If you are a business owner or in senior management, you are acutely aware of the negative factors that seem out of your control. Factors undermining your business growth and profitability. Higher taxes, rising costs, competition, regulation, employee dis-engagement and unforeseen market changes. These things can raise your blood pressure and even threaten your business survival.
However, the good news is you can get control of one very vital asset by focusing on employee engagement.
To paraphrase American theologian, Reinold Niebur: its vital to know what things are out of our control, its courageous to act on changing the things we can and wisdom to know the difference.
Take control. Focus on employee engagement. It offers you great returns.
Here are some things to know and what to do about capitalizing on a most valuable asset. Your workforce.
There is no shortage of economic pundits and the numbers speak for themselves. Mismanagement, undercapitalization or rotten leadership. Pile on top of that a BDO LLP's conclusion: "Business failure rates will rise 10% over next two years." Are you a small business? By this stage, you might decide to turn off the faucet, shut your doors and leave the heat of the kitchen. If you are a big boy you might relocate, cut your workforce dramatically, reduce product quality, service or go into Chapter 11 before remerging, good as new. If you are the CFO or financial director of your company you may be forced into a very unpleasant choice of cut, slash and reorganize.
You can control your employee engagement. The benefits and ROI are very good.
When it comes to employee engagement a substantial misunderstanding remains about what it is and what it is not. An active employee does not always equate to an engaged one. We can all site numerous examples where a member of your workforce is busy but emotionally uninvolved. Similarly, a not so active employee can be passionate about their role in the company and the work they do. Their's is a deep feeling of being connected to your goals. Why? You've engaged them.
Customer behavior also gets better with an engaged service team. Take the medical field for example. Employee engagement directly effects patient care.
Are you the CFO of a hospital? You know the high costs of losing personnel. According to a NC Nursing Task Force report:
"Nurses report lower job satisfaction than other professionals, which is problematic because job satisfaction is strongly correlated with turnover and retention."
The Flip Side
ROI studies from clients show that investment in employee engagement can result in increased sales, higher profits, more customers and a happier staff. Author Kevin Kruse echoes similar conclusions in his book: "How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement."
You can create a culture of individual and team participation. On health, product knowledge, sales, patient care, safety or anything else you want. One example might include the simple act of placing slogans around the office. Post a message about your goals, your mission. That will reinforce a sense of community. Utilize the latest communication tools via intra blogs or video announcements. That will bring your workforce together. Promote your theme and encourage employee collaboration.
The assistance of a professional incentive company will help you design a positive, uplifting program with measurable results. Collaboration is a next step beyond just regular engagement.
CEO of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn on Employee Engagement.
A note about cash rewards.
Sure who doesn't love cash. Once received it is quickly forgotten. Not to mention possible tax implications for all. Cash rewards do little to nurture that level of engagement and collaboration you want because money has no trophy value and is gone quickly. Cash is not king.
When your workplace environment is toxic and employee recognition is absent your customers base will suffer and your "rock star" will most likely jump ship.
Case in point is the story of Greg Smith. Disengaged and disillusioned, after 12 years with Goldman Sachs he resigns.
"And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for."
According to some estimates his leaving cost Goldman Sachs over $2 billion.
An un-engaged workforce can be big time costly. Some of the most revealing studies on employee and customer behavior come from Gallup. More than 75 years providing research and analytics, here is what they say.
The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 BILLION annually.
70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same.
78% would recommend their company’s products of services, against 13% of the disengaged.
Engaged employees advocate their company or organization – 67% against only 3% of the disengaged.
86% of engaged employees say they very often feel happy at work, as against 11% of the disengaged. 45% of the engaged say they get a great deal of their life happiness from work, against 8% of the disengaged.
Higher levels of engagement are strongly related to higher levels of innovation. 59% of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas against only 3% of disengaged employees.
18% of dis-engaged employees actually undermine their co-workers’ success.
72% of US workers are not engaged in their work. Defined as essentially sleep walking throughout their day.
A small sample of stats which raises the question:
Do CFOs and Human Resource leaders have at their fingertips the ability to change the economic fate of a country? What do you think?
Co author of The Purpose Linked Organization, Alaina Love writes: “HR leaders can work effectively to create a culture in which the passions of the employees have the license to thrive. You have the capacity to turn around those engagement numbers in a big way, and in turn, increase productivity, which impacts the economy.”
You can help employees define and more completely understand the passions for their role in your organization. Love continues: “the outward manifestation of individual purpose and the connection with organizational purpose is key. Individual purpose shows up as visible and measurable passions that impact results.”
Are you clear about your vision and purpose and how to connect your employees to your organization's goals?
Do you sincerely feel your employee's work matters? Do you have a plan in place that connects your workforce to your overall mission?
With what and to whom are you recognizing and rewarding?
You can control the growth and profits of your business, more than you might have previously thought.
Of course, employee engagement provides benefits to everyone.