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Article -> Creating Employee Engagement: Four R's for Success

Date Added: March 2006

Employees are critical to all successful businesses. Companies have "regular" employees and they also have engaged employees. The difference is loyalty, and loyalty generates revenue for your organization. Voice of the Employee is a process to effectively measure employee engagement.

Recent research states the benefit of having engaged employees is that fully engaged employees are two-thirds more likely to work hard and stay on the job for at least the next two years. More than 30% of employees are more likely to "go the extra mile" for customers, and 93% would be willing to work for less money.¹ Employee engagement helps maximize company profitability and productivity. To gain more employee engagement, you need to focus on the four R's - recruit, retrain, reward and retain.

Recruiting employees is important. It is the initial step in the process and can become very expensive if the "right" people are not recruited. HR professionals should focus on ethics, diversity and safety when recruiting employees. In addition, alignment with the corporate culture and values may be the most important factor in determining a good fit. HR should seek prospective employees to be able to identify with the company to become fully engaged.

To retrain, you need to provide employees with the time, resources and tools to perform their jobs. Ongoing training is critical. Workshops, mentor programs, associate memberships and technology are some of the ways this can be accomplished.

Rewarding is another step to engage employees. Money isn't always the key. Rewarding is a major step for employees to truly identify with your organization. Providing opportunities for advancement and the right work/life balance opportunities will help transform regular employees into engaged employees. For example, one client requested us to create an acquisition Field Guide with the purpose of not only creating a comprehensive acquisition integration process, but also to train and develop top performers to learn the integration process as a leadership development tool.

The fourth R is retention - keeping your employees. If employees are engaged, they will stay longer. They will even recruit others, spread the good work and become employee evangelists. They are the employees that will help valuable and loyal customers.

Organizations with engaged employees are more likely to create customer loyalty and complete customer satisfaction. A good example of this is Disney. With more than 50,000 employees, Disney experiences less than 20 percent annual employee turnover.1 This is one reason why Disney has so many loyal customers and children say it's the happiest place on Earth. Customers perceive their interaction with your organization based on your employees. If customers know an employee is unhappy with your firm, this will impact their decision to do business with your company.

There are five steps to creating customer and employee connections to loyalty and complete satisfaction.

  1. Identify your most valuable customers.
  2. Connect your customers and employees with your brand promise.
  3. Identify and deliver your strengths.
  4. Value your employees.
  5. Connect emotionally (to customers and employees).

Employees cite poor relationships with leaders as the number one reason they leave a job.1 Consequently, it is more expensive to lose top performing employees than to keep them. More companies need to put a focus on retaining employees and increasing engaged employees to maximize profitability and productivity.

1 McConnell, Beth. Employee loyalty, engagement grow same qualities in customers. September 23, 2005. http://www.shrm.org/hrnews_published/archives/CMS_014189.asp

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