If we look at successful companies Zappos or Southwest Airlines in the USA or John Lewis and First Direct in the UK, to name but a few, it’s clear to see that in order to create more customer centric, customer responsive, customer service lead companies it requires great teams, people and employees that are very ‘engaged’ with what they are doing.
I’ve written about employee engagement before and in a previous post where I stated that I believe that:
Employee engagement is one of the key elements of building a successful and thriving business. It’s the bed-rock of getting things done, great customer service, repeat business and sustainable growth.
But, what is employee engagement?
I believe that employee engagement is fundamentally about helping your team members do things that matter, making sure that that they feel valued, that they are listened to, that they are supported by the people around them and that they are, in turn, supported to achieve the things that they and the business want to achieve. The results being a more productive and motivated individual, more effective team, better business results and happier customers.
Therefore, when I read a new article the other day from HR magazine called HR not winning engagement argument, MacLeod warns HR seminar, which talks about a new report by David Macleod that looks into the level of employee engagement in UK companies, I thought I’d share that with you. The report goes on to say:
Our research found that CEOs are not listening to the message around engagement, because HR is not convincing them of its importance. More than half of CEOs are not engaged in engagement, the HR survey found: 22% do not understand the concept, 19.2% are not aware of the business benefits and 14.5% are aware of the concept, but do not believe there will be any ROI.
I found these results quite shocking particularly when it is generally known and understood that sustainable business growth, great customer service and high customer retention is fueled by great teams of people. This is supported by other research, here’s an article from Management Issues, that reports that:
Research by consultants Hay Group, for example, suggests that up to 30 per cent of variance in business results can be explained simply by differences in the work climate.
If we believe these results, my question would be:
What’s stopping business leaders and CEOs, whether in large firms or small, from making that leap from where they are to actually turning ‘our people are are most important asset’ into a reality?
Is it a lack of skills or knowledge of how to achieve this?
Is it a different set of priorities?
Is it too hard?
I believe it’s probably a combination of all of these factors in different measures depending on their own context.
However, I would really appreciate your thoughts and insights on this issue. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks to PhotoJonny for the image.