It’s no secret that Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson – an English business magnate, investor, and philanthropist – is a great boss and leader. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.
Branson’s theory? There’s no better salesperson than one who loves their job and sings its praises. In a reversal of common business thinking where customers come first, Branson has built a profitable empire by putting employees first. His reasoning is simple – treat employees badly and they, in turn, will treat customers badly, tarnishing the brand and ruining a potential sale.
Branson says, “By putting the employee first, the customer effectively comes first by default, and in the end, the shareholder comes first by default as well.” Oh, Sir Richard Branson, if only we could clone you and put you at the helm of every business in the world. Employee disengagement would no longer be a global epidemic and the lives of billions of people would improve, as being miserable at work wreaks havoc on employees, their friends, their family members, and even people they do not know.
Being disengaged at work has a ripple effect far beyond decreased productivity, customer satisfaction, creativity, and company profitability. As human beings, we are all energy and we are all connected. What does it mean to all be connected? It means we are all ‘affected’ by each other, even by people we do not know or have yet to meet.
For example: If you live on a remote island with only 60 people, when something happens on the island, say a bad feeling between people, it trickles through and affects the mood of everyone. And that negative energy is also cast out, affecting people who are not physically on the island.
Globally, 87 percent of employees are disengaged, which means billions of people are casting negative energy toward other employees and the world. While this may sound dramatic, it’s not – it’s the truth, as long as your believe in Quantum Mechanics.
You chose to be a leader – a dealer in hope. With that choice, you signed up for a huge responsibility – to ensure your company succeeds. The quickest path to that goal is to re-engage your most valuable asset: your employees. Engaged employees give you blood, sweat and tears. Disengaged employees give you scraps. For this reason, disengaged employees offer the greatest untapped potential for you to improve productivity, profitability and performance. Period.
What Can I Do? It starts with creating a strategy to re-engage employees, which your managers must execute, because they are closest to your employees. But where do you begin? Look at your employee engagement survey and focus on the five lowest scoring questions, as these are your top areas for development. Then brainstorm actions that managers can take in the trenches to improve these five areas. The key is consistency. If all of your managers execute the actions consistently, you will realize progress. Culture change is not difficult – working in a dysfunctional culture is. Go for it!
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website
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