Carroll Consulting recently completed a survey with some of our clients and other Queensland-based organisations, looking at key issues businesses face today. We started with desk research to uncover six key issues most commonly mentioned in business magazines, blogs and other media. We took these six issues to our clients and stakeholders for them to rate each in the order of magnitude and impact on their daily (and nightly) thinking. The results were interesting but not really surprising.
Their feedback indicated that keeping staff productive was one of their most important issues… following only the need to generate more revenue and drive margin. The next three were finding good employees, managing cashflow and finding more time.
We then asked respondents about the actions they can undertake to enhance staff productivity. The top response related to the need for deeper communication with everyone about vision and purpose, strategic direction, key initiatives and so on. The next was around greater skills training as well as personal development.
We completed this research to support one of our breakfast insight series – this one titled “Are you getting the most from your staff?” Our research was expanded on by the findings in the national Red Balloon/AltusQ Employment Engagement Capability research. This focused on the vital role that culture still plays in the overall engagement of staff in a business – in their performance, how they feel about their jobs, and their interaction with other staff members, clients and customers.
The Red Balloon/AltusQ research measured the ‘engagement capability’ of a business – the ability of a business to engage the hearts and minds of its staff. What became evident was the connection between engagement, staff productivity and increased sales and margin. For example, the findings showed that in companies with high levels of engagement (ie an engagement capability score higher than 80%), 68.4% of them saw an increase in productivity, compared to 49.5% of lower scoring companies. When looking at sales and turnover, 63.2% of high scorers saw an increase, versus only 47.2% from the lower scoring companies. In profit, 64.1% of the high scorers saw an increase versus 44.7% from their lower scoring counterparts.
The research also indicated that the key drivers of engagement and creating the right culture are purpose and KPIs. In other words, people are more engaged when they believe they are working for a greater cause rather than just making money for the owner, and when they know what they have to do to be successful. Leaders that are able to value and reward people for their contribution to overall success and to reaching the company’s purpose, gain the benefits of everything from greater collaboration to innovation to…productivity!
The magnitude of this interconnection makes you wonder why business leaders often fall short of doing all they can to enhance the engagement capability of their business.
Across our work, we see a strong link between a person’s sense of connection to the deeper vision and values of an organisation, their capacity to contribute meaningfully and be valued in return, and their day-to-day performance. In our ongoing involvement with our clients, we make that link a key part of our process, ensuring that we improve their businesses through the recruitment of people whose cultural fit is a strong part of what they offer.
If you’re looking to increase profit and productivity, a key starting point can be to increase engagement with your team and build a stronger connection between them, your purpose and their performance.