What does an engaged leader look like? What does he or she do on a day to day basis to be engaging? What happens when leaders engage their employees? What happens if they don’t? All of these questions and more will be answered this month in our series designed to help dealership leaders evaluate where they are on the engagement continuum and provide tips and inspiration for becoming a fully-engaged leader.
Why Engagement Matters
A sports team would not function well without a coach who is excited about the game and incredibly motivated to do what’s best for the team. It’s no different for businesses, as studies have shown that highly committed employees make for healthy companies. Employee engagement plays a vital role in making an impact on the bottom line of a business. In fact, disengaged employees are costly to the success of a business.
Combatting the detrimental effects of disengaged employees begins with engaged leaders.
Employee engagement stems from a number of sources, from pride in one’s job to having a voice in the way a company builds relationships. But the most important relationship that requires time and attention is the one between employees and their leaders. It doesn’t matter whether the leadership is direct or indirect, bridging the gap in understanding between managers and those managed has a huge influence on boosting business for brands.
The most effective employees for a business are ones who are not only present at work, but inspired by what they do—and much of this inspiration comes from having a great boss. Engaged leaders set examples, and whether they set good or bad examples for employees is up to them, but as Gallup notes, leaders who set good examples result in happier and healthier employees, translating to less healthcare costs. Additionally, the top 25% of teams, or the best managed, gain an advantage of 50% fewer accidents and 41% fewer quality defects over the bottom 25%.1 If there is any indication that employee engagement is the leading gauge of a business’ financial performance, this is it.
On the flip side, disengaged employees are costly to the growth of a business, almost stopping business expansion in its tracks. According to Gallup, the “not engaged” group costs the U.S. a staggering $77 billion to $96 billion every year and the “actively disengaged” group jumps this cost to $319 billion to $398 billion.2 Simply put, companies cannot afford managers and employees who “check out” while at work. If this loss in revenue is not analyzed and addressed, there might not be revenue left to examine later down the road.
Moreover, highly engaged leaders who direct managers see a 39% increase in manager engagement, which in turn bumps up the engagement among employees by 59%.2 This is further evidence that if businesses want to see growth, improvements need to go into effect when it comes to engagement, starting with the executive team of the company.
However, one of the biggest concerns of an organization’s executive team is the amount of time required to encourage employee engagement within their company. The fact is, it doesn’t just come down to fostering meaningful relationships by checking in with individuals every once in a while.
To stir change, bosses must show employees they are valued through recognition and appreciation, hold themselves accountable to their employees by spending time with them, form high-performing teams built on trust, provide employees with the independence to control the flow of their daily tasks, and finally, not be afraid to ask for feedback and make an effort to change.3 The fear of trying something new demands to be abolished before it becomes damaging to the building of a brand.
Engaged leaders are the company’s compass to a thriving brand, so much so that the easiest way to destroy a business is by shattering the foundation of its leader. Cut off the leader and a company begins to fall apart. To combat a potential downfall, businesses should consider fostering the health of their employees to enrich the overall health of the company for their brands to flourish in an ever-changing market.
If you haven’t empowered your employees to engage on behalf of your brand via social media, we can help you get started! Check out our article The Power of One and discover research-based proof of the power of engaged employees. And then download our Social Media Advocacy Toolkit for real tools and tips for igniting engagement at your dealership.