Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

For HR Success, Consider 'Employee Engagement'

October 19, 2007

The days of cracking the whip and expecting your employees to respond may never be over, but they should be for companies that wish to succeed. In the call center, where annual turnover can exceed 100 percent, it is vitally important to pay attention to conventional wisdom when it comes to people management, otherwise you'll find the call center's number one job isn't to serve customers, but to recruit, hire, train and fire agents.

Survey results from a recent International Roundtable on the topic of "employee engagement" reveal that organizations with formal employee engagement programs will distance themselves from the competition, particularly in the areas of recruiting, retention and bottom-line financial results. The roundtable featured industry experts and co-participants Andy Parsley and David Zinger and was attended by 70 HR professionals and business leaders from Fortune 500 companies

As part of the International Roundtable, which was hosted by Globoforce, an on-demand provider of global, strategic recognition solutions for Global 2000 companies, the 70 HR professionals and business leaders in attendance were polled and asked for their opinions on a variety of issues relating to employee engagement and employee recognition programs. During the discussion, 81 percent of the participants said they believe that recognition programs are integral to recruiting top talent. Additionally, participants agree these programs can act as a strong competitive differentiator when attracting candidates.

In addition to the “people potential” benefit, 84 percent of the participants agree that a well-executed employee engagement program will improve a company’s financial bottom-line.

“We’ve seen data over the past few years which shows that an engaged workforce has a direct positive impact on the bottom-line. The latest feedback from these business professionals is further evidence that if you don’t have a formal engagement program, you’re not ‘with the program,’” said Parsley, the director of Green Lion Insights and Solutions, an employee engagement consultancy.

Because of the clear and tangible benefits an employee engagement program can bring to global organizations, 59 percent of the participants said that employee engagement is increasingly a hot topic of discussion within the C-suite, gaining that all-important executive “mind share” within their companies.

“Although employee engagement programs have become an executive-level issue the past few years, it’s clear more work needs to be done communicating the benefits according to the results,” Parsley added.

The survey results also expose several risks in not adopting formal engagement programs, which can lead to disengaged employees. For example, 62 percent confirm that fallout from disengaged employees leads to poor quality of work and decreased productivity. Further, 22 percent claim disengagement puts companies at risk to losing talent to a competitor.

“Unfortunately, for those 41 percent who don’t believe employee engagement programs are an executive-level issue just yet, they’ll find out the hard way – perhaps before it’s too late – losing valuable talent and/or business to a competitor,” commented Zinger, an expert on both employee engagement and strength-based leadership.

Despite the fact that 41 percent of participants do not believe employee engagement programs are getting much interest at the executive level, an emphatic 90 percent of participants say that a strategic recognition program – one that is strongly aligned with their company’s mission and values – can play an important role in a successful engagement strategy.

“Through the work we’ve been doing with some of the world’s largest, global Fortune 500 corporations, we now have solid evidence that employee recognition is in fact the ‘tipping point’ to an overall successful employee engagement strategy,” said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. “It’s quite simple: in today’s competitive global economy, getting more discretionary effort from employees is the key to business success, and a strategic and well-executed employee recognition program is now a ‘must-have’ for achieving that success.”
Tracey Schelmetic is editorial director for CUSTOMER INTER@CTION Solutions. For more articles please visit Tracey Schelmetic’s columnist page.