Employee engagement proves to be a leading indicator of financial performance-WOW! Now, that’s a statement and a great blog post title. But, it also made me somewhat uncomfortable to be so bold without a little research to back me up. As cause marketers, we “know” that engaged employees are generally more productive, often more customer-focused and tend to go the extra mile, but where’s the proof.
A quick online search brought up a number of studies by leading firms such as Towers Watson and Gallup. I was somewhat familiar with annual Gallup Great Workplace Award (now in its’ fifth year), but digging a little deeper I learned that Gallup’s employee engagement work is based on more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research involving more than 17 million employees! Naturally, research of this caliber often appears in prestigious business and scientific publications, including the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Harvard Business Review.
There are also those bestselling Gallup management books First, Break all the Rules and the 2006 ‘sequel’ on the psychology of employee behavior titled 12:The Elements of Great Managing. I also uncovered a ’12’ mobile app for busy managers on the go!
With this research, now I had the back up to make the claim: Employee engagement is good for the bottom line and strategic cause alliances can be used to positively impact employees.
Employee Engagement Best Practices
- Keep it simple! Make it turnkey, easy to understand and execute.
- Keep in mind the three Gallup classes of employees and create a relevant reward system that meets each of their needs:
- Engaged Employees: those who work with passion because they feel a strong connection to the organization.
- Not-Engaged Employees: those who do the work expected of them, but do not put in extra effort.
- Actively Disengaged Employees: those who aren’t just unhappy, but are spreading their unhappiness to other staff.
- Tap into the emotions of employees-engaged employees tend to make the extra effort because they care.
- Keep in mind employee engagement with cause is a long term strategy, an initiative that needs to be nurtured and built over time.
- Make sure communication plans include online marketing activities and social networking communities (Facebook, FourSquare,Twitter, etc)
- Set achievable goals and time frames.
- Think about about storytelling and provide narratives, photos, and images that employees can use to personalize their cause efforts and further share their stories with co-workers, friends and families.
- Create scalable activities. Start small but think big!
- Say thank you often.
When planning your cause marketing activities, keep in mind these best practices to help demonstrate how increasing employee engagement can have a positive impact on key business metrics.