This quick and dirty equation might sound like a bit of a stretch, but it’s an idea that resonates through the very lifeblood of countless organisations.
They’re all doing it
From government bodies to mining companies, international banks to restaurant chains – large volumes of them dedicate time, resources and hard cash to find out how engaged their employees are.
Now there is a great deal of evidence out there that can demonstrate the actual impact of people initiatives on business outcomes. In short, look after your people, and the business will look after itself. Not quite. But you get the picture.
Hello. I am an engaged employee
Meet Sue. She is something of an enigma. She works hard. Delivers results and importantly, she is extremely engaged. I’ll let her introduce herself.
“Hi, I’m Sue. I really believe in my organisation and its products and services. We do good work here and I’m proud of it. The values make sense to me and I really do agree with them. I’ve certainly not got plans to move companies any time soon. I am committed to my colleagues and helping them out and our customers are vital so I really want to the best I can for them. I am always happy to put in extra effort and tell all my friends and family what a great place this is to work.”
So Sue is, of course an ideal employee. Aside from being perfect and the picture of an engaged employee, she can also help us to identify the real costs of an employee that is not engaged. If we think about turning all her positive virtues into negative ones we can drill down into the real cost of disengagement.
Cost of turnover
There’s a cost in replacing someone who leaves. You’ll need to train their successor and may lose business opportunities while there is a vacancy.
Impact on customers
Customers will turn off to an organisation if they encounter an employee with a bad attitude. The cost of a lost customer is significant. One bad egg could spread a whole lot of negativity.
A customer does not need to actually meet the person to become turned off to the organisation. If the employee doesn’t care, the wrong product might be delivered, or even nothing at all. With low engagement comes low ownership – if there is an issue employees are much more likely to say “well that’s just the way the system works” rather than “let’s see what I can do to get this sorted.” The employee responsible has a big negative impact, and the customer is unlikely to continue giving them your business.
Impact on colleagues and potential staff
If day in day out, the employee tells six close colleagues that the organisation is the worst or that the manager is terrible, after a while that message could start to rub off. Negativity breads negativity. That message could spread around the organisation and beyond. Before you know it, family and friends of the six think the same, and the problem goes viral. You then have the potential to lose not only good customers, but even potential staff.