What you should know about employee engagement.
Companies today, across the board, want to draw and retain the best quality talent. Some of these same
organizations believe the best ways to do this is
to offer the most enticing perks one can
imagine. Setting up a sauna room, nap area,
paid days off, afternoon bowling and on and
Much confusion remains among employers as
to the differences between a happy worker vs
an engaged worker. Of course anyone would be happy with a free lunch but the point here is
understanding that engaged comes before happy. They are not necessarily exclusive. They just need to be
put in the right order. Your highest ideal, as an employer, is to develop a productive, creative, loyal and
passionate workforce. That will happen when you have engaged your people. The results will also impact
your customer base because your employees will better care about those who buy from you. Your buyers,
in turn, will tend to stick with you.
If you are a forward looking brand you will have to contend with the economic uncertainty out there
among consumers. No one has to tell you, the customer is always right even when they're not. Although
the level of consumer skepticism is high, this can work to your advantage if your employees are inspired to
provide great customer service and experience.
For example an employee may be happy at work but not necessarily investing their energy on behalf of
When surveyed, some employees might even claim to be happy and satisfied with their job but will not
hesitate to jump ship when another "opportunity" comes along. By coming to a better understanding of
what it means to be happy, satisfied and engaged you can take intelligent steps to improve your overall
workforce retention and performance.
As your organization's leader it is vital for you to involve your talent in executing your key business
priorities. What are they? What are your key performance drivers? Sales, attendance, safety, customer
service, loyalty? Improve on these by focusing on your most valuable asset. Your workforce. Economic
uncertainties such as taxes, government regulations and global competition are not things we necessarily
control. Employee engagement is. It is your most powerful asset because with that in place you can
accomplish more than you think.
What does an unengaged employee look like? Of course there are many tell tale signs. In a survey
conducted by the National Sleep Foundation almost 30% of workers fall asleep or become extremely
fatigued during work. Employees that spend hours on-line playing unrelated, non productive games during
work hours. One way that has been proven to engage these game players is with implementing
performance related games.
Employee water cooler, coffee clutch gossip or workplace conflicts can steal resources from you in lost
productive time. Heavy smokers who need to dash out constantly to indulge.
Gallup notes: "The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 BILLION
annually." There continues to be a larger number of employees who voluntarily quit due to being un-
engaged than the number fired or discharged. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
You could choose to fire those employees who behave unproductively or you can take inventory of your
employee engagement practices. Keep in mind it can cost you up to 30% of an employee's gross income to
replace them. Engaging your employees may prove a better alternative if possible. Are your employees
engage-able? A good way to know this is during the interviewing process.
Conducting a thorough interview will save you a lot time and resources especially when hiring sales people.
Signs that an engagement, incentive program is needed.
*Your present performance drivers are not up to snuff.
*You are able to determine that your performance shortfall is related to lack of motivation and
*The desired performance level has been identified, can be achieved and measured.
* Particular behavior changes are achievable.
*Select the right program.
*Establish your benchmarks.
*Train and Communicate
*Support your program
*Provide a wide selection of rewards that will emotionally appeal to all your participants.
*Measure your ROI with analysis and feedback.
*Regularly promote your program company wide.
Having a workplace that engages, recognizes and rewards will also build employee trust in you and your
Does your employee demonstrate an emotional commitment to your company's mission, goals and fellow
workers? If surveyed will your employee say that they trust your leadership and actually care about their
This could mean that an employee will put in extra hours to complete a task without being ordered to. A
sales person will stay on the phone after 5pm to resolve a customer issue. A computer programer may take
the initiative to pick up trash and tidy up the general area without the boss looking. A call center employee
will use some of their lunch time to make sure a new comer is up to speed. A driver will make an extra stop
simply because its important that your customer gets their delivery. A hospital employee will give extra
time and attention to help a visitor. Engagement results in involved and yes, even happier employees. That
means happier customers.
From a bottom line business perspective, engaged employees provide your company with higher stock
prices and profit margins. Why? Because those who are regularly being recognized and engaged will
willingly invest their time and energy in support of everyone's success. Your customers will enjoy a better
experience with your business which will boost customer loyalty.
Connecting the dots.
Improving engagement, recognition and reward will translate into higher productivity, higher customer
attention and care, increased sales, customer loyalty, repeat business and referrals, more profit and higher
There is no denying the difficult situations companies face today. Hard choices involve reducing your
workforce, cutting back on any present reward programs you may have now or even considering the idea
of relocating altogether. For those questions only your CFO knows for sure. We do suggest however to
consider also the opportunities available to you by implementing a well designed workforce engagement
initiative. Focus on increasing employee involvement in your company's goals while strengthening
communication among employees and leadership. Preserve your valued talent. This you still control. The
benefits are significant.