the cavalry was here all along: charging up the hill to corporate success

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Many of us have spent the last couple of years hoping for business to return to normal. We’ve waited for something to rescue us from the challenges we’re facing on a daily basis. We’ve wondered where the next big breakthrough is that will snap us out of the doldrums and set our organizations back onto the path of prosperity.

Great leaders figured out that breakthrough would come from someone, not something. These leaders tapped the resources of their employees and encouraged them to help navigate the storm. They also weathered the bumps better than most and positioned themselves advantageously for better economic days. They knew the solution to more innovation, cost savings, increased profitability, organizational growth, and more satisfied and loyal customers was under their noses all along.

Research from Gallup proves that statement, and goes on to demonstrate that engaging your employees or your customers should generate up to two and a half times the financial gains than if you didn’t invest in engagement. If you optimize engagement levels of both customers and employees, you more than double those gains.

Towers Watson uncovered similar results. Companies with engaged employees enjoy a 19 percent increase in operating income; without engagement, operating income decreases 30 percent. That’s a variance of almost 50 percent and could well mean the difference between surviving downturns—or not. They also found a 15 percent improvement in engagement levels led to a two percent improvement in operating margins—an advantage few of us can afford to ignore.

Just about everything a company needs to do to succeed is driven by people: your customers, vendors or employees. Each one of them can contribute to your success (or detract from it) and there’s no escaping the fact that your organizational future depends on how well you engage them.

Increasing employee commitment levels can lead to a 57 percent improvement in their discretionary effort, which can then lead to a 20 percent improvement in overall performance, according to the Corporate Leadership Council. The power of an engaged workforce is so strong that Quantum Workplace has discovered a significant relationship between employee engagement levels and economic indicators, like: unemployment rates, fuel prices, the stock market, and consumer sentiment.

If you’re still not convinced about investing in your human capital assets, consider:

  • Customers are affected by their experience with your employees three to six times more than any of your other marketing initiatives such as advertising, pricing, etc. (Source: Gallup).
  • Twenty-seven percent of consumers determine your corporate social responsibility based on your treatment of employees and 76 percent of consumers make purchasing decisions based on your employee treatment (Source:      National Consumer League).
  • Good human capital practices are a leading indicator of financial performance (Source: Towers Watson).

Taking action now to more fully engage your employees will help you recover more quickly from this downturn. Your employees are your cavalry: Blow the bugle and get everyone charging up the hill to corporate success.

By michelle m. smith, CPIM, CRP
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