I have been watching the rise in research around Employee Engagement with fascination. The initial research was about the employee that is engaged versus the employee that is disengaged.
The Engaged Employee is enthusiastic and gives liberally of their time, efforts and ideas. They are invested in the company vision and mission and feel fulfilled doing their work.
Unfortunately research points to less than one third of employees being engaged at work. That is troubling but at least it is understood and there are many ways of improving this situation that are easy to understand and implement (I will cover in a future blog).
The next steps in our collective understanding of engagement then led to Engaged Managers and then Engaged Followers. I have described both of those below lending a fair portion of the Gallup organisation content.
A managers engagement or otherwise directly impacts (up to 70% impact) employee engagement. An employee’s Manager Experience is proving to be absolutely vital to organisational success. Here are some recent Gallup research findings;
Millennials say that “quality of manager” is a top factor they consider when looking for a new job.
When managers play an active role in onboarding, employees are 2.5 times more likely to strongly agree their onboarding was exceptional.
Managers account for an astounding 70% of the variance in their team’s engagement.
Only two in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
Fifty-two percent of exiting employees say that their manager could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job. Nevertheless, only 51% of employees who left their job had a conversation about their engagement, development or future during the three months leading up to their departure.
The mind boggles at the social and financial cost of the disengaged manager.
So what happens when you have an Engaged Manager with an Engaged Employee? You get Engaged Followership.
Engaged followers are employees that share responsibility for their engagement with their leadership.
These engaged employees are 10 times more likely to take creative risks than disengaged employees.
If that is not enough of a reason to try and create engaged followers then prepare for worse news.
Based on Gallup’s most recent bestseller, It’s the Manager, “a competitor needs to pay an employee over 20% more to get them to switch jobs if that employee is engaged. If an employee is disengaged, they will leave for almost any increase in salary.” Also of concern is that the disengaged employee will keep their head down and feign engagement before they leave. This gives you the minimum notice and no ability to properly plan for the transition.
All of these insights got me thinking about the best employee / employer relationships I have had in my experience. In reflecting on the best ones, I could not help but draw a parallel with our best customer relationships. That led me to think about the differences between Engaged Customers and Disengaged Customers.
For people close to me it is nearly impossible that you have not heard me espousing the benefits of having a mature Customer Success Program. We are into the second year of ours and we can clearly see that by altering our approach to focus on our value to our customers, we are creating a significant increase in customer engagement. We found out very quickly that the more engaged a customer is the better the outcomes we both get.
So what is an Engaged Customer? An Engaged Customer is willing to expend effort helping us as they understand the more they help us the better the results we can give them. They often see us as a valuable extension of their organisation. They start to care for our team members as we do theirs. We have also had multiple instances of the customers helping us create new products and services. They are also very keen to assist in our success by acting as a referee and recommending us to their peer group. Having Engaged Customers is one of the greatest experiences I have had in my business life.
So it seems “Engagement” at all these levels creates enormous value. It is exciting that the value is financial and social. Engaged humans genuinely enjoy their time in and out of work significantly more than a disengaged human. I can’t help but think that if we can improve human engagement at work we may be able to stem the rising levels of anxiety and depression in our society.
So I guess the key question is how do we collectively lift the engagement of humans?