Before we go deeper in understanding the competitive advantage of Employee Engagement, let’s understand the difference between Engaged Employee and Actively Disengaged Employees.
An employee is engaged when he/she works with passion, feel a deep connection with the organization and takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.
- They create hope and explores possibilities, which leads to innovation
- They are high on productivity and energy, which leads to an overall positive work environment
- They are highly aligned with the purpose and with each other
- The employee turnover will be lesser, which means the funds required for recruitment for the replacement can be used for employee welfare and company’s sustainable growth
Actively Disengaged Employee
Actively-Disengaged Employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they are busy acting out their unhappiness.
- They will not just hurt the quality of the delivery, but they will leave distaste with your customer.
- They will most likely undo the good work of the actively engaged folks, who might be working hard to take the organization forward.
- And, they may demand significant time from management/leaders, which should have actually been spent with the customer and in taking the business forward
You can further refer to my previous blog on “Actionable Classification of Employee Engagement” for detailed categorization and how do they impact the organization.
I use below image and ask the question, which team do you think is performing better?
The unanimous answer to above question is Team A.
The irony is that Team B has
- More people
- Lesser Load
- They might have started earlier
- They might be costlier
Also, being misaligned is causing the Team B to be
- the team members are at the best frustrated with each other
- the likelihood of stress is high and
- churning is assured
Now that we understand the engaged vs disengaged employee and the result of engaged team vs disengaged team, let’s understand what does competitive advantage mean for a business?
The straight-forward answer will be that a company has a competitive advantage over other company if it
- is having better sales growth
- has a higher market share
- is creating better shareholder value
- has better profitability under the same market condition
When you understand the above advantage, the obvious question is, what causes these advantages? Well, I am asking you to assume that the market condition is same and none of the companies have a magician in their leadership role. If you look very closely, you will realize that the advantage exists because one company is better at the customer engagement with respect to the other company. What it means is that they
- are ensuring better customer service
- are continuously looking for improving the customer experience
- have satisfied/happy customers
- have better customer retention
And, who ensures better customer engagement? Can you just achieve this through the best possible training courses? Well, the answer is that the engaged employee ensure an improved customer engagement and there is no formal training for this. Unless this is done with passion, the customer will be able to see that your employee is faking. The customers are also a human being and they want to see a human giving them a great experience, which makes them revisit the same vendor/supplier.
The effective employee engagement helps with
- lesser absenteeism
Thus it becomes easier to see an engaged employee ensuring better customer engagement and hence a better customer experience.
Following image depicts the competitive advantage that an effective employee engagement can lead to:
Social Media and its impact
While the financial advantage it easy to visualize, it still takes a while before it becomes obvious. However, the presence of social channels like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc makes sure that engagement becomes publicly visible and that too immediately. The issues which used to be privately discussed are becoming publicly exposed and debated – and it is becoming available for the current employee as well as the potential employee.
An organization’s culture, the way they work in their day-to-day life, becomes known to everyone. While the potential employees do look at these details, even potential customers also take these details equally seriously. Good or bad, the transparency is relatively higher and organizations on the right side of the transparency will have a clear advantage.
Employee Engagement is a key differentiator for any organization. With the shortage of desired skill, the technology innovation that the world is currently going through and the kind of social tools that exist today, the effective employee engagement is no longer a choice, but it is super important. I strongly believe that in the near future, the company which can ensure a great customer experience will be the winner. For that to happen, the prerequisite is to have an effective employee engagement and hence I do see this as a great advantage.