age diversity within a team enriches perspectives, leading to a better understanding of a diverse customer base. Older employees bring valuable knowledge and experience that can help design more inclusive and empathetic customer experiences.

Beyond Satisfaction: Enhancing Loyalty and Advocacy

Employee engagement is crucial for customer loyalty and advocacy. When employees, regardless of age, feel valued and included, their motivation and commitment to delivering exceptional customer service increase. Conversely, ageism can erode morale, negatively impacting customer interactions.

Knowledge Retention and Continuity

Older employees often hold critical institutional knowledge. Ageism can lead to the loss of this expertise, resulting in gaps in service quality and consistency. Retaining and valuing older employees ensures that this knowledge is preserved and utilized effectively.

A Catalyst For Change  

Despite its negative impacts, ageism has also motivated some women to become catalysts for change. As noted in the Forbes article, “Experiencing ageism has motivated some women executives to turn it into a catalyst for change. Some have used it as a push to start their own businesses, while others have become advocates for improved conditions and to combat gender ageism” .

These women have leveraged their experiences to create new opportunities and drive change within their industries, showcasing resilience and innovation.

Shifting the Mindset: From Problem to Opportunity

To transform ageism from a problem into an opportunity, organizations must adopt a more inclusive mindset and take proactive steps:

Recognize and Leverage Experience

Acknowledge the value older employees bring. Utilize their experience in mentorship and leadership roles to enhance team capabilities and customer service.

Promote Lifelong Learning

Encourage continuous learning and skill development for employees of all ages. This ensures all employees stay relevant and engaged, benefiting both the organization and its customers.

Foster an Inclusive Culture

Cultivate a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusivity. Challenge stereotypes, promote intergenerational collaboration, and create an environment where all employees feel respected and valued.

Actionable Strategies for Human-Centric Leaders

Company leaders can integrate age-inclusive practices to enhance customer experience:

Inclusive Hiring Practices

Ensure hiring practices are free from age biases. Create age-neutral job descriptions and train hiring managers to recognize and mitigate biases.

Supportive Policies

Develop policies that support an age-diverse workforce, such as flexible working arrangements and benefits that cater to different life stages.

Encourage Advocacy

Support older employees in advocating for better workplace conditions and combating ageism. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into creating a more inclusive environment.

Establish Feedback Mechanisms

Implement robust feedback mechanisms that allow employees to voice their concerns and suggestions. This helps identify and address age-related issues proactively.

Conclusion

Addressing ageism is not just a matter of fairness—it’s a strategic imperative that can enhance customer experience. By recognizing and valuing the contributions of older employees, organizations can harness diverse perspectives, drive employee engagement beyond mere satisfaction, and ensure knowledge retention.

Transforming ageism into an opportunity fosters a more inclusive and dynamic work environment, ultimately leading to richer, more impactful customer interactions. As we move forward, it’s crucial to ask ourselves: How can we turn ageism into a catalyst for positive change in our organizations?

What are your thoughts on how ageism and customer experience interconnect and how we can turn ageism into a catalyst for positive change.

 

Learn How To Deliver Better Customer Experiences Through An Engaged and Valued Workforce.  Watch My Linkedin Learning Self-Paced Course

Link Between Employee Offboarding and Customer Experience: Doing Both Right

Link Between Employee Offboarding and Customer Experience: Doing Both Right

How can a well-handled exit impact your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty?

Have you considered the potential revenue loss and damage to your company’s image when disgruntled former employees share their negative experiences?

While most organizations put significant effort into employee onboarding and integrating new hires, many neglect the nurturing and offboarding part of the journey. This oversight is a critical mistake that damages customer experience, company reputation, and employee morale.

Employee offboarding is often done poorly, resulting in three major losses: customers, remaining employees, and departing employees. Here’s why these losses matter and how to do employee offboarding right, whether you’re a CEO or an intern and everyone in between.

Why Employee Offboarding Matters More Than Ever

Employee offboarding is the formal process that ends the employment relationship between an organization and an employee, whether through resignation, layoffs, or termination. This process includes activities such as exit interviews, turning in company property, revoking system access, and final paycheck settlements. A well-handled employee offboarding process is crucial for several reasons:

Protecting Company Reputation

Employees discuss their departure experiences publicly through social media, online reviews, or word-of-mouth. A respectful, transparent offboarding process can turn a departing employee into a brand advocate rather than a detractor. Negative stories can tarnish your brand’s reputation, impacting customer perceptions and loyalty.

Retaining Customer Trust

Frequently, employees are also customers. A negative offboarding experience can lead them to discontinue using your products or services and persuade others to do the same. Conversely, a positive experience can reinforce their loyalty and encourage them to speak positively about your brand.

Reducing Legal Risks

Clear communication and legal transparency during employee offboarding can reduce the likelihood of litigation related to wrongful termination or discrimination claims. This not only protects your company legally but also maintains trust with remaining employees and customers.

Maintaining Industry Relationships

The world is interconnected, and treating employees poorly can sever valuable industry relationships. Former employees may become colleagues, partners, or clients in the future. Positive employee offboarding experiences can preserve these relationships and even open new opportunities.

The Emotional Impact on Departing Employees

Being let go from a job can trigger a form of grieving, representing a loss of professional identity. The departing employee needs time to process this transition and understand their rights in the offboarding process. A well-handled offboarding can provide closure and support during this difficult time, reflecting positively on your company.

Recommendations for Effective Employee Offboarding

To ensure a positive exit experience and enhance customer loyalty, CX leaders can implement the following recommendations, all featured in detail in the “Doing CX Right” podcast episode 133.

1. Prioritize Employee Well-Being

Treating employees with care and respect will reflect positively on how a company treats its customers. A positive employee experience leads to a better customer service experience. Ensuring that employees feel valued and respected throughout their tenure and even during their exit can significantly boost morale and customer satisfaction.

2. Leadership Training

Invest in leadership training focused on empathy, transparency, and respect to ensure leaders can handle difficult situations, like employee dismissal, without negatively impacting the overall customer experience. Well-trained leaders are better equipped to manage terminations in a way that maintains dignity and fosters a positive company culture.

3. Transparency and Honest Communication

Avoid common mistakes in employee-employer relationships by practicing transparency and honest communication. This can help build trust and loyalty among both employees and customers. Open and honest dialogue about the reasons for termination and the process involved helps mitigate misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

4. Respectful Employee Offboarding

Handle employee separations with empathy and respect rather than relying on performance improvement plans, which can create anxiety and a negative work culture that may spill over into customer interactions. A compassionate approach to offboarding can leave departing employees feeling respected and more likely to speak positively about the company.

5. Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Encourage leaders to continually learn and adapt to foster a positive culture. A positive employee environment contributes significantly to a sustained great customer experience. Promoting a culture of continuous improvement ensures that both leaders and employees are equipped to handle changes and challenges effectively.

Listen to Doing CX Right podcast episode below for more actionable strategies👇

Achieving a win-win-win is not just possible; it’s achievable!

Subscribe on your favorite podcast channel for ongoing updates: Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, iHeart Radio, etc).

Remember: by implementing these lessons, companies can transform their employee offboarding process into a strategic advantage, leading with heart to humanize business, enhance customer loyalty, and strengthen brand reputation.

 

Learn How To Deliver Better Customer Service Through An Engaged and Valued Workforce.  Watch My Linkedin Learning Self-Paced Course

How to Make Feedback a Gift, Not A Curse, in the AI Era

How to Make Feedback a Gift, Not A Curse, in the AI Era

Have you ever received feedback that left you feeling deflated, misunderstood, or resentful?

Or perhaps you’ve delivered criticism that inadvertently damaged a relationship or stifled innovation?

In a business landscape increasingly shaped by AI and automation, genuine human connection is rare. How we deliver feedback is more critical than ever, as it can either amplify our humanity or diminish it.

One of my guiding lights, personally and professionally, has been Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements.” It’s a book filled with profound wisdom. The agreement that resonates most deeply with me, especially regarding feedback, is “Be Impeccable With Your Words.” Ruiz reminds us that our words hold immense power – they can uplift, heal, or they can wound and destroy. And I would add, it’s not just the words themselves, but the delivery that makes all the difference.

Let’s disucss how this ancient wisdom can revolutionize your approach to feedback, both as a giver and receiver:

The Power of Impeccable Words: Lessons from “The Four Agreements”

In the book, Ruiz urges us to use language that is truthful, empowering, and aligned with our highest intentions. When it comes to feedback, this means:

  • Speaking with integrity: Avoid gossip, assumptions, and exaggerations. Base your feedback on observable facts and direct experience.
  • Avoiding harmful language: Refrain from using words that demean, belittle, or attack the person’s character. Focus on the behavior or outcome, not the individual.
  • Choosing words that uplift and inspire: Frame your feedback in a way that motivates and encourages growth rather than discourages or shuts down.
  • Taking responsibility for your words: Own your perspective, acknowledge your emotions, and avoid blaming or accusing.

Actionable Tips for Leaders: Applying “Be Impeccable With Your Words”

  • Cultivate self-awareness: Before offering feedback, check your own motives. Are you speaking from a place of genuine concern, or are you reacting out of frustration or personal bias?
  • Practice active listening: Give your full attention to the person you’re communicating with. Hear not only their words but also their underlying emotions and needs.
  • Choose your words carefully: Tailor your language to the individual and the situation. Consider the impact your words will have on their confidence and motivation.
  • Lead by example: Model the kind of communication you want to see in your organization. Encourage open, honest, and respectful dialogue at all levels.
  • Create a safe space for feedback: Foster a culture where employees feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback without fear of judgment or retribution.

Feedback in an AI-Driven World: The Human Advantage

As AI continues to transform the workplace, the human element of feedback becomes even more invaluable. While AI can provide data-driven insights and automate certain processes, it cannot replicate the nuance, empathy, and emotional intelligence humans bring.

By embracing the principles of “Be Impeccable With Your Words,” business leaders can leverage this human advantage to:

  • Build stronger relationships: Foster trust, loyalty, and collaboration among team members.
  • Enhance performance: Encourage continuous learning and development through constructive feedback.
  • Drive innovation: Create a culture where new ideas are welcomed and nurtured, even if they come with a dose of healthy criticism.
  • Differentiate your brand: Deliver a customer experience that is authentic, personalized, and rooted in genuine emotional engagement.  

In Conclusion

In the age of AI, where algorithms and automation are reshaping how we work and interact, the power of human connection is not diminished—it’s amplified. By being impeccable with words, we can elevate our organizations, inspire our teams, and create a future where technology and humanity work harmoniously.

The question is: What will you choose? Will your words empower and inspire, fostering growth, collaboration, and innovation, or will they discourage and deflate, creating barriers to progress and undermining trust?

The answer may determine not only your success but the lasting impact you leave on your business, your team, and the world.

If you like this article, continue reading about

CX Leadership Lessons From “The Four Agreements”

The Four Agreements and CX Lessons Learned by Stacy Sherman

Learn How To Deliver Better Customer Service Through An Engaged and Valued Workforce.  Watch My Linkedin Learning Self-Paced Course

Cultural Intelligence: Improving Customer Service and Relationships

Cultural Intelligence: Improving Customer Service and Relationships

Doing CX Right podcast show on Spotify with host Stacy Sherman
DoingCXRight-Podcast-on-Amazon-with-host-Stacy-Sherman.
Doing Customer Experience (CX) Right Podcast - Hosted by Stacy Sherman
Doing CX Right podcast show on iHeart Radio with host Stacy Sherman

What’s the difference between emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence?

Are cultural differences negatively impacting your customer service and overall business success?

Do your teams struggle to communicate effectively across diverse groups?

Listen to this week’s episode of Doing CX Right, where intercultural leadership expert Professor Andy Molinsky of Brandeis University joins host Stacy Sherman.

Together, they explain why cultural intelligence is essential for delivering exceptional customer experiences in our global marketplace. Discover strategies to bridge communication divides, avoid cultural blunders, and build meaningful connections with customers from varied backgrounds.

    Culture Inteligence & Customer Service Experience Takeaways:

    • How cultural nuances influence customer expectations and satisfaction.
    • Enhancing cultural intelligence to improve business relationships
    • The role of empathy and emotional intelligence in cross-cultural customer service
    • Strategies for effective communication across diverse teams and customer groups
    • Ensuring feedback mechanisms like surveys capture cultural subtleties

      Timestamps

      03:47 Quickly build rapport with commonalities and connections.

      09:58 Paraphrasing and using synonyms for clear understanding.

      12:08 Culture comprehension usually rests at individual level.

      13:55 Assess cultural intelligence in local, specific situations.

      17:43 DEI spending is important, but fluctuates.

      21:15 Prepare for crisis to avoid chaos and conflict.

      26:08 CX and relationships: respect, relatability, reliability, culture awareness.

      28:17 AI like Google on steroids, useful but flawed.

      30:19 AI unites people from diverse backgrounds.

       

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      About Andy Molinsky:  

      A Professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School, with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychology.  Andy received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and M.A. in Psychology from Harvard University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in International Affairs from Brown University.  

      Andy’s work helps people develop the insights and courage necessary to act outside their personal and cultural comfort zones when doing important, but challenging, tasks in work and life. His research and writing has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine, Psychology Today, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, NPR and Voice of America

       Connect with Andy on LinkedIn.

      About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®‬

      Customer experience and marketing global keynote speaker, journalist, co-author of two books, advisor, and host of the award-winning DoingCXRight podcast. Known for her Heart & Science™ framework that helps you gain profitable clients and brand loyalty–fueled by an empowered workforce. Stacy’s been walking the talk for 25 years as a strategist and practitioner at companies of all sizes and industries, i.e., Liveops, Verizon, Schindler Elevator Corp, Wilton Brands, and AT&T. She’s also a board advisor at multiple universities, featured in Forbes and other top-rated publications.

      Her Why: To cultivate loyal relationships and meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives. Contact Stacy for DOING Customer Experience (CX) and Service Right, not just TALKING about it. Continue reading bio >here.

      Keyword themes: Doing CX Right podcast business ,customer service  company culture

      Customer Experience Role Making An Impact? These 3 Signs Say Yes

      Customer Experience Role Making An Impact? These 3 Signs Say Yes

      How to Measure Your Impact in Customer Experience Roles

      In the rapidly evolving field of customer experience (CX), gauging your effectiveness and assessing your impact can seem challenging. While quantitative metrics provide valuable insights, they only reveal part of the picture. The true measure of success lies in your ability to enrich lives – those of your customers and colleagues. My article explores three critical indicators that signify your work in customer experience roles is not just meeting, but exceeding expectations, enhancing business performance, and positively impacting the experiences of everyone you interact with.

      The Importance of Qualitative Indicators in CX

      Before focusing on these indicators, it’s essential to understand why qualitative measures are just as vital as their quantitative counterparts in customer experience roles. In the dynamic, human-centric realm of customer experience, the emotional and psychological nuances of interactions often provide deeper insights into your effectiveness and influence. These non-numeric indicators can guide improvements and inform strategic direction, ensuring that businesses don’t just meet but surpass customer expectations.

      1. Internal Recognition

      The Role of Cross-Departmental Collaboration

      One telling sign of the value you bring to an organization in your customer experience role is when colleagues from various departments frequently seek your counsel on CX matters. This internal recognition – whether in the form of casual consultations or formal project involvement – underscores your expertise and your instrumental role in embedding a customer-centric mindset across the company.

      As highlighted in my podcast episode 45 with NPS creator, Fred Reichheld, true customer advocacy goes beyond just measuring scores – it involves actively helping customers become enthusiastic promoters of your brand. Your ability to influence cross-functional projects with this mindset in your customer experience role is key. It transcends individual outcomes and shifts the entire organizational culture towards more customer-focused decision-making, manifesting in tangible improvements to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business performance.

      Impact on Company Culture

      Beyond individual projects, the impact you have on the company’s culture through your customer experience role is another clear indicator of your expertise. When team members from various departments naturally incorporate the customer’s viewpoint into their decisions, it directly showcases your successful promotion of a customer-focused mindset.

      2. Ongoing Customer Engagement

      Building Trust Beyond Transactions

      Another powerful indicator of your impact in customer experience roles is the continuation of customer relationships long after formal interactions have concluded. This sustained dialogue signifies more than just the trust customers have in you; it’s a mark of the profound, lasting impression you’ve made on their experience with the brand.

      As emphasized in Doing CX Right®‬  podcast, genuine customer recommendations and referrals are far more valuable than gimmicky loyalty programs. By fostering authentic connections that extend beyond transactions, you’ve effectively transformed customers into advocates – a pivotal force that propels business growth and cement brand reputation.

      3. Public Endorsement

      Leveraging Content to Drive Engagement

      In today’s digital age, public endorsement of your expertise and insights is an increasingly significant indicator of your impact in customer experience roles. High levels of engagement with the content you share – whether blog posts, social media updates, or other channels – signal your ability to resonate with a broader audience beyond your immediate professional circles.

      The positive reactions from this public sphere not only validate your approach to CX but also confirm your position as an influential voice and thought leader within the industry. Check out Doing CX Right podcast episode 69 as Mark Schaefer and I discuss the revolutionary power of CX, Social and Influencer Marketing.

      Expanding Your Impact

      Public endorsement has opened up new avenues for dialogue and continuous improvement in your customer experience role. Feedback from public channels has proven instrumental in shaping strategies, refining processes, and driving innovation within organizations’ CX initiatives.

      As Reichheld emphasized, businesses that prioritize treating customers well – enabling them to return and refer others – are the ones delivering real value to investors. By actively engaging with and learning from this broader community, you’re solidifying your expertise while ensuring your impact resonates far beyond your organization’s walls.

      Integrating Insights into Action

      The feedback and recognition you receive in your customer experience role – whether from colleagues, customers, or your public audience – can serve not merely as validation of your current practices but as inspiration for further innovation and continuous improvement within your CX strategies.

      From Insight to Implementation

      This pivotal step in customer experience roles involves translating the qualitative insights gleaned from the 3 indicators into actionable strategies that tangibly enhance the customer experience and propel business success. For instance, a recurring theme in customer testimonials about your ability to simplify complex processes could inform the development of more user-friendly interfaces or the streamlining of specific workflows.

      Similarly, internal recognition of your cross-functional collaboration skills in your customer experience role might prompt the formation of interdepartmental task forces or the implementation of more integrated communication channels – both of which foster a more cohesive, customer-centric approach across the organization.

      The most successful companies have processes that keep the customer front and center, using metrics beyond just financials to truly understand if they’re enriching customers’ lives. By actively listening to and learning from these qualitative indicators, you’re paving the way for your organization to continually elevate and redefine the customer experience.

      Conclusion: The Ripple Effect of Your CX Impact

      In customer experience roles, your impact extends far beyond driving business outcomes or meeting performance metrics. At its core, your work plays a crucial role in enriching the lives of individuals – customers and colleagues alike.

      The internal recognition you garner, the lasting connections you forge with customers, and the public endorsement you receive all serve as powerful testaments to your ability to positively influence experiences and foster a customer-centric culture that permeates every aspect of your organization.

      As summarized in my Doing CX Right®‬  podcast:  The principles that lead to a fulfilling life, such as treating others as you would want your loved ones to be treated, also lay the foundation for a successful business. Adopting this mindset and constantly aiming to improve experiences, your influence in customer experience roles extends far and wide, touching the lives of many. This creates a domino effect that not only uplifts your organization but also fosters a more empathetic, customer-centric world.

      So, while quantitative metrics will always play a role in assessing performance in customer experience roles, remember to celebrate and nurture these qualitative indicators – for they are the true barometers of your ability to make a profound, lasting difference in the realm of customer experience.

      Learn How To Deliver Better Customer Service Through An Engaged and Valued Workforce.  Sign Up For My Linkedin Learning Self-Paced Course