An Engaged Workforce Delivers Extraordinary Results

“People today are saying, ‘teach me, grow me, and if you won’t teach me and grow me I’ll go someplace else.'”

– Sharon Jordan-Evans, Executive Coach

One of the themes at the conference I attended last week was “The Engaged Employee.” Jackie Freiberg, co-author of the business book best-seller “Guts!,” was the keynote speaker. She taught us how to “Blow the Doors Off Service-as-Usual.” The essence of the talk was that you will never be able to provide extraordinary service to your “external” customers (the ones whose business allows you to pay the bills) until you start to grow, teach and empower your “internal” customers (the ones who do the work.)

Employers who are unable or unwilling to “grow, teach and empower” their employees can not remain competitive in the marketplace. Both customers and your workforce demand that you do so. It is expected. They must be “engaged” with you and your business. Otherwise …, as the opening quote states, “(they) will go someplace else.”

Customers expect to be “WOW-ed” when they enter your store or sample your services. That is the standard. Nothing less will do. If you do not provide this level of service – actually, an experience – “(they) will go someplace else.”

Do you “WOW” your customers? Every time? Have you grown, taught and empowered your staff to “WOW” your customers? What is the “experience” that both your employees and your customers feel when they enter your place of business?

Jackie Frieberg’s keynote address to the National Association of School Music Dealers (NASMD) reflected the results of the Gallup Organization’s Q12 survey. This is a 12-question assessment of employee “engagement” levels. (Click here for a short article on the Q12 survey.) The results of more than 3 million employee responses show that:

29% of the U.S. workforce is “engaged” – they perform at consistently high levels.

55% of the U.S. workforce is “not engaged” – they are neither positive nor negative towards their work.

16% of the U.S. workforce is “actively disengaged” – they actually undermine what “engaged” employees accomplish.

These are startling numbers! I will address the impact of these results in greater detail in another post. However, how can any business even contemplate “WOW-ing” their customers if only 30% of their staff are “engaged” in their work, their mission and their purpose – to create and retain customers?

Unfortunately, more times than not, the reason that most employees “check out” both literally and figuratively from their workplace is – their boss, their manager, the business owner. Bad bosses are not merely a nuisance, they are a lethal weapon.

First, they drive off their “engaged” workers because they either refuse to or are unable to “grow, teach and empower” their staff.

And then, their customers leave – or never come inside – because the business does not “WOW” them.

The service and products are merely ordinary. Why? Because the “engaged” workers have already left – they now work for a competitor! A competitor who was committed to growing, teaching and empowering them – creating a “fully engaged” workforce – and creating lots of customers as well.

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