Employee engagement is a popular topic these days and a whole industry has sprung up around helping managers identify people’s strengths, discover their motivations, and provide the tools and resources people need to succeed. The goal is to create a high-energy work environment where people want to come to work and be their best.
But do high employee engagement levels translate into better bottom line performance? Not necessarily. There is one additional component that has to be in place in order to drive bottom line impact.
Gallup was among the first organizations to discover this when they took a deeper dive into their engagement research. One of the surprising discoveries they made early on was that work groups with the highest employee engagement scores didn’t always outperform those with average engagement scores. In taking a closer look, they discovered that in addition to high levels of employee engagement, organizations also needed to create a high level of customer engagement. It was only when work groups scored high in both of these areas—meeting the needs of both employees and customers—that companies saw the big jump in performance they were looking for. Be sure to read How Employee and Customer Engagement Interact to learn more about this important finding.
What This Means for Leaders
When beginning an employee engagement initiative, remember that the reason for taking care of employees is so they can, in turn, take care of customers. When employee engagement becomes the end and the means, the result might be a happier organization, but not one that necessarily creates the higher levels of customer devotion that drives bottom line profits.
For best results, leaders need to maintain a dual focus on meeting the needs of employees and customers. It’s a two-step approach that will generate the results organizations are looking for.
PS: Interested in learning more about the relationship between leadership practices, employee work passion, and customer devotion? Be sure to check out the Blanchard white paper, The Leadership-Profit Chain, which takes a more in-depth look at how strategic and operational leadership behaviors impact bottom-line results.