The buzzword you can’t afford to ignore

by Helen Hamilton-Shaw | March 28, 2017

‘Employee engagement’ is a catchphrase firms need to take seriously, says Helen Hamilton-Shaw

Business buzzwords have the power to drive normally reasonable people to the edge and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels slightly ridiculous even uttering them. “Let’s circle back and deep-dive a value-added synergistic dynamic” anyone? Argh.

But one such catchphrase does embrace a concept that has real value and is something we’re encouraging all the firms in the LawNet network to focus on. Because succeeding at “employee engagement” will result in more than just happy employees.

Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” 

A wide body of research demonstrates the direct link between employee engagement and business performance, notably client satisfaction. In the US, Temkin Group found companies scoring highly for customer satisfaction had 1.5 times more engaged employees than customer experience laggards. They also found that highly engaged employees were four times more likely to go the extra mile for the business and twice as likely to stay late at work if something needed to be done.

Recent research published by The Institute of Customer Service, backs up this view. They found that just 25% of UK employees are actively engaged, which is very worrying considering the correlation between engaged employees and customer satisfaction.

Their data also shows that only 11% of customers would repurchase from an organisation after a bad experience with an individual employee. Even more concerning is that 43% of customers would actively warn others not to use them too. Your people are your business and their behaviour has an enormous impact on its success.

We know that how your people behave is directly linked to how they feel, and that is largely down to how they feel they are being treated by the business. Your culture is key. As Walmart’s founder Sam Walton said: “the way management treats associates is exactly how the associates will treat the customers” so it’s vital that an employee-focused outlook is part of your strategy.

In the recent Autumn Statement, the Chancellor identified raising productivity as one of the key long term challenges for the UK, as we lag well below the average of the major G7 advanced economies.

Employee engagement has a role to play in addressing this challenge. We know that companies with highly engaged employees deliver better performance across the board, demonstrating twice the annual net profit; 2.5 times revenue growth; 12% higher client satisfaction and 18% higher productivity levels than engagement nay-sayers.

With statistics like that can anyone afford not to take employee engagement seriously?

In my next column, I’ll look at how LawNet firms are tackling this issue and sharing some best practice ideas from other sectors.


This article was originally published by Solicitors Journal on the 31st January 2017 and can be viewed here.