The best way to Repair the Loopy Seek for “Worker Engagement”
Finally something new about employee engagement. As the pandemic teaches us, employee engagement is an even stronger indicator of performance in recessions than in times when there is no recession. Companies with the 99th percentile exposure have almost five times the success rate of companies with the lower percentile during the economic downturn.
What’s not new is the crazy search for employee engagement. According to a report, American companies spend over $ 100 billion each year to achieve this. However, the percentage of committed employees (around 33%) has not increased by more than a few points in a decade. And we pay the price. Companies lose up to $ 605 billion each year on the withdrawal.
With all our efforts, why do we not have more to show?
It might have something to do with how we talk about employee engagement. We know that engaged people improve results like profits and sales, reduce costly sales, and drive the repeat and referral business. In other words, engagement improves the company’s profitability. But instead of talking about profitability, we give perks and praise to employees in the hope that this will somehow lead to motivation and money.
Some owners and managers don’t talk about economics because they assume employees don’t understand it. And often not. People follow orders without understanding how their actions affect the bottom line. You are only informed of a crisis after it has happened. Owners and managers keep sending the message to employees: They are sitting at the children’s table.
You may be tempted to offset these parent-child dynamics with bonuses, barbecues, or expensive employee wellness programs. However, a good corporate culture does not allow employees to act like partners. Treating them like partners does. And partnership begins with trust.
When we worked with Hillenmeyer Landscape Services, a family business of 200 in Lexington, KY, executives wanted to increase job margin margins to stay afloat. They needed all the help they could get, but they weren’t sure how to involve the staff in the plan. Would shopkeepers and landscapers even understand what job margins are, let alone how they could improve them?
Management invited all employees to participate – first asking them to write down one thing they could do to increase margins over the next 30 to 60 days. The ideas, which were written on small index cards, piled up. A new way was offered to ensure jobs started on time. Others suggested ways to better maintain equipment or reinvent excess produce such as shrubs. Leadership listened. Employees were delighted that their firsthand knowledge of the company was being used and the dollar for the job margin rose.
In the past, employees feared jobs with long unplanned hours such as clearing snow. But when the workers found out how good the margin was on the snow services, they practically rushed to the plows. A driver passed a church parking lot on the way home and saw that it was covered in drifts. He stopped and knocked on the parish door. When it opened, he said, “Pastor, I’m with Hillenmeyer Landscape. We’ve already taken care of all of our customers for the day. I’d love to plow your parking lot for free if you would speak to our office about that Planning of future services. “
Hillenmeyer found another loyal customer that day, and the driver was recognized by the company for his initiative – all because the profitability of the business had come alive.
Getting your employees involved in the business begins with sharing critical financial metrics that employees understand and can work towards, such as: Of course, it helps to tie the incentive compensation to improving that number so that everyone is involved in the outcome. However, real engagement is in helping people think about the business the way you do.
If your company is one of the many companies that are spending a lot of money on conventional engagement measures, we have one suggestion: stop. Instead, invest in your people. Get involved in making money.