Need More Customers? Get Happy Employees!

What if I told you that the best way to grow your business was to focus on the happiness of your existing employees?

Happy employees create happy customers. Happy customers deliver referrals to your sales team. And happy employees deliver candidate referrals to your HR team. Sounds so simple right?

So why do so  many companies struggle to maintain happy and loyal employees and customers?

According to Gallup’s “State of The Global Workplace” report, only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged in their jobs, finding satisfaction in their work and focused on creating value for their employer. Actively disengaged employees outnumber engaged employees by 2-1.

Why is this important for marketing strategy? Because the role of marketing is to get and keep customers. And the most effective way to do that is by hiring and retaining engaged employees.

Need proof? According to Gallup, companies who invest and attain higher employee engagement achieve 3 times the operating margin than those with low employee engagement.

What does a company with high employee engagement look like? According to the report, companies with high engagement:

  • Make employee engagement important by discussing why it is important before measuring it
  • Make employee engagement an important goal for all managers
  • Select and promote leaders based on their ability to effectively manage people
  • Measure engagement in realistic ways that are meaningful to individuals.
  • Their measurement activity leads to actions
  • They provide training and coaching for company managers on effective employee management

In fact my own research has shown that the conventional wisdom that you need to “like” your boss doesn’t correlate with happy employees. Happy employees don’t always like their manager. And unhappy employees don’t always hate their boss.

What really matters is how well managers encourage their employees to present new ideas. And then support them up the org chart to put the best ideas into action.

The Gallup report also profiled 3 types of employees:

  1. Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward. 13%
  2. Not Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time — but not energy or passion — into their work. 63%
  3. Actively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish. 24% (holy cow!)

Steps To Higher Employee Engagement

  1. Hire the right people: With each new hire or promotion, employers have the opportunity to increase employee engagement in the workplace
  2. Invest in developing strengths: employees who received strengths-based coaching saw their engagement scores improve substantially.
  3. Enhance employee well-being. Everyone wants a good job, fair pay and affordable healthcare. But the best managers find ways to improve employees’ lives by focusing on employee well-being, balance while also helping them to be more productive.

Or you could ask one simple question of all employees: does your manager champion your ideas!

Companies with engaged employees see 240% improvement in overall business results. They build brand ambassadors who reflect positively on the business with each interaction with customers, potential new talent, fellow employees and society at large.

Engaged employees not only understand their businesses purpose, they can articulate it as well. And they understand how their job contributes to the overall purpose of the brand.

That’s how to get and keep customers. That’s how to get and keep talent. That’s marketing, helping sales, helping HR, helping to grow the business.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook  and Google+ or  Subscribe to the Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.

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