What happens when your employees are engaged and what does it mean to have engaged employees? “Employee engagement” is a hot topic these days. Employees and HR almost inevitably create issues and frustrations with business owners and CEOs. According to a 2018 Gallop Poll 34% of employees are “actively engaged”, 16% of employees are “actively disengaged” and 53% are “not engaged”. Believe it or not, the 34% of employees who are actively engaged is the highest ever since the poll started in 2000. Frightening. That’s barely one-third of the workforce.
So, why is employee engagement so important? Well, having engaged employees who will go the extra mile for the company is crucial to the company’s long-term success. This shows up everywhere: employee productivity, job satisfaction, the ability to get employees to refer other potential employees and, of course, the satisfaction of other stakeholders – customers, suppliers, etc.
One company I worked with recently has been really focused on improving their culture. They engaged a couple of their junior people to meet with all of the other junior people in the organization to identify what was working and areas for improvement (which was prioritized). The results were fabulous. The two people assigned to the project did a great job getting everyone to open up, share and help identify how the organization can be improved. They were totally engaged as were the rest of the junior people – everyone was vested in making the organization better.
Have you done an internal survey to identify if your employees are satisfied with their work? Do they care about the company and where it is going? Are they thinking like business owners and taking appropriate risks to help move the business forward?
Engaged employees work hard, they are innovative, motivated, champions and leaders throughout the company. Other employees benefit as do customers and suppliers. If your employees are engaged or are disengaged, then that is the experience your customers will have as well.
Another company polled their customers and learned that the business was considered “good but not great”. And when asked if customers would refer the company to others, the response was rather low. Yet when asked if they were satisfied with what the company delivered it was a high response. Very telling. One of the key pieces of feedback is that the employees didn’t have the knowledge and expertise.
What has the company done? They have invested heavily in employee training at all levels – technical, management, etc. This was huge for the employees, and they embraced it and appreciated the investment the company was making in them. As a result, the company is moving closer to great (do you ever really reach “greatness”?). Customer satisfaction is up, referrals are up, sales and profits are up… In short, people are engaged, they are motivated, and they are more curious thereby being more innovative and creative.
Small and mid-sized business owners can’t afford to have employees who aren’t engaged. Not if you want to remain competitive and grow. What are you doing to promote employee engagement? Need ideas? Let me know.
By Blair Koch