Your employees are essential in creating memorable customer experiences. When customers have a great experience, they can drive business with positive reviews and pictures posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TripAdvisor. And in many cases, employees are singled out by reviewers for making the guest experience great. When employees are truly engaged, they are much more likely to go the extra mile for customers and deliver a fantastic experience.
But what if your employee is having a bad day? Isn’t smiling? Just gives “yes” or “no” answers to customers? Is he watching his iPhone instead of the 7-year-old putting the harness on incorrectly? In short, he is not making personal connections with customers, and probably not with his coworkers either.
The impact can be real. Researchers at the Hay Group have shown that a company’s organizational culture (and its employees’ level of engagement) accounts for as much of one-third of financial performance.
Gallup studies report that only about 20 percent of workers are “actively engaged” in their jobs. About 60 percent are “disengaged” (meaning they simply do their jobs and not much more). About 20 percent are “actively disengaged” and consciously undermining the organization.
The biggest driver of employee engagement is the employee’s direct supervisor. If you have a disengaged boss, it’s likely you are less engaged yourself, which in turn impacts those you supervise. And if you are the CEO, your level of engagement has the strongest impact on the organizational culture.
So how do tell if your employees are engaged? That is, how do you know they are committed to the company’s goals and values and willing to contribute to the organization’s success? Ask the following questions researcher Daniel Goleman says influence a work environment. We’ve included some clues for each question to help you answer it.
1. Do employees feel free to innovate without being burdened by a lot of red tape?
Engaged: Employees share ideas and feel there’s a chance they will be implemented.
Disengaged: Employees hold back on ideas or believe their ideas will go nowhere.
2. Do employees feel responsible to the organization and accountable for their part in driving results?
Engaged: Employees go beyond complying with their job function and envision their role as contributing to the organization’s success.
Disengaged: Employees talk about the job description as the limit of their role.
3. What are our standards around the quality of work expected from the people in the organization?
Engaged: Employees “raise their game” when they see other employees putting in extra effort.
Disengaged: Employees collude to operate at a minimal level of performance.
4. Do people get clear and appropriate feedback and rewards that are in proportion to work performance?
Engaged: Employees know what they need to work on to deliver more effectively on their job.
Disengaged: Employees have no idea someone is dissatisfied with their performance, or feel feedback is unfair.
5. Do employees clearly understand the company’s mission and values?
Engaged: Employees are connected to the larger narrative about your company, its founders, and the benefits of the park.
Disengaged: Employees have disdain for customers or the park itself.
6. Are employees dedicated to a sense of common purpose?
Engaged: Employees recognize that “we’re all in it together” and are capable of celebrating the success of others.
Disengaged: Employees wonder what’s in it for them.
If you answered no to any of these questions, your team may not be creating those Instagram-worthy experiences for customers.
However, as a leader, you have an opportunity to influence that. Next month, we will explore specific behaviors that separate the merely good leaders from those who create truly engaged and committed teams.