by Rob Drasin @rdrasin
I recently returned from a conference in Chicago and flew United on the return leg. We encountered problems trying to get our boarding passes and since we were on a reasonably tight schedule asked for help. United had only one agent on duty at O’Hare and 3 “helpers” milling about. No one helped, no one cared – literally. We missed our flight home.
While the experience was frustrating, it really got me thinking about what employee engagement means and how it affects organizations.
The next day on the flight home I was sitting in the back of the plane and struck up a conversation with the two flight attendants who were working our flight. But, when I mentioned that employee morale must be really low in order to have encountered the indifferent response that we received, the flight attendants were quick to respond and confirmed that morale was really low, and, without prompting, they gave me particulars.
Low employee engagement is a silent killer; of customer loyalty, repeat business and ultimately, corporate performance. Employee engagement can be summarized as the desire by an employee to go the extra mile, to do more than is asked. Studies from TowersWatson, Mercer, IABC and others that validate that companies with an engaged workforce outperform their competitors.
In the 2014 Towers Watson Survey, just 4 in 10 employees are highly engaged. “Sustainable engagement requires strong leaders and managers. In companies where both leaders and managers are perceived by employees as effective, 72% of employees are highly engaged.”
Here is the 2014 IABC Benchmarking Report detailing 11 ways that companies are getting it wrong. It says, “There seems to be a connection with performance because those operating in high performing companies are 60% more likely to think about things from the audience’s point of view.”
You’ll never know the business you didn’t get because your employees lost it for you. If you want to keep your customers and grow your business, then treat your employees as your most valuable asset, because they are.