All leaders need to ask themselves why happy and engaged employees are worth their weight in gold. If you’re a business owner, look around your company. If you’re in a leadership role within a corporation, look around your department. Are you using a critical eye to evaluate what’s going on behind the scenes with your employees? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to use your relationship skills and develop those deeper, meaningful conversations that matter to them and the organization.
The Value of Appreciation
It’s amazing to see how showing appreciation and expressing gratitude with two little words like “thank you” and “well done” can affect people. In a report conducted by TINYpulse, 30,000 people were queried to uncover what makes for an engaged, happy workplace. The findings revealed that 70% of people rated their workplace as fun due to the appreciation and subsequent recognition they received, from leadership and peers, and not because of perks such as ping pong tables and free beer Fridays.
Showing gratitude gives employees the support and recognition they want and the encouragement to go above and beyond. In essence, appreciation and gratitude inspire people and motivates them to be engaged and interested.
They Tell One Person, Who Tells Two People…
Developing a cadre of brand ambassadors is a great idea for any company looking to extend their brand externally and reinforce it internally. When employees feel appreciated and included, they are more likely to get involved, go beyond the call of duty, show a greater aptitude for collaboration, and to spread the word of their great feelings about the organization and the work they do that contributes to positive outcomes. It’s important to have communications that run up, down and sideways along the chain. This practice helps reinforce a workplace where open communications are part of the culture and practiced by everyone.
When employees are not feeling appreciated nor included, feelings of disinterest in their employer may develop and can lead them to speak in negative tones publicly and with that can easily spread to any customers with whom disengaged employees may come into contact. These negative interactions can directly affect customer purchases, retention and recommendations on company review sites, such as Glassdoor, Capterra and TrustRadius.
Further, brands always need to be mindful of the speed at which information, whether good or bad, can travel. With the advent of channels like social media, negative and positive messages can disseminate quickly and cast a wide net reaching many individuals in either good or bad ways.
It’s Good Business
Organizations that promote cultures of positivity, camaraderie, collaboration, feedback, and good communications will benefit in myriad ways when it comes to employees.
As mentioned earlier, unappreciated, disengaged employees who come into contact with customers can start a downward spiral, which may, in turn, show its effects with weakening sales numbers and poor online consumer reviews.
In a research project conducted by Gallup, researchers identified nine impactful factors that affect employee engagement with customer ratings, productivity and profitability being listed as three of the factors that can either advance or regress an organization’s brand image and fiscal health.
In a related research study published in the Harvard Business Review details from a Gallup Poll survey uncovered findings that show disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. The occurrences of these high percentages are a strong indicator of not only disengaged employees, but unmotivated employees who don’t find satisfaction in their work, nor do they have a positive outlook of their company. In a joint research project conducted by doctors at the University of California and University of Florida, they found that those participants who focused on the positive aspects of their life, versus the comparison group who focused on feelings of irritation and dissatisfaction, were much happier, optimistic and more likely to demonstrate healthier habits. These feelings are not exclusive to one’s time away from work. They spill over into people’s work lives, affecting productivity and results.
Lastly, organizations must give their employees reasons to be brand ambassadors by setting an example for employees to follow and to not expect people to share goodwill if they aren’t included in the conversations nor allowed to be a contributor. Open communications, recognition, showing appreciation, and good listening are all ways to open the door to a more harmonious work culture.