IN SUMMARY: The perfect product, perfect packaging and perfect price don’t necessarily lead to success. Successful brands know that to be a great brand they need to focus on their employees and treat them better than customers.
80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help. 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 10% are concerned about an individual at work they fear could become violent.
By now, you’ve probably heard a few fairly discouraging statistics related to employee engagement:
- The number of employees who are disengaged at work has averaged 70% for nearly two decades.
- US businesses lose $11 billion to staff turnover each year.
- The average company’s biggest productivity losses are often caused by less than 20% of employees who are “disengaged” or “extremely disengaged”.
And then there is the pandemic. Nearly 7 in 10 employees indicated in a survey by mental health provider Ginger that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the most stressful time of their entire professional career, which has aligned with stark increases in new prescriptions of antidepressant, antianxiety, and anti-insomnia medications.
Stress will lead to bad business decisions and employees who focus less on their company’s needs than helping customers with problems. Also, according to research of more than 600 US businesses with 50-500 employees, 63.3% of companies say retaining employees is actually harder than hiring them.
Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year
An exhaustive report by The Engagement Institute—a joint study by The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works and Consulting LLP—underscores how important engagement is to the bottom line. Interestingly, the majority of respondents recognize why they are not fully engaged. They list compelling missions, highly trusted relationships, and well-designed jobs as things they are looking for leadership to provide. This is another reason why communication is crucial to a healthy organizational culture. Employees will tell you what they need to be engaged if you listen to them.
In short, business leaders who are attentive to employees’ emotional needs and unite them behind a common purpose made a positive difference and helped workers stay engaged at work, which led to better business metrics.
If you want to be a really great brand treat your employees better
According to HBR “companies are coming under increased scrutiny from media, customers, investors, and other stakeholders for organizational practices that used to be hidden from the public. People now have access to information including companies’ wages and benefits, sexual harassment policies, and involvement in political issues. Plus, social media gives consumers a voice with which to speak out against companies they believe are unfair or irresponsible — and they expect those companies to listen and respond. Especially prominent individuals, those with social media followers who number in the tens or hundreds of thousands, or even the millions, can have as much influence on companies as traditional media outlets have in the past. Meanwhile, companies are trying to use social media to engage customers in two-way, personal communication, so they must address the concerns people raise and the criticisms they wield.”
Business leaders must recognize that a company’s employment practices can shape brand perceptions just as much as traditional marketing efforts.Harvard Business Review
Putting an emphasis on keeping employees happy and satisfied is important because the customer experience starts with them. Even when employees follow your customer service instructions to the letter, if they’re unhappy, customers will hear it through the phone and see it when they meet, he notes. Unhappy staff leads to disengagement, which leads to poor productivity and sales.
When employees start returning to the office there are going to be some storms that most companies are going to have navigate when it comes to keeping their people happy. If your philosophy is “we can always find a replacement” you’re already screwed.
Treat your people well and ensure managers have a sense of empathy. Stop endless meetings intended to help employees cover their asses and empower them to make decisions and become part of your brand’s success.