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Sunday, October 24, 2010

THE RETENTION FACTOR: Are Your Employees Engaged?

The Retention Factor with Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D.

  • What is employee engagement?

  • What do employees want?

  • What can you do?

According to Wikipedia, Employee engagement, also called work engagement or worker engagement, is a business management concept. An "engaged employee" is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's interests.

A recent study by Harvard Business School found that every 1% increase in staff loyalty resulted in a ½% increase in customer loyalty.

The same way we want to take customers from satisfied to loyal needs to be applied to employees or their performance could be mediocre at best.

The focus in the past has been customer-centric and yes, it still needs to be, but not at the expense of employees. Customer’s expectations have increased to the level that they expect information to be available for every interaction, regardless of method/channel, over the course of their relationship with your organization. Your employees need to be invested in the outcome or your customers will be obsolete, only followed by your employees.

However, as I’ve said before, the better care you take of your employees, the better care they’ll take of your customers.

Statistically it’s reported that 83% of managers consider employee engagement to be a critical factor in attracting and retaining customers (American Society for Training and Development research).

However, because of cost cutting measures, budget constraints, workforce reductions, and the like, there has been a rise in disengaged employees. A Towers and Perrin report indicates that 72% of companies have reduced their workforce in response to the recession. A big concern for employers is the number of employees that intend to change jobs when the economy improves.

What can you do?

First, you are key to engaging your employees to commit their energy to create value and success.

What do they want?

a. Opportunity for meaningful work

b. Having a clear focus of what’s expected

c. Being included/informed/educated

d. Feel valued at work/contribute to success of the company

e. Chance to learn new skill sets or sharpen existing ones

f. A manager who has their interests at heart and can be trusted

Learning plays a key role in helping employees to get and stay engaged. While new hire training is great for initiating an employee’s engagement, ongoing, refresher type training keeps them engaged.

Second, create an engagement culture. Your culture has a great influence—positive or negative—on employee and customer engagement. What do we mean by culture? Simply put, sharing the same beliefs, practices and behaviors of the majority of employees.

A top driver of employee engagement is a good relationship between employees and immediate supervisors. However, many organizations’ supervisors and/or managers lack the skills to engage employees effectively. What’s needed? Basic supervisory training that provides coaching and development skills. In an Ascent Group 2010 Study on Improving Front-line Training, only 59% of participants had a formal supervisory (coach) training program. Additionally, required are hands on techniques, tactics, and strategies to improve employee engagement.

Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Bottom line: Take care of your people and they’ll take care of your customers. But not just lip service, the feet need to follow the mouth.

As always, feedback, comments, topic suggestions are greatly appreciated and welcomed.

For more information, please visit Rosanne's TNNWC Bio.

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