(This is the second of three posts where I will focus on employee engagement.  Subscribe to be notified of new posts!)

In an earlier post we examined a study that looked at the relationship between employee engagement and profitability.  The conclusion was that engaged employees lead to better financial performance.

What kind of impact might the slow economy have on financial performance?  To answer that question answer how the down economy has impacted employee engagement. Which of Gallup’s Q12 have been impacted by corporate belt-tightening?

Direct Negative Impact

#2 – I have the materials and equipment to do my job.  Less money invested generally means fewer tools.  Belt-tightening leads to trade-offs that impact the business in a material way.

Indirect Impact

#3 – I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.  More work spread across fewer people invariably means that people are covering for their newly unemployed peers.  Those who remain are doing work that is unchallenging or unrewarding.

#9 – My fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.  Indirectly impacted through smaller workforce.  It’s not that people aren’t committed, more a question of “is the business committed to our success?”

#12 – This last year I have had opportunities to learn and grow.  Related to the others in this category.  When employees are focused exclusively on getting things done they have less freedom to pursue new opportunities.  Add to that management’s reluctance to take risks on people or projects.

No Impact – No Excuses. If your employees disagree with the below statements, management is to blame… get to work!

#1 – I know what is expected of me.

#4 – In the last seven days, I have received recognition for doing good work.

#5 – Someone cares about me as a person.

#6 – There is someone at work who encourages my development.

#7 – My opinions seem to count.

#8 – The purpose of my company make me feel my job is important.

#10 – I have a best friend at work.

#11 – In the last six months someone has talked to me about my progress.

If our employees are disengaged two likely outcomes occur.  First, employees give less than their level best.  Second, employees choose to leave.  In a weak economy the latter may not be as likely to occur so all that is left is for performance to drop off (which impacts your customers and ultimately your shareholders through weakened financial performance).

The pivot point is that focusing on the health and well-being of our employees leads to engagement and engagement leads to superior financial performance. Regardless of the economic environment, our role as leaders is to ensure that people know what is expected, know that we support them, and believe that we have their interests at heart.  We may not control the economy, but we can control how we treat people!

How have you stepped up to the challenge of treating people well to improve your company’s bottom line performance?

It Isn’t the Economy Stupid
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