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Employee engagement: what it looks like in your business

Employee engagement. Is it about satisfaction or motivation at work? Being more productive or perhaps not complaining all the time? What does engagement really look like…and can engaged employees really add tangible value to your business?

When I’m asked to explain the concept of employee engagement, I like the term discretionary effort. Not only because it makes me sound smarter (and if you know me, you’ll know the smart bar is set low) but because it’s a concept with logic and, once you know what to look for, it’s simple to identify those in the workplace who are engaged.

Discretionary effort is more than being satisfied at work. Or happy. Or productive…although none of these are negatives. Discretionary effort relates to those whose actions at work further the interests of the business.

Discretionary effort can look like:
• the employee who is about to leave the office and turn out the lights when the phone rings. She answers it.
• the one who doesn’t walk away from the photocopier when they see the red light blinking.
• the person that makes sure the office kitchen stays tidy, even when they’re not the cleaner.
• someone who looks after the assets of the business as if they own them.
• the team member who approaches you and says “we could make product X better by doing….”
• the employee who calls a customer to see if they’re happy with your product. When such a call isn’t part of your standard operating procedure.

The engaged employee works for a purpose deeper than simply being paid each week. They genuinely care about their work…and your business. They’re there because of an emotional connection. A feeling. One that often comes from the way the business (or their manager) makes them feel.

So, given engagement revolves around feeling, is it some type of psychobabble concept without tangible financial value to a business? Here’s 5 benefits that directly result from an engaged workforce:
1. greater productivity and innovation
2. reduced employee turnover
3. lower absenteeism
4. increased customer satisfaction, repeat business and word of mouth referrals
5. reduced recruitment costs – candidates will be knocking down your door when your current employees promote how good it is to work at your business

I quite like this quote from Kronos Chief Executive Aron Ain on the benefits of employee engagement:

We cannot be a great company without great people. Great people have choices where they work, so we make sure they stay inspired, motivated and engaged. And then, the results are magical.

Check out our “Getting the Best from Your Team” page. We know employee engagement and the simple, cost effective strategies to bring engagement to your business. Then give us a call. It might be the single most valuable call you’ve made to add real value to your business.

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  • Bare Bones Consulting

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