If there is one thing that this tough economy has taught us, it's the importance of paying attention to employees and customers. The only way to truly drive business results and customer satisfaction is through engaged employees. Just ask Lowe's.
"True business success doesn't stop with customer satisfaction," says Cedric Coco, Lowe's vice president of learning and organizational effectiveness. "We also must understand today's workforce dynamics and figure out what values, needs, and desires drive our employees."
This topic has been all over the news this year, but as important as it is to company viability and survival, about 15 to 20 percent of workers are actively disengaged. According to Gallup, disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy more than $350 billion a year in poor customer interactions, increased sick days, and lower productivity.
A recent report published by the Human Capital Institute shows that "investments in training and development" go a long way in showing employees that they matter to an organization, and that's critical during this economic recovery because you'll need your top performers when things get better.
What do your employees think about their work environment and the employee-employer relationship? Do they have career aspirations and work-life balance issues? What values do your employees hold in the highest regard? How engaged are your employees in your organization?
If you don't know the answers to these questions, start inquiring, because as Coco writes (see page 40), "employees are the lifeblood pulsing through our operations."
The bottom line is that the success of your company depends on the level of engagement of your workforce. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for creating an engaged workforce, but building and supporting a company culture that values learning, career advancement, and work-life balance is a start.