Watching people connect in the workplace will tell you a lot about a company. In over 25 yeas in business, I have found that by observing how people interact, one quickly understands how a company operates, its effectiveness and its level of employee engagement.
One of the perks of being a management consultant is the opportunity to visit literally hundreds of different organizations. I always try to arrive at scheduled appointments early. The condition of the facility, the initial greeting by the receptionist, and the interplay of employees provide me a wealth of information about the organization’s culture. Am I greeted with a smile or am I another intrusion? Are employees talking with one another, engaged and animated or disinterested and frustrated? Is the “feel” of the organization warm or cold?
You can get that same read in a restaurant. My wife and I frequent the many fine area establishments. We both watch for how we are treated by the host and our server. The chef can make a fabulous meal, but it is the host and server that make the experience—and they will determine whether or not we return. We expect a smile; a cheerful and helpful attitude; quick and knowledgeable responses to questions and requests; and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make our experience positive. When that happens we return – frequently. And we also tell our friends. Engaged workers engage their customers and engaged customers buy.
Gallop recently released their annual poll on employee engagement (2013 State of the American Workplace Report) and the results are not good. Only 30% of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full time jobs are inspired and engaged at work; 20% are actively disengaged; and half are not engaged at all. In other words, 7 in 10 workers are either simply showing up or are actively sabotaging their companies. It gets worse. Only 41% of employees feel they know what their company stands for and what makes it different from the competition. And of these workers, “Millennials”, those born between 1980 and 1994, are likely to quit their jobs in the next 12 months if the economy continues to improve. Finally, service workers, those employees with the most direct contact with the customer, are the least engaged of all workers. Imagine – customer service reps, bank tellers, sales clerks, wait staff, call center reps – those individuals who have the greatest daily customer contact, those employees upon whom employers depend to take care of the customer; the very face of the organization, are the least engaged. Remember, disengaged workers directly impact the company’s bottom line. The CEO may set the goals and direction of the business, but it is these workers who determine whether it reaches them or not.
The news is not all bad. While the national statistics are damning, organizations are not condemned to follow. Great organizations have engaged workers, but they must first have engaged managers and supervisors. Studies show that without them, a committed workforce is nearly impossible.
Great managers create engaged workers and when that occurs, organizations enjoy significantly higher productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, less turnover and absenteeism, and even fewer on-the-job accidents. Gallop even found that organizations with an average of 9.3 engaged employees to every actively disengaged employee experienced 147% higher earnings per share compared to their competition. You can take that to the bank, literally.
The best organizations are lead by and with strong managers who demand excellence from their staff. These managers set high standards and mirror it in their own behavior. Successful organizations hold their managers accountable for their department and staff’s performance. Every employee, manager and non-manager must buy into the company’s philosophy or they must go. The evidence is clear. When all employees are willing to do whatever is takes to make the company successful; embrace the direction of the firm; and value their customers, then success follows. And it all hinges on good management. It is that simple.
The formula for success is not complicated. It may take hard work to achieve and investment in their people, but the benefits are huge.
Customers know. Whether they’re shopping at the local store, purchasing a car, ordering dinner or calling customer service, they quickly realize the level of engagement by the employee with whom they interact. That singular exchange will often determine whether they buy or not and whether they’ll ever return to buy again. Organizations will likely have engaged customers when they have strong management and engaged workers, and engaged workers means higher sales and greater profits.
Other posts you may want to read (click to read):
- Where Has Company Loyalty Gone?
- Costly Turnover Can be Controlled
- Employees Providing Great Customer Service?
If you want to know more about how I can help you, click here: Dacri & Associates, LLC