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.”
As I visit with people who work for different businesses, I hear about their efforts to improve the level of employee engagement. The common element of all these conversations is that these people are only trying to improve the level of engagement by a few percentage points instead of aiming for full (100%) employee engagement. With the global level of employee engagement hovering around 30 percent, a few percentage points of improvement really isn’t anything to write home about. What businesses need to do is start swing for the fences when it comes to improving the level of employee engagement and make full employee engagement their goal. The first step in doing this is to read a copy of my new book, The Engagement Formula which presents a new leadership model that guarantees full (100%) employee engagement. The truth of the matter is that it actually takes less effort to achieve full employee engagement than it does to raise the level of engagement by a few percentage points. For more info, go to: www.rossreck.com
The experts are very good at two things when comes to employee engagement: talking about it and and measuring it. What they can’t do is tell you how to make it happen in your company or organization. This is why the global level of employee engagement has hovered around 30 percent during the last several years and is not improving. My latest book, The Engagement Formula, contains a new leadership model that guarantees full (100%) employee engagement. If you’re interested in learning about it, here’s the link: http://rossreck.com/
This very powerful story was sent to my by a friend of mine and I’d like to share it with you.
“The last company I worked for was strong for the first few years and then started declining once we took on investor money and got away from our core values. At one point, the founder (no longer the CEO at this point) sent me 2 graphs. One was titled “Revenue”, and the other did not have a title. The 2 charts were very similar. They had spikes around the same times and dips around the same times. He asked me what I thought the second graph was, and I could not figure it out for the life of me. Finally, he told me that the second chart was the number of posts on the ‘iRock Board.’ The iRock Board was a little module that I added to our in-house software that allowed employees to post messages about coworkers that went above and beyond. The 2 graphs showed that when our employees were posting lots of compliments, revenue went up. When the iRock posts started to decline, so did our revenue.
Kind-of makes you think… :-).”
Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Business have been managing their employees the same way for more than a half century and the level of employee engagement is still only 23 to 31 percent. Clearly, change is needed before the level of employee engagement can significantly improve. The Engagement Formula, which I recently discovered, is the key to making the necessary change happen. This formula contains three simple steps that guarantee full (100 percent) employee engagement. Think of what it would mean to the success of any business if all its employees were working at their full potential. If you’re interesting in learning more, here’s the link: http://rossreck.com/
Employee engagement is extremely to the success of a business because it’s the primary driver of its financial performance. At the same time, research by Towers Perrin and BlessingWhite point out that only 21 to 31percent of the global workforce is engaged with their work. Clearly, something is very wrong with the way businesses deal with their employees or the level of employee engagement would be much closer to 100 percent than it is.
My recent book, The Engagement Formula presents a completely new methodology for working with employees that guarantees full employee engagement. If a business organization follows this formula, 100 percent of its employees will become engaged with their work—all working at their full potential. Think of what it would mean to the success of any organization—profit or non-profit—if it could get all of its employees engaged with their work. If you’re interested in looking at it, here’s the link: http://rossreck.com/