In our country, workforce engagement is at 30 percent, those not engaged is at 52 percent, and actively disengaged is at 18 percent (Gallup, 2012). Creating a multi-dimensional focused workforce environment is key to increasing engagement, buy-in and performance — for both employees and the company itself.
Employee engagement can often make or break a company’s reputation and sustainability. Recently I experienced firsthand an incredibly good example of a fully engaged employee who understood the significance of his role as it related to the customer and the future of the company. I wrote the following letter to David Guerrero, Front Office Director of PGA National Resort and Spa, the home of the Honda Classic:
One of your employees, Dan, took my breath away earlier this week and deserves recognition. I have entered and exited the resort many times over the last few weeks as I have taken my grandson to and picked him up from the PGA National Resort Kid’s Camp. Earlier this week when I arrived to pick him up I parked reasonably near the portico entrance because it had started to rain. As it turned out, when I returned to the entrance with my grandson, the rain had escalated to a huge tropical downpour with sheets of rain gushing off the portico. While my grandson and I were debating whether we should wait it out or just get soaked, up walks Dan (guest welcoming assistant and bellman) and asks where my car is. When I pointed it out to him he said “let me go get it for you so you won’t get wet.” And he did just that – he got soaked, and brought my car around under the portico so we would not get wet. That is “service excellence” and I wanted you to know how far out of the call of duty he went for a customer and wanted to be sure he would be recognized for his kindness and excellence.
I would have been remiss in not letting the PGA National Resort and Spa know about such a perfect example performance excellence. After all, Dan and the other members of that team are the first impression a guest gets of the resort and the last impression when they leave.
As you might guess, I received a very nice thank you note from David stating: “Dan has truly been a gift to our resort and he completely embodies what is at the heart of hospitality.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. Dan not only embodies what is at the heart of hospitality but is also a great example of a fully engaged employee who understands why he is doing what he is doing and how it is connected to the outcome — in this case exemplary customer service so the guests are completely satisfied and will return again and again.
How to Increase Engagement and Buy-in
When you increase employee engagement the customer wins because they feel valued and respected — but the employee also wins because:
- Employee retention improves
- Flow of ideas and communications increase
- Problem solving and productivity increase
- Employee buy-in increases
- Employee morale goes up
Clarity through communications. In the example of Dan, it was obvious that he had a clear understanding what his job meant to resort guests and how it was connected to the overall goals of the resort. He wasn’t a bellman or a car attendant; he was a welcoming committee of one and the ever-so-important first impression for an arriving guest or the last contact upon departure. It had been clearly communicated to him how important he was and that he was on the front line in the trenches. Do your employees at all levels have a clear picture of how important their role is in the future of your business? Communicate, communicate, communicate and then have employees play back what they have heard. It might be very different from the message you sent. Clarity in your corporate vision, in the role employees play and how it is all connected is key to buy-in and sustainability.
Creativity unleashed for problem solving. Clarity and communication beget creativity and innovation. Dan completely understood my needs as a guest. Both my grandson and I could leave and get soaked or we could wait out a serious storm that could last two or three hours. He made an instant decision — independent of management. He didn’t offer to give me an umbrella or suggest I go back into the resort and have a drink. He got it; I had a child with me and we needed to go home. His solution was thinking outside of the box; he did what was in the guests’ best interest. Empowered employees know they are appreciated and respected. When they know they are more than a liability on the balance sheet, their creativity and innovation are unleashed.
By providing a workplace environment where employees are focused, encouraged, inspired, empowered and appreciated, they voluntarily buy-in. This in turn raises their productivity, improves their performance, and reduces stress. They look forward to coming to work. They contribute to the corporate vision. How do you do this?
- Create a corporate culture that makes employees feel that they are part of the big picture – when they feel listened to, considered and communicated with they feel more engaged and empowered
- Create an orbital communication system which includes their feedback — feeling they are not important, unwanted or dispensable creates disengagement – but feeling wanted increases morale, creativity, and productivity
- Create decision-making teams that involve every level of the organization including the “Dans” of the world – they want to be part of the team and have a say in the future, otherwise they feel alone and irrelevant
- Create calm where chaos exists – everyone lives in cement cities, in a sound-polluted and rushed world – the less chaotic and more calm their workplace is the more productive and empowered they will feel
It takes active aggressive leadership to have exemplary employees like Dan on your team. Encourage and empower your employees to go the extra mile by creating an engaged workplace environment where the employees are actively engaged in what you want them to do. Imagine how much it is worth to your company’s productivity, profitability and sustainability.
© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2015
Pat Heydlauff, a “flow of focus” expert, speaker and consultant designs workplace environments that fuel the flow of focus, maximizes productivity and yields future sustainability. She is author of the forthcoming book, Focus • Connect • Regenerate 7 Ways to Lead and Fuel Sustainability and published books, Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It, The Way We Go, Your Roadmap to a Better Future and Selling Your Home with a Competitive Edge. Contact her at 561-408-2708 or www.engagetolead.com.Share