There is a ton of talk about the keys to employee engagement, including an endless number of blog posts and research reports that claim to reveal the secret to getting peak performance out of your team.
Want to know the truth? You have to put your employees first.
That’s it. It’s a simple rule for success for any business. It’s also a critical one.
Regardless of your business or industry, you serve a client. Someone somewhere needs what you produce. To get it from you, that person interacts with your employees one way or another:
- Your production department creates top-quality products.
- Your salespeople introduce your products to the market.
- Your customer service department tends to every need for the life of the client.
Employees with leaders who treat them with respect and loyalty are more likely to deliver the top-notch customer service that keeps your customers happy and coming back for more.
A Gallup article on the global employee engagement crisis shows that only 32 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged at work. In plain English, that means that only about a third of employees care about what they are doing. Two in three employees are disengaged. That’s two out of three workers on your production floor, two out of three salespeople, and two out of three customer care representatives.
Why is this important? Disengaged employees don't deliver the customer service you need. They don't care if a customer has a poor experience, writes a bad review, and doesn't come back to your business. A disengaged employee is just there for the paycheck.
You want to transform disengaged employees into engaged employees because the success of your business depends on it. Employee engagement is what makes the difference between an average organization and a world-class one. In a world-class organization, employees truly care about the success of the company. They’re the ones who will work hard to make sure your clients, guests, and customers are happy. Engaged employees meet and exceed their goals. They strive to get promoted within the company. They want to stay with the company for the long haul.
To get the best customer service possible, increase sales and production, and experience a whole new level of performance, you have to put your employees first.
Still not convinced that engaged employees are essential for success? Check out “11 Shocking Employee Happiness Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind,” from SnackNation. This infographic is a great explanation of the effect employee engagement has on things like attendance, higher sales revenue, and outperforming the competition.
If the concept of putting employees first is a new one for you, you need to begin by finding out where you stand. An employee engagement survey will give you valuable insight into the minds and feelings of your employees. Even if you think you have a firm handle on your team’s employee engagement levels, getting honest and anonymous feedback may shed light on small issues before they have a chance to grow into bigger problems.
You also can find out what your employees think about you as their leader. Learn how your team feels about their opportunities for advancement and growth with your organization. Discover strengths you can capitalize on and weaknesses you can improve.
Once you’ve uncovered your results, develop an action plan to address any issues. This may include additional training (for yourself or your staff) and employee-management meetings to talk about workplace culture. Whatever you do, don’t let the results sit on a shelf. If your team takes the time to complete an employee engagement survey, and you do nothing with the information they share, your inaction will be perceived as a lack of concern for their opinions. The fallout will be worse than if you never did anything in the first place.
Your success depends on your employees. They are the critical factor that determines whether or not you meet and exceed your goals. Be greater than the average workplace. Understand how your employees feel and what they think, and you will be an organization that puts your employees first.