The Power of Engagement
When you walk through the doors of a business establishment of any kind you get a feeling, a vibe, from the people who work there. Are they happy to be there? Excited? Switched on? Energised? Genuine in their interactions with you and each other? Or are they the opposite? Think about how that difference makes you – the customer – feel. Now think about your own business through this same lens – how do your employees and your customers feel?
Employee engagement is key to the success of any business. However, in a service environment, the emotional climate is mission critical. You cannot possibly have a disengaged workforce and create an outstanding customer service experience. The same holds true in any business, in any industry. This energy, this emotional connection is the essence of engagement.
Much has been written about engagement in recent years. Nonetheless, engagement is often misunderstood. It is not merely “satisfaction”, happiness, or liking your job. True engagement is a strong emotional connection with one’s work – to the role, to peers, to leaders, to the organisation itself and its mission. When present, it creates a unique passion and energy that can be seen in the discretionary effort employees provide. It is what makes people go above and beyond to surprise and delight. When absent, it is a productivity and service killer.
Engagement Produces Results
Engaged employees bring their best to work every day – they give their full discretionary effort, not just the minimum required. They are happy, satisfied, motivated, and committed. What organisation does not want that? What organisation would tolerate the opposite?
Employee engagement results in demonstrable benefits to the bottom-line in terms of customer satisfaction and financial performance.
Creating a culture that engages your employees and brings out their best every day is not just good for people, it is also good for business.
A key study by Gallup (2010) compared the top and bottom quartiles on engagement and found that high engagement produces:
- 49 percent lower turnover
- 37 percent less absenteeism
- 27 percent less shrinkage
- 49 percent fewer accidents
- 12 percent higher customer satisfaction
- 18 percent greater productivity
- 16 percent more profitability
Engaged employees go above and beyond what is expected, enhancing productivity and organisational effectiveness. Employee engagement can be measured and it can be improved.
Engagement is the fuel that sustains all other people practices. In a strong culture where your people score high on the engagement markers that are essential to your success, your most passionate team members will be loyal and proud in good times and in bad. They will go beyond “their job”; they will help each other when needed; they will exceed your customers’ expectations and drive bottom line business results.
In an engaged culture, loyalty abounds: The customers remain loyal to your brand, and your people remain loyal to each other and their leaders.
An engaged culture spreads your reputation throughout the community as a great place to work, where the people respect each other, and where their careers are in excellent hands.
Building a culture of engagement starts with having a clear picture of your current state and, most importantly, bring about the needed culture change to enhance employee engagement and your resulting business performance. It is not enough to measure employee engagement; you then need to take real action to improve it and hold leaders accountable for their results.
Michelle M. Crosby
Founder and Principal, Crosby Consulting LLC
Michelle M. Crosby, Ph.D. is an industrial/organizational psychologist and human resources professional with over 25 years of practical, hands-on experience in human resources consulting and corporate HR leadership roles. She is the founder and principal of Crosby Consulting LLC, a human resources consulting firm focused on the strategic advantage organizations gain from their people and the special role that leadership, talent, and culture play in creating organizational effectiveness. She has spent half of her career in consulting and half in corporate roles, most notably as Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer at FRHI Hotels & Resorts (Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands) and SVP, Human Resources at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. She is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and business meetings on HR strategy, leadership development, talent management, selection and assessment, employee engagement, and service culture.