customer engagement follows staff engagement

15% employee engagement is common and dangerous

Most businesses I come across operate on the belief that they have a high level of customer engagement than they do. Research, however, suggests otherwise, with one study finding:

  • Engaged staff – 15%
  • Non-engaged staff – 67%
  • Actively disengaged staff – 18%
This same study found that even in organisations that recognise this lack of engagement, some 70% fail to make the transformation required to achieve a high level of staff engagement. Low staff engagement can negatively impact the capacity of the organisation to attract the best people, retain the best people, and get the most out of them. As a subset of this, low staff engagement impacts on the capacity to engage with prospects and customers.

Research suggests that – ‘companies that have engaged employees outperform those with the disengaged employee by 202 per cent’.  Another study concluded that – ‘organisations with higher engagement levels tend to have 75% fewer quality defects, along with 26% fewer workers’ compensation claims related to safety’. In addition to impacting on staff attraction, staff retention and staff performance, staff engagement also impacts directly on personal engagement with customers.

Research has also found a direct link between the level of staff engagement and the level of customer engagement with – customer experience leaders having 60% more engaged employees. This research also found that – ‘customer experience leaders have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as do customer experience laggards.’

Research suggests that it is difficult to maximise engagement with customers before first maximising the engagement of staff. Higher levels of staff engagement can be facilitated by:
  • Ongoing conversations rather than relying on discrete surveys
  • Ensure that the right people are in the right roles with the right expertise
  • Provide staff with the background knowledge, training, and incentives
  • Ensure that staff understand the vision and their part in its realisation
  • Treat staff like the individuals they need to treat their customers like
  • Provide a sense of serving the greater good and a higher purpose

Maximising staff engagement, building a team, and creating a culture oriented towards customer engagement is central to effective personal engagement.

RECOMMENDATION – Engage with your staff or lose your customers. Engagement and the resulting relationships are critical to performance. Your staff will not engage with your customers until you engage with your staff.   


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