"To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace."
--- Doug Conant
One of the buzz phrases in business today is "employee engagement," which in a nutshell means that your employees are really into what they are doing. They know, understand, and embrace the company's mission and truly want to go where the business is going. On the surface this concept seems like a simple thing to accomplish, but more often than not, businesses struggle with getting their employees in the game.
"There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization's overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow."
--- Jack Welch
Without a workforce that knows where the company is heading, there are simply employees waiting around for a paycheck. Employees cannot and will not feel the same excitement about the business that you do if they don't know what it is they should be feeling. They become the cashier with the glazed look in her eyes that doesn't provide a service, but merely robotic movements to transactions. Or it is the guy selling a sign product with a "take it or leave it" attitude.
These are people not engaged in their work because they don't see the purpose of the engagement. They need to be told and shown why their work matters and how it fits into the overall plan of the business and its mission.
"Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer."
--- Peter Drucker
Drucker states the solution perfectly. Volunteers only volunteer if they believe in the cause. People won't help build homes, serve in pregnancy centers, or feed the homeless unless they understand the cause. It is up to you to explain not only the direction of the business, but the why behind the reason for going in that direction.
Some business leaders feel that it is none of the employee's business to know the direction or the who, what, and why of the business. This is a huge mistake. That is not just my opinion, but has been proven time and time again by the number of business failures compared to those that succeed because they do share this information.
"Engaged employees are in the game for the sake of the game; they believe in the cause of the organization."
--- Paul Marciano, PhD
By giving a reason, (other than a paycheck) for someone to work for your company is extremely profitable for your business. This includes improved confidence, morale, task ownership, loyalty, integrity, honesty, performance, better customer service, and more. Employers who take the time to explain the core values as well as the mission of the business from day one have less employee turnover than those who don't. Showing team members the way helps to keep the entire organization on track and increases the bottom line for everyone.
"Many corporate leaders and employees have the right intentions, but it can be overwhelming when you consider how everything is affected from leadership styles, to organizational structure, to employee engagement, to customer service in the marketplace."
--- Simon Mainwaring
The leader's job is tough and is made even harder by taking on the roll of steering the business. The ultimate decision should fall on the leader, but getting to that decision should be shared with all team members. Brainstorming sessions with employees works wonders for finding new profit centers, better ways of performing the job, and setting milestones for the company. Tap into this vast resource to share the burden so you can ultimately share the wealth.
"I think happiness is a combination of pleasure, engagement and meaningfulness."
--- Ian K. Smith
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