Improving employee engagement can have positive effects on your bottom line.

No matter the size of your business, your most valuable resource is your team. And, according to human resources experts, how well that team performs largely depends on how engaged they feel with both their work and the company they work for.

“Employee engagement is good for business,” says Theresa Bolton, corporate director of recruiting for Parrish & Heimbecker. To illustrate this, Bolton points to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group which makes the connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

The study showed 233 per cent greater customer loyalty and a 26 per cent greater annual increase in revenue when engaged employees made the effort to ensure customer satisfaction.

“A positive customer experience equates to higher revenue and higher profitability for the business,” says Bolton. “Companies with engaged employees will outperform those with low employee engagement every time.”

Companies with engaged employees will outperform those with low employee engagement every time.
Theresa Bolton

Ron Guest, co-founder of TwoGreySuits, an online human resources company, and HR consultant agrees with Bolton. “This whole notion of ‘If you manage your people right in your company, it will eventually affect your bottom line’ has been proven to be 100 per cent true, worldwide,” says Guest.

“Even share price appreciation can be correlated with higher employee engagement,” he adds. “So much compelling research on employee engagement has been done and there is no doubt that managing people properly and professionally in all aspects really does have a significant effect on the bottom line.”

Fostering Employee Engagement

Guest says although there are many ways to define employee engagement, to him, “engagement is a measure of how much employees really care about their employer, demonstrated by their actions.”

“Employees demonstrate their engagement by being involved in company activities, showing enthusiasm about their work, being genuinely concerned about the future of the organization, and showing a willingness to invest their time to ensure the company’s success,” says Guest.

Bolton adds that for an employee to be truly engaged, they need to feel that it’s reciprocal. “Employees will be engaged in the company if they feel that the company is engaged in them and their future,” she says.

To make this happen, she suggests employers make employees feel like they are vital to the business; letting them know what is going on with the company and making sure they feel heard and valued when they have suggestions or concerns. She also stresses the importance of giving feedback, both informally and formally, through performance reviews, coaching and recognition.

For ag retailers, recognition is especially important during the busier times, when expectations are higher, and staff are often required to work longer hours. Taking time to acknowledge and reward the team’s hard work will go a long way in fostering engagement, says Bolton.

“Spring and fall are particularly demanding times of the year; working extra hours is not only expected, it is critical to the business,” she says. “Ensuring that these long hours are off-set with rewards go a long way – this could be something as big as profit sharing, or as small as bringing in pizza for the staff on a day when everyone is working late. And sometimes, all it takes is to say, ‘thank you, good job today.’”

Guest says another key factor in employee engagement is the critical (and sometimes tenuous) relationship between an employee and their manager.

When the relationship is good, engagement is high, and employees are happier, more invested and more productive. When the relationship is bad, morale, job performance and, ultimately, profits can suffer. As well, a poor relationship with one’s manager is often cited in exit interviews as the number one reason for leaving a company, according to Guest.

Bolton agrees. “The cliché is true,” she says. “People don’t quit their job, they quit their boss.”

Investing in Engagement

Just how important is employee engagement to employees? Bolton says that when it comes to employee satisfaction, feeling engaged in their work is second only to a good compensation package, making investing in employee engagement money well spent.

“It’s important to note that if your employee isn’t happy, they have options. Staffing in agriculture is a challenge; if you are not engaging your employees, another employer will, and employee turnover is expensive!” she says.

Without a dedicated human resources department tasked with employee engagement and retention, some smaller businesses may find it challenging to stay on top of HR issues – that’s where a company like TwoGreySuits can help. The company offers a comprehensive collection of HR resources and tools, designed to help business owners manage their most valuable asset – their people.

Guest says that businesses of all sizes can benefit from the expertise and resources available at TwoGreySuits, even those with existing human resources departments. Although the service has traditionally been for companies who don’t have their own dedicated human resources departments, he is seeing an uptick in larger companies using TwoGreySuits as well. “We give HR departments a unique resource to go to, where everything is in one spot,” he says.

We give HR departments a unique resource.
Ron Guest

CAAR Perk$

TwoGreySuits is the latest company to partner with CAAR, offering their entire suite of innovative HR solutions to CAAR members at no cost to members through the CAAR Perk$ program.

CAAR members receive a complimentary subscription to TwoGreySuits, granting them full access to a vast library of materials in the online “HR Power Center,” a 24/7 HR hotline, and training opportunities, including a course in employee engagement, designed especially for managers.

To learn more about how accessing a subscription to TwoGreySuits through the CAAR Perk$ program can help your company to build a stronger, more-engaged team, visit the CAAR Perk$ page on caar.org today.

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