Property Casualty

Employee Engagement — They’re Not Just Buzz Words

Jay Gates
Jay Gates
Property Casualty

We continue to hear great news about the national unemployment rate. In fact, as of July 2018, the official number was 3.9 percent. That’s great…but it brings up a pretty important question. As a risk manager or HR manager, do you ever ask yourself, “How does the unemployment rate impact my business?” Spoiler alert: There’s most definitely a direct connection to this number and the potential for increased risk.

I’ve recently had conversations with two risk managers in the restaurant business discussing the levels of turnover with their hourly employees. The restaurant space is notorious for numbers in excess of 100 percent for hourly employees.

Most companies don’t do exit interviews to get a better understanding as to why their people are leaving. We can accept the valid reasons as to why young people move on from their jobs as servers, cooks, and hosts. Many leave to go back to school, they’re finishing school, or they’re moving to a new city. However, according to a Gallup poll, 68 percent of employees aren’t engaged with their employers’ goals or mission statement. In fact, the poll claims 17 percent of employees are actually working to undermine the success of their organization. Wow!

While you may consider the phrase “employee engagement” as a buzz phrase, it is actually vitally important to this discussion. It’s simple, really. If your employees aren’t engaged, they will leave. Not only will they leave, but there’s an increased chance they won’t comply with the policies and procedures of your organization. Think about that for a minute. That means, they will come to work sick, they won’t wash their hands when they leave the restroom, they won’t do their best to deliver a great customer experience, and some will event impact the bottom line by stealing, committing gift card fraud, or giving away free drinks. Scary, right?!

Employee engagement is more than just job satisfaction. We all know people can be satisfied with their job and still not care about the organization they work for. The level of engagement is really needed on an emotional level. This leads to better retention, higher productivity, and a better bottom line. Emotionally engaged employees will go the extra mile. They will greet each guest with a smile, and they will pick up that second shift when needed. We all want that type of workforce, right?

Here’s a tip, though. Getting employees emotionally engaged has to be a point of emphasis from leadership in the C-Suite. It starts with making sure you’re doing your best to hire the right people for your organization. Once you have the right people, you have to invest the resources to train them and give them the necessary tools to be successful. Finally, you have to treat them right and make sure they feel they’re part of a team/organization.

Most of the companies we admire and consider “employers of choice” have figured this out on some level. Those with less-than-stellar turnover levels probably have room for improvement. As the national unemployment numbers remain at all-time lows, it’s critical both risk managers and HR managers do their best to get employees engaged.

If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to hear from you and hear the pain points you’re dealing with!

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