There’s an excellent article in by Steve Strauss today’s USA Today.com on how having highly engaged employees can make a huge difference on the bottom line. The article cited research which said: “employees who are highly engaged in the workplace are about 50% more likely to exceed expectations. Also, noted in the study is that companies with highly engaged people outperform firms by 54% in employee retention, by 89% in customer satisfaction, and by fourfold in revenue growth.” This research confirms what we already know about employee engagement. If you would like to read the entire article, here’s the link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/strauss/2013/04/29/steve-strauss-good-boss/2115469/
In today’s USA Today, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz provides some great success advice for innovators and entrepreneurs:
- “Success means never standing still and resting on your laurels.
- Find something that you deeply love and are willing to sacrifice a lot to achieve.
- Surround yourself with co-workers who have very specific skill sets beyond your own – but who share like-minded values.
- Don’t ignore luck when it comes calling. “As trite as it sounds, you need a little luck.”
Then he went on to say that success is not sustainable unless it’s shared. This is excellent advice for being successful at anything. If you want to read the full article, here’s the link: www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/24/starbucks-howard-schultz-innovators/2047655/
When employees are engaged with their work, good things happen. I haven’t read of heard of one negative thing that’s happened as a result of employees giving all their energy, creativity and passion to performing their jobs. Rather, engaged employees create a competitive edge for their company that can’t be easily copied—they’re constantly making innovative improvements to products, services and customer experiences while providing superior levels of customer service which results in loyal customers. This means higher levels of repeat and referral business which, in turn, translates into significant increases in market share. In addition, companies with high levels of employee engagement enjoy substantial cost savings due to reduced employee turnover, absenteeism, accidents and employee theft. Clearly, having a workforce of employees that are engaged is a very good thing. if you want to know how to make employee engagement happen in your organization, just go to www.rossreck.com.
Marissa Mayer was hired as the CEO of Yahoo last July to turn the company’s fortunes around. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal points out that Yahoo’s revenue is down and that a turnaround has yet to take hold. What the article doesn’t seem to appreciate is the fact that Ms. Mayer knows what she’s doing and that a turnaround will happen and it will be a solid one. According to that same article: “Ms. Mayer said that it would ‘take several years’ to reach the growth rate she would like, and that her first priority was to make Yahoo ‘a really terrific place to work’ and hire the right people before stepping up the “cadence of product development.” This shows that Ms. Mayer has he priorities in the right order. First, you get the culture right which consists of making Yahoo “a really terrific place to work.” Second, you hire only those people who will thrive in that culture. And finally you turn those people loose and support them while they apply their best efforts to make the company successful. This process takes time, but it’s a “can’t miss” formula and it’s the same formula which is presented in my new book, The Engagement Formula which you can find on http://rossreck.com/.
Attempting to improve a company’s financial results by cutting staff usually makes the situation worse for a number of reasons. First of all, cutting staff does not get at the root cause as to why the company is experiencing poor financial results. This is what needs to be dealt with if a company expects to turn things around. Second, cutting staff deals a serious blow to company morale which causes huge reductions in productivity, innovation and customer service. This, in turn, results in lower sales which makes the financial problem even worse. A good example of this is the J. C. Penney situation that is going on right now: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324345804578423081955213990.html
According to an article in today’s USA Today, customer complaints are up and profits are down at McDonald’s. Customers are complaining about rude employees and slow or “chaotic” service and the problem is getting worse. As a slide from a webcast delivered by Steve Levigne, vice president of business research for McDonald’s USA, “Service is broken.” So what is McDonald’s doing to fix the situation? According to a franchisee quoted in the article, “The new leadership has decided to focus on customer satisfaction as a real driver for us to build the brand and build sales.” The truth is McDonald’s needs to focus on its employees–they’re not engaged with their work. Right now McDonald’s pays its employees as little as possible, doesn’t train them well or treat them well and hence the rate of annual turnover of its employees is high (the fast food industry average is 60%). No company can expect to deliver high quality service with a smile under these circumstances. McDonald’s would do well to take a look at how Quik Trip, a company in a similar industry, treats its employees and it could solve it’s engagement problem in very short order.
I absolutely love shopping at Trader Joe’s. The Quality of the groceries is excellent as are the prices. But, the most important reason that I shop at Trader Joe’s is the people who work there– they’re genuinely nice. As you walk around the store, they great you as if they really care about you. It doesn’t take too many visits before they know your name. If you ask them a question, they’ll go to great pains to get you an answer and if you ask them where a certain item is located, they will take you to it rather than say, “If we have it, it’s in aisle three.” In short, these employees love what they’re doing and it shows in the way they do it. This, in turn, is what brings people like me back to their store on an almost daily basis. It’s a great recipe for success.
Southwest Airlines is profitable and growing because it knows how to manage the one statistic that really counts–passenger complaints. If an airline treats its passengers right, they aren’t all that concerned if their flight is on time of if their baggage is mishandled. The following article in today’s USA Today points this out very clearly: USAToday.com
According to an article by Sophie Quinton which appeared in a March 23, 2013 issue of The Atlantic.com, the average American retail cashier makes $20,230 per year. On the other hand, entry level employees at convenience store and gas station chain, Quik Trip start at an annual salary of around $40,000 plus benefits. As a result, Quick Trip’s sales per labor hour are two-thirds higher than the average convenience store chain and its sales per square foot of store space are more than 50 percent higher.
The article goes on to say, “Entry-level hires at QuikTrip are trained for two full weeks before they start work, and they learn everything from how to order merchandise to how to clean the bathroom. Most store managers are promoted from within, giving employees a reason to do well. ‘They can see that if you work hard, if you’re smart, the opportunity to grow within the company is very, very good,’ says company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh.”
The lesson here is that if you want to clean up in the convenience store business, you have to pay above the market so that you can attract and retain good people and you have to take good care of them. Pretty simple stuff.
The truth of the matter is that it’s impossible to motivate people at work. The reason is: they’re already motivated. They come to work every day motivated to pursue their self-interest—the satisfaction of needs that are important to them. The only thing the leadership of a business can do if it wants its employees to perform at a high level is to engage the motivation that’s already there—to create a situation where the harder people work toward pursuing the satisfaction of their own needs, the harder they work toward the goals of the organization. Companies with a high level of employee engagement understand this. Instead of trying to motivate their employees with traditional means like authority, rewards and punishment, they’ve created environments where employees are free to be themselves, have fun and follow their passion (the motivation that’s already there inside them). This is why the underlying managerial philosophy at SAS is: “Give people the tools they need to do their job and then get out of their way.” At W. L. Gore & Associates, there are no titles, no orders and no bosses. As company founder Bill Gore once said, “We don’t manage people here, they manage themselves.”