There is an old joke about a CEO who was asked how many people worked in his company. His answer: “About half of them.”
It has the ring of truth. According to studies, only 30% of employees are fully engaged in their jobs. 50% of employees are somewhat engaged. And 20% are actively disengaged.
I’ve never seen a company with engaged employees and unhappy customers. Engaged employees drive results, positively affect attitudes, and enable a company to outperform its competitors. They drive customer satisfaction, product and service quality, and revenue growth. When Herb Kelleher retired as Chairman of Southwest Airlines last year, he said, “You have to treat your employees like customers. When you treat them right, then they will treat your outside customers right. That has been a pwerful competitive weapon for us.”
The five things you need to know about improving employee engagement:
1. Engaged employees feel valued. No matter how well a person fits the job, or understands the business, he or she also needs to feel valued to be engaged.
2. Leadership is required. Leaders who build commitment also build engagement. Getting compliance through control is never the same thing as building commitment.
3. Make sure HR practices reinforce engagement. For example, if teamwork is important, is it reinforced with compensation plans, or do rewards focus on individual performance?
4. Engaged employees are involved. Employees value having input on decisions that affect them.
5. Only let the right people into your culture. If you hire the right people to begin with, you’re way ahead.
6. Take your foot off the brake. Find out what gets in the way of people getting their work done and do something about fixing it.
For an expanded article, see http://www.leggecompany.com/articles.htm