In this video I’m going to tell you why employee engagement is so important to you, to your business and to your community and world.

Hi! This is Jody Ann Johnson and welcome to another video.

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Why is employee engagement so important?

Well it’s really quite simple. When people are engaged, they perform better and your business grows.

That’s it. It’s actually that simple.

There is a massive investment in employee engagement and employee engagement programs, and many of them are not working.

So why has employee engagement become such a huge topic, and such a big industry?

Well, the reason it is, is because although it’s that simple, it’s not an easy thing to do.

You see, employee engagement isn’t a thing. Employee engagement is actually a feeling, it’s an emotion.

And, how do you tap into the people on your team’s heart and emotion? It’s actually quite hard to put in place, if it’s not already there. You’ll have to reverse however long a time, maybe years, of people feeling disengaged.

The statistics from Gallup say that only 3 in 10 employees are actually engaged at work here in the US.

That leaves you 7 that are either unengaged or actively disengaged, sabotaging your business.

That’s a scary statistic!

Every workplace has to keep working at it. Said another way it’s never handled. Because you’re not dealing with machines you’re dealing with human beings and human beings can be messy at times. Let’s just admit even ourselves.

Great growth is all about the engagement of your team. The venture capitalists call this the engagement advantage.

There’s real money being left on the table when employee engagement is not working in your business!

Companies that enjoy high levels of employee engagement outperform their competitors by significant statistical numbers. As high as eight times what their competitors are doing!

And that advantage is an absolutely critical aspect of you being able to navigate through the disrupt in every industry that’s unfolding in our in our world right now.

People don’t leave a business. They leave a manager or supervisor or a boss that they don’t like that they don’t trust, that they don’t feel has their back, that they feel is indifferent towards them. They’ll leave.

Let me tell you a story about two managers I had in the emergency department where I used to work, many years ago.

One of them’s name was Steve. I didn’t like Steve. I didn’t trust Steve. All the things I just said, all of that was real for me with him.

Lee on the other hand was the reason I came to work at that hospital in the first place. I had worked with her in another facility and she was great. I knew she had my back. I liked her. I trusted her. I respected her.

So when they needed somebody to come in for an extra shift, when they were really busy, or someone had called in sick, if Steve was on my phone I wouldn’t even answer it.

If Lee called me, I said “What time do you need me to be there.” That made all the difference in how that actual day would go and unfold in that hospital. Somebody willing to come in because they knew they were valued. They liked, and trusted, that manager, versus somebody who wouldn’t even take their calls.

One of the best books that was written, has been years ago now, is by Pat Lencioni on the ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’. So let me take you through those those five levels on the pyramid.

The first one, at the base, is called an absence of trust. It’s almost impossible to build anything in an absence of trust on a team.

The next level above that is a fear of conflict. When there is no trust, people are unwilling to engage in what we call healthy ideological debate. They’re going to sit it out. They’re going to wait and see. And they’re going to avoid conflict.

As we climb the ladder from trust and fear of conflict, the next level is a lack of commitment. When people haven’t had a say and they don’t trust, they’re not committed. They’re not committed to anything other than defending, protecting and kind of keeping in their small world being safe.

Above that level is an avoidance of accountability. When there’s no accountability in a business, It’s pretty much a free for all. Stuff gets done, but it’s really not building anything.

At the next level is an absence of results. The absence of results keeps a business either flat or dissolving, but building doesn’t happen.

Now, as I said earlier, people leave supervisors, bosses and managers that they don’t like, don’t trust.

The game changer in business, right now, really is investing in your people and actually driving Eemployee engagement.

The rules of engagement really are the rules of human interaction. And while it’s simple, again it’s not easy.

Let’s talk about some of the reasons why it’s important.

People who are engaged come to work with a smile on their face. Engaged employees are 87 times more likely to stay, than disengaged employees!

They don’t call in sick!

The statistics are actually 2.69 days per year versus a disengaged employee which is 6.8 days out of the year. So if it’s raining outside, a disengaged employee doesn’t even want to come in!

Probably one of the biggest reasons why is, because engaged employees treat your customers better! And you will never have better customer service from an employee, than the way you treat that employee!

Some managers spend all their time looking at the numbers and they forget about the people side. Then you have other managers who spend all their time interacting with the people and forget about the numbers. A really smart business balances those two. They’re looking at the numbers and they’re tracking things ROI and things like that, but they’re also keenly aware that they live and die based on the engagement of their team.

When leaders talk to their people, listen to them, give them opportunities to grow, train and develop them, and keep them focused on the goals of the business and their own personal goals, they outgrow their competition. Hands down!

Let me talk a little bit about engagement, what it is and what it isn’t, because sometimes people think “Oh, it’s employee satisfaction,” or they have to be happy in the workplace, or they need or want more money.

It’s really not any of that!

They say, and I believe, that engagement is the emotional connection that an employee has to your organization. It’s the heart that they bring to your business. You can manage the body and the mind, but you really can’t engage the heart unless people feel that they are cared for.

And remember, in the beginning of the video, I was saying that engagement is challenging because it’s not a hard fast thing, it’s a feeling, it’s an emotion and that’s why it has to be tended over time. Because, as you know, even in yourself, your feelings might shift from moment to moment, certainly hour to hour, and throughout the day. So engagement is never handled.

If an employee is simply satisfied, they’ll take a call from that recruiter. If they’re happy, that’s not really enough, because they might be happy playing on their cell phone but that doesn’t mean that they’re actually producing the result that needs to happen in your business.

When someone is engaged they take ownership. They will give discretionary effort to productivity, to sales, to customer service, to being able to reach the company’s goals.

So, while all of this seems like soft stuff, it actually has a very hard ROI!

Employee engagement is the lever that can move the dial of your business.

It’s the secret sauce!

I think one of the most important things here, to get, is that disengaged employees cost your business in ways that you’re not considering. For one they take a lot more time to manage. They actually create greater and greater levels of tension between the colleagues in the workplace. They stir the pot. They will sabotage your productivity in ways that you may not be aware of. Maybe they won’t order the supplies that you need, so now you’re behind the deadline. They will do things consciously and unconsciously to create disrupt and upset in the business.

When you talk about an actively disengaged employee, they’re not just unhappy and difficult to manage. They’re actually resentful! And, they consciously do things to make things harder for your business to grow!

The good news is, that’s usually around maybe one to two out of that 10 employees, and, I’m sure that you know exactly who it is in your business, if you have one.

I want to give you a little bit of education into the biology of why this is happening, because you may think it’s all like emotions and such, but the important thing to realize is, that logic does not drive behavior.

The prefrontal part of our brain helps us to do thinking, but thinking doesn’t drive behavior. You may know the benefits of doing something, but, at the same time, go ‘you know, it it just doesn’t feel right.’

The limbic part of our brain, which is the aspect that drives behavior, is responsible for our emotions, doesn’t have access to language, that’s a prefrontal cortex attribute. So, in the feeling world, which drives behavior, we have to make sure that we’re considering the emotional environment that our team is operating in and manage that.

Another way of saying it is that, as a leader, your job is to manage the energy in the environment of your business, because that will drive behavior and behavior is what drives your productivity.

At the basic level of engagement, someone is asking themselves what do I get from being here. It’s all about, ‘What am I going to get?’

The next level of it is looking at, ‘OK, so what am I going to give?’ That’s the support level.

The next level is the teamwork level, and that is, ‘Do I belong?’ The feeling of belonging.

And the level after that is the growth level. It’s like, ‘OK, how do we grow?’

So you have these four levels, the Basic is what do I get, Support: what do I give, Team: do I belong. And then the last, Growth is: ‘All right, how can we grow?’ The first three levels are all about building trust. When the trust is intact, then people will give that extra energy to do the growth part.

I want to give you some statistics, I was promising you statistics, here they are. OK.

Highly engaged business units result in 21 percent greater profitability.

Highly engaged business units realized a 41 percent reduction in absenteeism and a 17 percent increase in productivity.

Highly engaged business units achieve a 10 percent increase in customer ratings and a 20 percent increase in sales.

Well, if you look at that, that might be the profitability and the revenue growth of your company that you were hoping for at the beginning of this year.

And this one I’m thrilled to be sharing this with you! OK.

Companies with engaged employees outperform those without engaged employees by 202%.

Their customer retention rates are 18 percent higher. So that reduces your marketing budget, which adds to your profitability.

I think the business case for engagement is really clear. I don’t think there’s any question that the business case for doing this is clear.

What’s unclear is, ‘How do we do it?’ And, ‘How do we measure it?’ Because we’re still of the mind where we need to measure the return on our investments, whether it’s money, time or energy. And those are the next videos that I’ll be doing.

Those of us business leaders have to understand that the job of understanding the people on our team is just as important as the job of marketing to understand our customers. And, it’s just as multifaceted and just as complex. So, we’ll put a lot of time, attention and energy into understanding how to market to our customers. And, just as much time, attention and energy is required in looking at what is it going to take for me to create an environment where my team is engaged.

It all comes down to human interaction and the best thing is we’re all humans so we can figure this out.

Thank you very much for watching this video. Please subscribe and be sure you click the bell so you don’t miss a thing.

About the author,

With 14 years of experience in working with small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, Doug is committed to seeing business owners thrive. Business coaching is what drives Doug.

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