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Got Engagement?

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

I often see the lack or fear of delegation when working with dealers. Usually, it’s because the owner/leader is a “Doer” and feels it takes too long to get things done or doesn’t feel comfortable in managing or developing their people. To grow from Good to Great requires a leader to get more work through their team. The keys are for your employees to be fully engaged and for you to commit to increasing employee engagement.

The benefits of increasing employee engagement are immense. Surveys show that employees who are not fully engaged cost the economies of the world $7.8 trillion or 11% of the global GDP, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report: 2022. Creating a culture of engagement is not easy. The term “employee engagement” describes a psychological commitment to one’s work, team and organization. It is a mental state that can fluctuate, influenced by workplace relationships, events and employee upbringing.

In 2021, only 21% of the world’s employees were fully engaged at work. Of the rest, some are disengaged, some are actively disengaged (purposely hurting the business) and some are partly engaged (which is why some managers joke about “running a daycare center.”)

Engaged employees are the engine that moves organizations forward on every level. Building a highly engaged organization takes intention, investment and effort over several years. But the results are worth it. The top quartile of engaged employees saw the following benefits when compared to the bottom quartile:

  • 10% higher customer loyalty/engagement

  • 23% higher profitability

  • 18% higher productivity (sales)

  • 14% higher productivity (production records and evaluations)

  • 43% lower turnover for low-turnover organizations (those with 40% or lower annualized turnover)

Engaged cultures are valuable and difficult to copy, thus creating a competitive advantage. Organizations that make employee engagement a focus for day-to-day operations stand out from their competitors. According to the Tower/Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study, to create a culture of employee engagement, leaders should:

  • assign tasks suited to employee skills

  • clearly communicate goals and objectives

  • encourage new ideas and new ways of doing things

  • act in ways consistent with their words

  • remove obstacles to employees doing their jobs well

  • coach and take time to handle the people aspects of the job

Let’s add one more: “Being a Servant Leader.” This means helping your employee discover value and purpose by unselfishly meeting the needs of others. It would be best if you were a role model and then use a co-discovery process to determine purpose, value, success, responsibility, accountability and recognition of achievement/accomplishment. The ag and CE business cycles can be harsh, and 2023 and 2024 may begin downcycles that will occur at the same time for the first time since 1979. Here’s the good news: businesses that succeed in engaging employees are also more resilient to shocks. A Gallup study of organizations during the Great Recession found that employee-engaged companies outperform their peers “even better” during challenging economic times. Stress and chaos in companies have climbed during the pandemic and its aftermath of shortages and delays. It is easy to lose focus of employee emotional engagement and become desensitized to employee culture. Within MAC, we generate unbiased empirical data to show areas most at risk of impeding employee engagement. My MAC colleague Bill Mayes is certified to assess the emotional culture of dealerships. With this data, leadership teams can implement key engagement strategies that eliminate stress, chaos and lack of purpose. Oftentimes, we see these vital actions to take:

  • Design and implement processes so leadership can feel comfortable in delegating responsibilities with the assurance that the task will be done correctly and right the first time.

  • Identify how to motivate employees by empowering, holding accountable and emotionally giving positive/powerful recognition of successes along with constructive pathways for improvement, skill development, and professional growth.

  • Create customer-centric cultures where teams know how to be valuable to customers giving them an honorable purpose and the satisfaction of helping customers achieve success and key goals.

Growing from Good to Great is challenging and can be helped by focusing on “Employee Engagement” — which in turn involves processes, employee development/motivation and customer-centric cultures.

So, step back and honestly assess “Employee Engagement” because that will be your pathway to your next level of success.

As published in Farm Equipment Magazine


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