Building employee engagement

Giving Employees Belonging and Purpose: The Bottom-Line Benefits of Employee Engagement

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This age-old question looms over you into adulthood. What on earth am I going to be when I grow up? When I was little, there were days that I thought I’d be a world-renowned chef…or a teacher…or maybe I was making plans to go to New York and be a broadway star. Every kid asks themselves this question. Our career path is personal. It’s integral to our identity and greater purpose.

But, how many people do you know feel that deep sense of belonging in their current work? How many are thinking “Now, this is what I want to be.” Spoiler alert: Not many.  In fact, only about a third of U.S. employees feel invested and engaged in the work they’re doing. And the other two-thirds are just showing up.

How do those disengaged employees impact your company? Gallup found that an actively disengaged employee costs their organization $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary, or 34 percent. That means an actively disengaged employee who makes $35,000 a year costs their company $11,900 annually. That’s a ton! Say if a contact center has 50 agents, and two-thirds (or 34) of them are just showing up, that’s $404,600 out the door. Or, if your contact center team has 100 agents, you’re looking at a $793,334 loss this year.

The good news is, engaged employees impact just about every aspect of your company in the best ways possible. Let’s investigate some of the bottom-line benefits of building employee engagement in the workplace.

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For the Contact Center

1. Better Retention and Lower Absenteeism

Engaged employees are going to stick around and be on time.

In Gallup’s State of the Workforce report, companies saw absenteeism rates 41 percent lower with their engaged employees. When employees are invested in their work, they want to come to work daily. And on time. They want to grow and better themselves and show punctuality and responsibility.

Similarly, turnover rates are lower in companies that push for engagement. Companies see almost 30 percent lower turnover when they invest in employee engagement. When employees can’t use their strengths, don’t feel challenged, or don’t enjoy their work, they’re more likely to leave their current employer. That matters for your contact center. With turnover rates as high as 45 percent and increasing issues with absenteeism, contact centers are struggling to keep up service quality, agents are experiencing burnout, and companies are throwing away money to keep seats filled. Engaged workers are more important than ever in call and contact centers.

Engaged employees don’t have a reason to look elsewhere for work. If contact center agents see that their work will lead to a better future, they’ll stay put. They’ll be more loyal to your company mission and their daily work.

2. Higher Productivity

Employees perform better when their work contributes to a clear mission. When employees’ needs are met, they don’t just become happier — they become better performers, too. With engaged employees, your company and your contact center will see increased productivity. In fact, Gallup’s report says companies with employee engagement programs see a productivity increase of about 21 percent.

Related to productivity, employee health is a critical factor in employee engagement. Open communication, respect, trust, and positive work relationships support health and psychological well-being of employees. Gallup found that employees’ physical health and psychological well-being affect the quality and quantity of their work. Link your employees’ work with a greater purpose and an opportunity to grow, and they are more likely to work harder. When agents are empowered to creatively fix customer problems, more customers will be serviced and cared for with just one contact. Engaged employees will lead your company towards more loyal employees and more loyal customers.

3. Better Customer Service

Higher productivity? Better service. HR Magazine reported on a major department store chain they studied, finding that customers were more engaged when they worked with employees who were engaged.

Customers notice when your employees are hardworking. They notice when your agents are happy to be there and happy to be caring for them. Gartner found that when it comes to making a purchase, 64 percent of people find customer experience more important than price.

Your contact center will serve your customers better if your employees are satisfied and engaged in their day to day work.

4. Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is a little different from employee engagement, but they aren’t unrelated.

Employees can be satisfied with their work but still not be engaged. When you’ve got employees who are content, they might not be going above and beyond in their work. Are they pushing themselves? How about being innovative? Are they finding new skills to learn?

If the answer is no, they’re likely not engaged in their job. But, if they’re engaged, they are almost definitely satisfied with their job. Research has proven that when a company invests in employee engagement, they have more employees who are satisfied in their jobs.

For your Company

1. Customer Satisfaction

When your agents are engaged, they’re finding creative ways to meet the needs of your customers. McKinsey and Co. said in their customer experience report that today’s consumers don’t just buy products or services. More and more, their purchase decisions revolve around buying into an idea and an experience. It’s your employees who contribute to that experience. Your agents are the voice of your brand, the advocates for your service. When they’re positive, excited about your product or service, or go beyond their job description for the sake of your customers, your customers notice.

Kevin Kruse writes on Forbes that customer service teams with high engagement had a 37 percent NPS compared to a 10 percent NPS for teams with lower engagement. Survey data supports the reality. Customers are more satisfied with companies where employee engagement is a priority.

2. Increased Revenue, Profit, and Shareholder Returns

Customers are satisfied and employees aren’t quitting every few months. This naturally leads to greater returns and revenue for your company. Forbes writes that companies with highly engaged employees beat average revenue growth in their sector by 1 percent. Meanwhile, companies with low engagement were behind their sector’s revenue growth by an average of 2 percent.

In a Gallup study of 89 companies, they compared top quartile and bottom quartile engagement scores. Those in the top quartile had 2.6 times higher earnings per share than that of the below-average scores. Gallup evaluated a company who repaired Caterpillar construction equipment. Their report revealed that when this company invested significantly in employee engagement, they saw a 100 percent increase in profit. And, they saw a 15 percent increase in revenue, and a healthy shift in culture — all because of greater engagement.

As customers grow satisfied and your company focuses on retention of employees, your profit, revenue, and shareholder trust grow.

The Bottom-line

So, what am I getting at? The bottom line is, engaged employees are foundational to growth and stability. It’s important to look internally before you can focus on profitability. Who are the people behind the work? Are you providing them their dream job, or at least a clear stepping stone? Are they experiencing belonging, purpose, and growth? These are essential questions to wrestle with as you hire, train, and empower employees at every level of your organization, especially those on the front lines with your customers.

Need some help rallying your employees to feel purpose in their work? Read our recent post for some tips.