Employee Engagement – one of the most discussed buzzwords when it comes to company culture and considered one of the highest determining factors of a company’s success. Yet, what does engaged mean?
I like to take care of my body. But no matter how well I feel things are going, I still need to see my doctor for a checkup to let me know how everything is actually running. Answering a couple questions will let the doctor know what I am experiencing and how I think I am feeling – yet my point of view is limited. So the doctor pulls out his wide array of tools, including his stethoscope to check my heart and its flow.
If your company’s mission is the heart, then employee engagement is the veins and arteries that make your mission come alive and flow well.
So what does engaged mean? Let’s look at how a few thought leaders define it.
According to Kevin Kruse, a serial entrepreneur and author of Employee Engagement 2.0, employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, bringing their whole heart and passion to work each and every day. Employee engagement is the indicator of how much, if it all, an employee cares about the company beyond another paycheck, another pat on the back, or finally getting that corner office.
As noted by Kenneth Thomas, author of Intrinsic Motivation at Work: What Really Drives Employee Engagemen, Employee engagement makes external rewards become a byproduct of an employee’s intrinsic rewards such as a meaningful purpose, progress, and achieving their purpose.
So beyond smiling faces around the office and a different atmosphere, what do you gain from focusing on employee engagement?
Let’s be completely honest – this is business and being profitable is a necessity. Your mission is key, but won’t happen if you’re profits are tanking. Employee engagement drives business more than anything. Even the greatest of products need engaged employees. According to Gallup, companies in the top quartile of employee engagement outperformed those in the bottom quartile by 22% rise in profitability. These companies experience higher net profit margins due to better customer service.
#2 Customer Service
Employee engagement makes for the best customer service. We’ve all experienced service that restored our faith in a company. We’ve also had the call where a customer service representative makes things worse (are there any mobile carriers that aren’t awful to deal with?!)
We express our love for a company and their product because of the employee who went over and above for us. We can re-create these positive experiences in our customer service by fostering a culture of engagement. Engaged employees willingly go the extra mile, work overtime, and find ways to keep the company moving forward.
#3 Present Employee’s
Research on employee engagement found that companies in the top quartile compared to the bottom quartile experienced up to 37% less absenteeism. You want employees showing up day-in and day-out; alert, attentive, and ready to knock the ball out of the park. Providing a culture that makes showing up exciting produces a night and day difference for your employees, and in turn helps your company succeed.
Absenteeism happens year after year in sports as numerous elite athletes are condemned for their lack of effort. While there may be a myriad of reasons why, a disconnect from team values is a surefire reason. Effort and an engaged culture is why great teams like the New England Patriots in the NFL are so admired for (of course I am completely bias here as they are THE BEST!). Despite injuries, allegations, and other challenges, the Patriots are consistently in the top tier of the NFL because every member of that organization is connected to the team’s values – churning out winning season after winning season.
So what does engaged mean? It means profitability, customer service, and present employees. Now that you know employee engagement is important, how do you approach and engage your teams?
In Part II of this series What Does Engaged Mean? we’ll explore this question further, giving you the tools to create an engaging culture in your company, ignoring monetary incentives and inspiring employees to achieve their meaningful purpose.
Have you checked the heart, pulse and flow of your company? If not, maybe it’s time. Time to create a company culture based around values, driving retention, and employee engagement.