What We Can Learn About Employee Enablement From the Prison Guards in Orange Is the New Black

I spent a good chunk of my weekend binge watching the new season of Orange Is the New Black. By association, it reminded me of one of our top blogs from a few months back – Nice is The New Black.  This got me thinking about the connections between the new season of OITNB and employee enablement and customer experience.

**Warning, if you haven’t watched the newest season of OITNB this post may vaguely contain spoilers.

This season the Litchfield prison guards find themselves in a pickle, as funding to the prison is cut and they have to figure out how to run their operation on a shoe-string budget. As with many companies in this position, the first thing that goes out the window is their job training and skills development.

Why Cutting Employee Enablement, Job Training and Skills Development Won’t Help Your Bottom Line

In season 3 of OITNB we see the Warden asking for situational on the job training for his guards, which is denied by the C-Suite leaders. This has repercussions for the proper functioning of the prison, could potentially jeopardize the safety of the guards and prisoners, and costs the prison more in the long term.

If you want your customers to stay longer, buy more and refer others it is critically important that you and your team are enabled to serve them the right way, at the right time, for the right reason. This means investing in your talent and enabling them with skills and competencies that they need to provide exceptional service.

Not only that, but your employees need to feel valued and recognized in order for them to be energized and engaged in their role. Your talent wants skills that make them more marketable now and in the future.

Ok, so maybe the OITNB guards don’t want their ‘customers’ to stay longer or refer others (at least you’d hope not), but comparably they want their experience to be safe, secure, hassle-free, and rehabilitating.

Front-line workers are in direct contact with customers on a regular basis, and have an intimate knowledge of what they want and need.

In OITNB, the prison’s C-Suite leaders don’t pay attention to the needs of their front-line workers at the expense of everyone’s safety, security and overall productivity and happiness.

Understanding your customer is essential to creating personalized, fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences and your front-line leaders are the gatekeepers of this information.

I won’t spoil the rest of the OITNB season for you, but if you’ve watched it let me know what you think about how the lack of leadership support for employee enablement affected both the employee and customer experience.

Read more about how you can enable your employees to better serve your customers in our new book Leading From The Front Line: Learn How To Create Exceptional Experiences.

Click here to view the graphic below.

NITNB Original

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