Lessons from Companies That Got Employee Engagement Right

The terrible truth is that 2/3rds of the workforce is disengaged.  Whether for reasons of dissatisfaction with the work itself, compensation or for personal reasons, that’s an alarming figure.

And in 2016, Gallup studied the phenomenon, revealing a strong connection between poor engagement and performance on the team level.  That’s a productivity issue and one which gives rise to higher employee attrition rates.

Every time an employ leaves, companies absorb a cost equivalent to 1.5 times the salary of the employee who’s walking.  When teams are consistently and intentionally engaged, productivity rises.  That leads to an increase in profitability of 21%.  And customers are happier, too.  10% happier!

There’s no question that employee engagement is a huge issue, especially in an employee’s job market, so we’ve compiled these lessons from companies that got employee engagement right.

Clarity of Mission

Southwest Airlines knew it needed to create clarity of mission to maintain employee engagement and the type of stellar customer response the airline is now known for.

So, in 2013, they re-tooled their mission statement.  The purpose was to encompass the entirety of the organization through the vehicle of “story-telling”, to bring all its almost 50,000 employees to work with a common purpose and vision.

Living and breathing corporate mission is a palpable expression of company mandate.  Customers respond to that kind of integrity and unity of purpose with repeat visits.  And the best part is that employees who share in their employer’s vision and model it, are fully engaged.

This can only happen when that vision flows from leadership.

Recognition for All

Not everyone can be a superstar.  Not everyone is cut out for the spotlight.

But everyone who puts in the right effort deserves to be recognized as one of our clients’ experiences reveals.

Our client noticed that its leadership regularly favored the same top-tier employees for company recognition.  That left employees feeling like they were on the outside looking in (disengaged).

Fixing the problem requires a shift in focus.  Instead of leadership recognizing achievement, our client asked employees to nominate each other for recognition.  You can’t always be on the ground to see the hard work being put in on your behalf.  So put that work in the hands of those who are.

The client immediately noticed a cultural shift, which is paying dividends.

Pass the Megaphone

The same client took noted that the company was full of people with winning ideas.  So, they passed the megaphone to hear their voices.

Inviting feedback and opinion opens the door to on-the-ground, frontline insight into things that really matter.  And our client’s leadership’s instincts were validated and amplified by the input of those who were most engaged with customers.

In terms of engagement, employee input changed the game for this client.  By unleashing employees’ voices, the aims of the company were supported and a window was opened that intensified employee commitment.

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