15 February 2017

Managing People #2 - Employee engagement for business success


Why should you care about how engaged your employees are? Ultimately, employee engagement is the single biggest factor influencing employee performance, and therefore your business’ bottom line.

There are different ways to measure it.

In my last blog, I spoke about HR policy. To continue with my series of four key topics for creating inspiring fantastic workplaces that brings out the best in your people, let’s talk about two practical ways to measure employee engagement.

Customer feedback

Before you rush into undertaking costly surveys, consider asking your customers for feedback.

Your customers are best placed to measure how engaged your staff are.

  • Think about your own experiences, how does it feel when you visit a restaurant or shop and the staff aren’t engaged?
  • Conversely, how fantastic does it feel when you ring a call centre and speak to a human being that not only seems to care about you but also is able to action your requirements?

If you are wondering if there is a return on investment in keeping your employees engaged, also ask yourself:

  • Which company (above) is most likely to get great referrals?
  • Which could potentially be bagged out on Facebook and Twitter

Discretionary effort and intent to stay

When we talk about Employee Engagement, we are usually talking about two dimensions:

  • Discretionary effort - The level of effort people could give if they choose to, above and beyond the minimum required to perform their role. Sometimes referred to as ‘going the extra mile’.
  • Intention to stay - How likely they are to remain with your company, based on their perspective on whether staying is good for their career.

A highly engaged workforce will have people who are happy to go the extra mile and be around for a good while helping to keep your customers loyal. The diagram below is a good way of understanding how people with different employee engagement profiles contribute to your business.

Dimensions of employee engagement High intent to stay Low intent to stay
High discretionary effort True Believers Achievers
Low discretionary effort Stayers Underminers 

True Believers. The “True Believers” are people who will put in extra effort and intend to stay. Sometimes these people have been with you since the start, and will feel more like “family” than employees. Nurture these people if you have them in your organisation, as it is likely your business won’t flourish without them. Keeping these people engaged may involve profit sharing or equity release schemes.

Achievers. It is positive to have some “Achievers” in your business. They may not intend to stay with you for long, but they will put in extra effort whilst they are with you, often so they can add to their resume. Typical of this group is the “Gen Y” born between 1977 and 1994.

Stayers. It is also positive to have some “Stayers” in your business. These are often staff who aren’t particularly interested in progressing their career, and they won’t set the world on fire, but they hold a wealth of knowledge and are often the reliable staff that keep your customers loyal. Overlook them at your peril!

Underminers. Finally the “Underminers” are those who don’t put in any extra effort, and don’t intend to stay. However, whilst they are still working with you, they will go out of their way to undermine and sabotage what you want to achieve. You will often find these people by the water cooler, happily running you and your company down to anyone who will listen. These people are dangerous in your organisation and you need to quickly turn them round or manage them out.

You can probably identify where most of your staff currently sit on this matrix. Over time, individual employees may change from being positively engaged to being negative and turned off. My HR Adviser can work with you to shift individuals and groups of staff back into the positive.

In conclusion, will engaged employees have an impact on your bottom line? You bet!

To receive more practical tips on how you can manage employee performance effectively, download our eBook, which also provides all the answers to more than 10 excellent questions raised at our live webinar, and some insightful poll results.

We welcome you to download our eBook 'Managing People to Maximise Performance'.

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