Public Service Recognition Week: Use Customer Feedback & Employee Listening to Celebrate Your People

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Here are two ways to let public sector employees know they’re appreciated, during Public Service Recognition Week and beyond.

This Public Service Recognition Week we’d like to give thanks for all of the government employees who impact our lives every day. These workers are unsung heroes, and rarely get the credit they deserve for the public service they provide.

Currently, 7 of the 10 most thankless jobs are in government, and, according to Gallup’s research, the main reason why employees leave their jobs is they don’t feel appreciated. We all know what’s at stake when employees leave public service — agencies struggle to deliver on their mission of serving the people. 

The good news is that making public sector employees feel appreciated is a lot easier than leaders may realize, and we have two Public Service Recognition Week ideas that can be put into motion right away. 

1. Harness the voice of the customer to provide much-needed praise for your employees

Leaders often wonder how to use customer feedback, and one of the most effective ways is to create a more inclusive culture at work by sharing what customers are saying directly with employees. Using customer stories and sharing them with employees is an incredibly powerful way to celebrate your employees for their standout work during Public Service Recognition Week and beyond.

A great place to start? Listen to what customers are saying about your employees right within your own contact center or help desks. These public workers are doing the very hard, and often passion-fueled, task of serving the people across the nation, helping to ensure everything’s working within an organization — they’re really the eyes and ears of not only public sector organizations, but the hearts of the nation as well. Government contact center employees are truly meeting the people where they’re at, helping solve problems in the moment.

Feedback that customers share over email, phone calls, SMS, and live chat — this direct customer feedback — can help motivate and inspire employees. But how can organizations uncover these insights at scale? Public sector agencies can leverage speech and text analytics, which use the power of AI to instantly transcribe, analyze, and draw safe and secure takeaways from these contact center conversations.

Agencies can also use real-time customer feedback platforms to capture further learnings about how employees are impacting customer satisfaction and loyalty. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses open-ended comments from surveys to recognize and reward staff who receive positive feedback

Private sector brands like Birchbox,, Resident, and Earnin empower their employees by:

  • Collecting real-time customer feedback immediately following customer service interactions
  • Democratizing access to customer insights with frontline workers, so they can know how they’re performing and how they’re making a difference, in the moment
  • Sharing customer praise within the company’s employee rewards and recognition program, making sure to recognize employees during all-hands meetings and company emails
  • Automatically displaying positive feedback on Slack any time an agent on the customer services team receives a top rating

Other ways agencies can capture customer feedback, beyond conducting contact center listening and using voice of the customer surveys, includes capturing customer signals via comments and reviews posted on social media platforms, review websites, and other online channels.

It’s easy for government workers to lose sight of how their contributions are really playing a part in making a difference on the bigger level. Using these sources of customer learnings can help these individuals see how they’re contributing to the values of the organization.

Recognizing employees who receive exceptional feedback by leveraging these methods will not only boost morale, but encourage others to emulate these valued behaviors.  

2. Harness the voice of the employee to highlight team member contributions

Beyond customer listening and capturing customer feedback, using employee feedback is another effective way to help employees feel recognized. Employee listening can help uncover what is vital to employees, and these insights in turn can allow agencies to take meaningful action in the moment.

Great organizations are built by great employees, and how employees connect and serve one another is central to how agencies operate. Just as looking at customer experience can shed light on how employees are contributing to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement, looking at employee experience in relation to internal service providers can shed light on how employees are contributing to internal metrics like employee satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.

Leaders can increase trust and transparency in the workplace by sharing access to data and incorporating positive findings into their messaging and storytelling. These efforts lift employees up on a regular basis, highlighting their contributions and performance. 

Being able to hear positive feedback and see how their work is making a difference can keep mission-driven employees feeling motivated.

Going Beyond Public Service Recognition Week

Successful agencies thrive when they cultivate a culture of connection, communication, and collaboration, and a big part of that connection, communication, and collaboration is facilitated by positivity and celebrating wins and learnings.

Employees want to know that their work matters. External customer feedback and internal employee feedback serve as reminders, a north star of why everyone working in the public sector does the work they do, to serve the people.

And with real-time customer and employee listening technology solutions, it’s easier for leaders to listen better, with more intention, and in a way that enables agency employees to connect the dots so that they see themselves in the work, even if they’re a few layers removed from the public.

People want to work in organizations where they feel celebrated and valued. Agencies that recognize their workers on an ongoing basis have a culture where people are more willing to adapt and where people prioritize customer and employee experience best practices. In organizations that fail to elevate employee morale, the signs are obvious — there’s a lack of collaboration and trust, the silos are bigger, there’s a culture of fear, and employees struggle with problem solving.

That’s why celebrating public service workers needs to happen more than once a year — it’s time to recognize public service employees all year long.

Download our Definitive Guide to Employee Experience for more ideas on improving your employee experience, engagement, and satisfaction.