Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Open the doors for Employee Engagement

The concept behind employee engagement is a simple one. If you engage your employees in your business, the employees will be happy and engage the customers. And, when the customers are happy and engaged, your profitability increases. Customers who are truly engaged with your business understand that they are special and will be treated well. They know that, when things go wrong, your company and your employees will do everything in their power to make it right. They believe deeply that you will do what is best and not try to take advantage of them in any way.

In short, your engaged customers trust you. And nothing is more valuable in business than your customers.

To paraphrase Herb Kelleher, "Happy employees make for happy customers. Happy customers make for happy shareholders."

I was speaking with a friend recently who was a top salesperson for a Denver area furniture chain and he related to me a problem with one of their customers. The customer was unhappy about a mark on the furniture she had purchased and was causing quite a commotion. My friend was called in to help resolve the issue.

He listened to her complaint, agreed that she had a reason to be concerned, and worked out a solution that satisfied her. All was good again, until the owner of the chain happened to walk by. The customer recognized the owner and decided to tell him about her experience. She started to relate her experience to the owner and within 30 seconds he responded, “So what? You’re not happy? Give her the money back and get her out of my store.”

That owner not only lost a customer that day, but he also lost one of his top salespeople as my friend quit as well. Only my friend didn’t leave his job that very day, he actually worked there for nearly 3 more years. He just quit trying. That was the lesson he took away from the owner.

There are a lot of ways for you to engage your employees in your business so that they will buy into the vision and go above and beyond for both the company and the customers. And the first way to engage your employees is to model the behavior that you expect from them. When the entire executive team, not just the CEO, walks the talk about the value of the customer and demonstrates this regularly through their words and actions, the employees will do the same.

Of course as I noted above, the opposite is clearly true as well. When the executive team models poor behavior and attitudes, the employees see and imitate that behavior as well. And this is true whether or not you know all of your employees individually or if you have 50,000 employees. Employees take their lead from the clues left by the executive team. And, if you don’t think your employees notice those clues, watch your behaviors in addition to hearing your words, and see and talk about the disparities between your words and actions, then you are very much mistaken.

Model engagement and inclusion with your employees and customers and you will find that your employees engage and include your customers, and your customers engage and support your business.

We’ll talk more about other methods of encouraging engagement in our next blog.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:
• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. Ouch!

    I wonder if the owner recognized what happened. We all talk about leadership and how it is vision and leading. But leadership also happens based on modeling. The owner modeled behavior that was not in it for the long haul.