Why Engagement Matters

Written by: Jim McCarthy, President, Northland Communications
April 2017

Northland Communications was recognized once again as “A Great Place to Work.” So what?

Northland is honored to be considered a great place to work. But we must ask ourselves, what does it mean, and why does it matter?

As a business owner, why should you care about your team members’ engagement, and the engagement of your vendors? After all, you have a business to run and profits to generate.

Before you can care about engagement, or try to improve it, you have to understand what it is and like everything else, its true value to your organization. Often engagement is mistaken for:

  • Pizza parties
  • Balloons
  • Ping pong tables
  • Cool office space

These items may contribute to your overall engagement strategy, but they are not sustainable strategies by themselves. Kevin Kruse, author of bestseller Employee Engagement 2.0, defines true team member engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”

At Northland, we define it as putting people, aligned with shared values, in a position to be successful. We take engagement very seriously at Northland, and are constantly evolving our strategies. It is a never-ending process, as the criteria for being successful is ever changing. Employees want to be engaged. They want to care about the job they are doing every day, as it is where they are spending the majority of their time.

So, why should you care about engagement in your company? Organizations with high team member engagement perform at higher levels, across multiple key performance indicators, than those with low engagement. These indicators include:

  • Profitability
  • Customer loyalty
  • Absenteeism
  • Employee churn
  • Employee referrals to potential customers

Above and beyond these performance indicators, it is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Today, we often find ourselves competing based upon products, features, price, and delivery times. When customers have so many options and more access to the competition, including the Internet, it can be hard to keep pace on these factors alone.

When your key asset is the effort your team members put forth, that is a different story. Employee engagement is an advantage that is difficult for your competitors to emulate, especially the Internet. Engaged employees do things like:

  • Stay late to solve tough problems
  • Take the time to explain all options available to customers
  • Take pride in their work
  • Most importantly, genuinely care about the company’s customers

By taking the extra step and aligning your organization with vendors who share a commitment to employee engagement as well, not only do you have team members who will go the extra mile for you, you have key vendors and suppliers who will go the extra mile as well. Underperforming vendors directly impact your ability to achieve your goals and changing key vendors can be a difficult and costly process.

As a business owner, the bottom line is your key concern. While focusing on profitability and growth strategies, it’s critical to consider who is going to contribute to the bottom line. Employees who are engaged, and care about the company’s goals, will be more effective and passionate about achieving the goals.

The Best Companies to Work for in New York Program, is an award given by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management and The Business Council of New York. The award is based on employee engagement and satisfaction, as well as workplace policies.