Total Employee Engagement Is Not an Option

Total Employee Engagement Is Not an Option

Employee engagement is not an option for your company.  With service expectations continually going up, an engaged workforce may very well make the difference between you being a profitable, well thought of company, organization or association – or not.

As it is the frontline employee who has the most contact with the customer and prospect, it is their interaction with them that provides that successful, meaningful relationship with an anticipated return visit or referral.   

The quality of the interaction starts with the degree of engagement your employee has and shows each customer, each time they come into contact with them. Another way of looking at it is called: “knowledge translation”.  The customer can tell when the employee is not there for them by the lack of communication, empathy and understanding of their inexperience.

The bad news of employee engagement:

Surveys show that only 30% or employees are fully engaged.  That means the majority of your employees are either fully disengaged, doing all they can to drag down your reputation, or at best, just biding their time until something better comes along.  So how well and often do you measure your employees’ commitment to you, the company and the customer?

The good news of employee engagement:

A highly engaged workforce understands what it takes to create and maintain trust in the company, will on average improve your bottom line by: generating 20% higher revenue, create a better reputation for you, go above and beyond the expectation of the customer and the job, have better soft skills (communication, listening, empathy, responsiveness, time to consult), have fewer sick days, be more creative and have higher morale.  There is a greater commitment to the mission and fellow workers, personal growth is championed and there are fewer complaints to deal with, meaning your strategic goals are achieved quicker and customer / patient / resident satisfaction scores and retention levels go up!

To create a culture of employee engagement takes 3 key ideas:

  1.       Total management engagement and accountability.  Everyone being committed to providing the resources, support and training to all employees, regardless of their role and responsibility.
  2.       Empowered and enthusiastic frontline employees that understand just how important they are to the success of the organization by how well they perform their job, regardless of the circumstances that make it less than ideal for them.  A 1% change in an employee’s engagement attitude translates to a 2% change in customer satisfaction scores.  When they understand the role and impact they have, and get acknowledged and supported for it, personal productivity can jump up 40%.   
  3.       Execution of the cornerstone of employee engagement called “K.E.E.P.”.  which is paying attention to the details.

The Magic of Employee Engagement is “K.E.E.P.”

K: Keep the good people you already have by supporting, educating and promoting them.  De-staff your negative performers by corrective action planning.  Track complaints, measure productivity, set up accountability agreements so that when they are not met, you can validate their termination.  If you do nothing to eliminate the negative people in your workplace, that means you consent to that attitude and performance level. This is far from employee engagement.  

E: Empower your people.  Empowerment means seeing the best in others, helping them see it in themselves and then holding them accountable to bring that every day.  My acronym that sets out what that looks is S.A.M.  

  • “S” means set high expectations of the work day, performance levels, quality of work, customer contact touch points and attitude.
  • “A” means provide lots of acknowledgements and appreciation.   We thrive on knowing we did a good job.  When someone does great, exceeds the expectations, goes out of their way to get the job done or help a customer, let them know how much you appreciate it. Rude, negative or indifferent employees are not acceptable and should not be tolerated by anyone.  Make your people feel important by what you say to them and how you say it – and the return will be immediate.
  • “M” means, make a difference for them by believing in them more than they believe in themselves.   Help them step up and take on new duties and activities, showing them a better future awaits.

E: Education makes the difference. Apart from the required ongoing professional education requirements your people may need, the best way to educate and inspire consistently better service, is to provide regular additional education opportunities. When your people are learning, they are not leaving.  The best way, is to have your frontline employees deliver a customer service workshop unique to your needs to everyone. Peers teaching peers, is magic for you.

P: Play.  Make your workplace time together fun by regularly playing together.  Loyalty at work is crucial and the impact one employee can have on another one is significant.  ‘Sticky Relationships’ or friendships, ensure you want to stay where you know that you matter, that you make a difference in the lives of others.  In an environment where no one cares about the culture or their co-workers, it is easy to decide to leave as you know you won’t be missed.  Plan quarterly (or more) department wide events where everyone turns up and has fun.  Have time set aside to acknowledge the great performance stories by individuals or departments since the last quarterly get together.  Get creative on what the event theme will be and where it should be held.  Do not scrimp on the cost as the return will be immeasurable in attitude, appreciation and increased teamwork.

Conclusion.  Done properly, a ‘K.E.E.P.’ culture of employee engagement will ensure you grow, sustain and maintain motivated, customer driven employees that improve on the care they provide the customer that creates a better experience, improves communication, reduces stress, empowers all other employees, and effectively deals with the non-performers.  Employee engagement means better individual performance, higher productivity and improved profitability – it pays off.

Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee

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