You can’t really have a conversation about organisational success without talking about employee engagement. It’s been the hub of conversation for the past few years – and rightfully so. Businesses with engaged employees have a lot to show for it – from higher levels of productivity to lower turnover rates, all the way to higher customer ratings.
This got us thinking about sales specifically – do employee engagement levels have a direct affect on sales success? The answer is undoubtedly yes. When you have an actively invested team on your side, they are more likely to drive the results you need.
You can have a stellar sales strategy, but without an engaged team your efforts might be fruitless.
Engagement and core business drivers
According to a Gallup meta-analysis, companies that ranked in the top quartile for employee engagement outperformed lower quartile companies by 22 per cent in profitability.
And it’s not just sales results that stand to benefit. Companies that have high levels of employee engagement created higher quality products, saw less absenteeism and exhibited higher earning per share than their disengaged counterparts. In fact, the report tied employee engagement to dramatic improvements in nine key performance outcomes:
- Customer ratings
- Turnover (for high-turnover and low-turnover organisations)
- Safety incidents
- Shrinkage (theft)
- Patient safety incidents
- Quality (defects)
The findings solidify the fact that employee engagement plays a big role in a company’s success – especially in a time where disengaged employees tend to be the norm.
“When you ask people about their intentions during a recession, it’s pretty clear that disengaged workers are just waiting around to see what happens,” explains Jim Harter, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief scientist of employee engagement and well-being.
“Engaged workers, though, have bought into what the organisation is about and are trying to make a difference. This is why they’re usually the most productive workers.”
Clearly, an engaged staff is something every business should strive for, which begs the question: How can you ensure your team is engaged and invested in your business? We’ve come up with some tips and tricks.
1. Be strategic with your approach
Employee engagement requires a conscious effort from your team. You need a strategy in place to ensure you are driving engagement in the right ways, measuring it properly and actively improving your approach as you go.
This means sitting down with your leadership team and deciding what actually inspires engagement in your business and forming a strategic approach centred on those drivers. The more you treat your employee engagement plans like any other business objective, the more likely these efforts are to succeed. Be smart in your approach.
2. Invest in the right people
While there are a lot of things you can do to advance engagement internally, most of these efforts would be fruitless without the right leadership in place. Gallup conducted another poll that revealed just how important it is for leadership to support engagement across the company.
When employees worked under engaged supervisors they were nearly 50 per cent more likely to be engaged themselves. It follows the mantra ‘practice what you preach.’ When staff members see their leaders committing to the team and their tasks, they are much more likely to become engaged themselves.
Engagement stems from picking the right leadership team members.
3. Value and reward your people
Think back to the role you were most engaged in – was your boss vocal about your achievements? Did he/she recognise a job well done and reward you for a stellar performance? The answer is probably yes and that is no coincidence. Engagement and recognition are closely linked. That’s because when employees feel valued they are more likely to be invested in their roles.
Consider this: a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 85 per cent of businesses that spend 1 per cent of more of their payroll on recognition efforts see a positive effect of engagement levels.
This can be as simple as peer-to-peer recognition via a company blog or an internal email, or as big as an actual prize.One of the best rewards for the modern employee comes in the form of professional development opportunities. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey, younger professionals prefer learning and training programmes over financial incentives as a reward for good performance.
Looking for an engaged team to up your sales game?
For almost 20 years Leading Edge has provided custom built sales solutions to New Zealand companies, including our largest partner Spark. We provide high-performing, locally based sales teams that can help businesses achieve outrageous growth. If you're interested in seeing how sales outsourcing could work for you, contact us here.