Engagement – the key to performance

Performance drives business more than in any other time in history. How do we get to a measure of company performance that is reasonable and that will be a good predictor of the performance on the bottom line?


If you compared two companies to one another you may be tempted to look at similarity of strategy, structures, products, services, revenues and costs to determine which one will have a better performance. Some people are suggesting that three measures of engagement is a much better measuring system. The three proposed measures are


  1. Employee Engagement
  2. Leadership Engagement
  3. Customer Engagement


The idea of engagement is becoming a far more relevant measure and predictor of performance than any other single factor that has been found to drive performance.


Employee Engagement


Surveys have found that typically only 25% of employees in a firm are engaged, 25% are disengaged and 50% are partially engaged.


That means that 25% of the employees currently can stay home and work on their own stuff and be as productive as they are at work. Some estimate that in most organisations at least 10% of employees in any organisation are already “resigned” – but just waiting to exit.


Engaged employees seem to have less employee turnover, higher productivity and better overall happiness and performance. This is exactly the reverse for disengaged employees.


Some of the most prominent factors to influence employee engagement include:

  • The relationship with your immediate supervisor
  • The belief in senior leadership
  • Pride in working for, and connection with purpose of the company


In addition other factors that increase engagement include

  • Level of management (senior vs more junior)
  • Size of organisation you are working for
  • Level of education
  • Earnings level
  • Equity of earnings
  • Below age of 30 and over 50


Employees that are typically less engaged include

  • Middle aged employees from 40-49
  • The highest educated staff
  • Lowest levels of employees
  • Employees in an organisation less than 1 year
  • Client facing and clerical employees
  • Those working in highly repetitive industries


Employees expect their managers to be caring and to create a workplace environment in which they can perform. If they can participate in decision-making and achieve clear and substantive results they tend to continue to put in energy. When they have little work, little access to managers and they are left to their own devices – employees generally tend to move from being a contributor to an enthusiastic, involved and later an “esteemed employee” that is well on their path to becoming disengaged.


Another phenomena are that companies that do not take care – tend to lose engaged employees as they expect more from the organisation. This has been likened to the Gartner hype cycle that basically proposed that every new idea goes through some key stages. The Gartner cycle for seems to valid for employees that goes through a learning curve, a peak of inflated expectations, going through a trough of disillusionment leading to a slope of enlightenment and plateau of productivity.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gartner_Hype_Cycle.svg



Some labour analysts predict that organisations of the future will see labour turnover rates as high as 65% as “normal” while organisations that have low turnover rates and high engagement will be the high profit companies.


Customer engagement


With the advent of social media we are fast learning that it is not just okay to put our message out there – but that it is important to engage with our customer. Increasingly companies are taking back their social media from outsource agencies and senior people are starting to play a role in ensuring that the company’s messages are communicated clearly and to a wide audience.


Customer engagement typically gets measured through the extent to which customers engage in:


  • Satisfaction.
  • Loyalty
  • Retention.
  • Advocacy.
  • Awareness
  • Filtering.
  • Complaint-behaviour.
  • Marketing intelligence.


The new types of initiatives to drive consumer engagement includes

  • Collaborative filtering – getting people to like, rate, categorise, prefer or otherwise identify with a product
  • Community development – forming users into communicates that collaborate, communicates and that self-expands
  • Community participation – engaging with the customer as they participate in the communities
  • Direct user engagement – giving users tool to communicate and engage with each other.
  • User generated content – let users participate in forums and events with the organisation and associate with the brand
  • Customer self service – giving greater control and insight in the production and information for consumption and participation with the customer
  • Product co-development – creating spaces and forums in which the customer engages in developing the product and refining its delivery.



Leadership Engagement


The idea that managers have such a large role to play in the perceptions of the employee of the workplace have led to the concept of leadership and management engagement.


The idea is that you as the leader and manager need to focus on how you are getting others engaged in the business.


If you are on top of the information that is being sent to you – being engaged with your employees on solving the issues and challenges presented and lead clearly from within the team – you tend to have higher engagement scores. If you stand outside of the team, only swoop in when there is an issue and never spend time actively engaging with your employees – then you are not doing so well on engagement.


The idea of leadership engagement to customers is also revolutionary to some organisations. Customers want to feel that they are close to the “personalities” that drive the organisation and great leaders realise that they have to engage with customers and employees and that the engagement metrics will be highly dependent on their input.




Everything can distract you. Life itself seems to be one distraction after the other. You need to look beyond this to the big picture and also be present wherever you are. If you are busy working when you are home and busy worrying about home when you are at work – you are not present in either circumstance. By refocusing your effort you can achieve positive results in both by focusing when you are present on the situation in front of you right now and doing something about it.


Presence Economics


The message is clear. To be successful in the new world – you have to be present, aware and engaged in that which is in front of you. For those engaged in any type of spiritual development will recognise this as being mindful, conscious, attuned or in the moment. If you are an absentee landlord – the harvest will not come.


Increasingly these ideas are being translated into actual scoring mechanisms that organisations are using to predict if the organisation is


Maybe score yourself to see

  1. How engaged am I with my work?
  2. How engaged am I with my customers?
  3. How engaged am I with the people below me?
  4. How engaged am I with my life outside of the work place?


If you are present and engaged – you will prosper and if you are not – you need to rethink carefully where you want to be and what you really want to do as it is inevitable that the position that you are in currently in, needs to change to fulfil your potential.