Just Getting Started

If you’re ready to make employee engagement a priority in your company, the final segment on how employee engagement works – getting started – ties the building blocks of employee engagement together. This section of the study lays out a way to put all of these building blocks together into a foundation for this work. This is the way to grow your business and power up your people.

It starts with a way your company can embrace the concept of employee engagement as a core value and as a focus 24/7. An important part of the journey involves measuring the current level of engagement in your company and identifying what’s helping and limiting your progress towards higher engagement and improved business growth.

There are a number of ways you can do this measurement. You’ll want to review the options and decide which one best fits your situation. There are surveys available on the internet, in books, and if you’re in a position to do it, you can also have a third party conduct a survey.

Retail store manager and his team

Retail store manager and his team

Regardless of how you do your measurement, you’ll get a lot more insight into how convenience retailers score on employee engagement in the third and final report on powering up your people, which will be published in early June.

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Building Blocks: Job Resources and Demands

If you found that the first two building blocks in employee engagement sound like they can help you learn how to make your business grow, you’ll want to learn more about our next two: making all necessary resources available to employees and shaping the demands managers place on workers.

It may sound obvious, but employees need the equipment and tools required to complete a task, including supplies like brooms and mops to keep the floor clean. These should be readily available and in good condition. If they’re not, it sends a message that discourages employee engagement.

happy african male cashier working at till point in supermarket

Additionally, consider the demands of the job from the employee’s point of view. Some of these demands can become roadblocks to the employee performing the job the way they’re asked. This may come from politics inside the store or company, work overload or concern about job security. This segment shows some of the things that you and your managers can do to create a stronger culture of employee engagement and grow your business in the process.

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Building Blocks: Hiring and Corporate Culture

How does Employee Engagement Improve Business Results

There’s plenty of evidence that higher levels of employee engagement will help you grow your business. If you think there’s upside potential here for your company, you’ll want to look at the building blocks that combine as a foundation for driving employee engagement and improving results for business growth. The next segment shows you how two building blocks, hiring and corporate culture, contribute to employee engagement.

In this segment, you’ll see that a lot of industry research shows why companies committed to building a culture of employee engagement need to first hire people with a good chance of becoming engaged. This means finding, recruiting and hiring those who have traits associated with engagement, including emotional stability, conscientiousness and openness.

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You’ll also see what’s needed to build a company culture where leaders and managers behave in ways that encourage engagement among both new and longer term employees. It’s often the little things that make a difference.

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How Employee Engagement Works

How does Employee Engagement Improve Business Results

Increasing sales and profits is never easy. Improving your sales growth strategy in a way that works over the long haul is even harder—unless, of course, your business has developed a culture of employee engagement. When this is in place, the whole team is working against what usually holds performance back.

There is a lot of evidence showing the connection between employee engagement and improved business results. Some of the results include a direct impact on sales and profits, as well as indirect impact like reduced turnover and fewer job absences. Even more important, however, is that the whole team is on the same game plan. In today’s competitive world, this is a proven way to put a competitive strategy in place.

Store manager and clerk

The second presentation on “How employee engagement works,” or how it improves business growth, pulls together a lot of the facts into a persuasive case and is now available on the council website. If greater employee engagement can generate positive results for so many companies, it’s clearly worth a look.

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What is Employee Engagement?

What is Employee Engagement from CCRRC on Vimeo.

The first phase of the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council North America NACS project on building a culture of engagement was designed to motivate interest through a series of compelling firsthand experiences with employee engagement. These videos, based on industry analysis, are available on the council website and are a great way to learn from your peers.

The second phase of the work, which is posted this week, is the first of five lessons on “How employee engagement works.” Each segment, narrated by Professor Blake Frank, serves up clear, practical insights that will benefit anyone supervising people in the convenience store business.

These lessons answer the question “What is employee engagement?” Blake Frank takes apart this complicated subject and provides illustrated examples that give managers the ability to quickly figure out when an employee or group is or is not engaged. It’s clear by the end of the lesson why employee engagement can have such a powerful influence on customer experience and overall company performance.

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Research Supports the Benefit of Employee Engagement

Puzzle pieces of faces, couple attached in centre

When the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council North America NACS began to look into building a culture of employee engagement, it was hard to know what was real and what wasn’t. That’s when they asked Dr. Blake Frank, a professor at the University of Dallas, to dig into academic papers on the topic.

Academic papers have the advantage of being peer reviewed; i.e. critiqued by other academics, to ensure that they are well done, make a contribution to learning and are supported with original research and footnotes to earlier sources.

The council asked that he review what had been written on employee engagement across industries and develop a broad-based understanding of how employee engagement helps to improve business strategies. It is not important that the findings come just from convenience retailing; that connection will be established later through a large scale industry study in the third part of this project. These findings can benefit all forms of business growth.

From this work, Professor Frank produced a paper (available on the website) that serves as a reference report. It’s designed for HR professionals in convenience and other types of retailing, as well as academics and consultants who have a deep interest in what makes employee engagement so important in all types of growth strategies for business.

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What’s Your ROI?

Employee Engagement: This is what success looks like.

While employee engagement can generate ROIs, it only happens when there’s an investment of time and energy in your people. This starts with taking a clear-eyed look at the culture in your stores and recognizing that the culture is key to unlocking these returns.

It’s not easy to have a clear-eyed look at culture because you’re part of it. That’s where employee feedback can help, but it takes more than that. Managers must also be willing to react to the feedback, and model and encourage what they want people to do to achieve a longer business life cycle. When you have employees who want to work for you, that’s when you get the ROI.

As you’ll hear in the video from managers who’ve done the work to change the culture in their stores, the results from these efforts were incredible. With no organized focus on driving sales increases, sales were up 20 percent. This was simply the result of more engaged employees.

What’s Your ROI

Read more about employee engagement in our ongoing study, Power Up Your People.

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It’s a Partnership

Employee Engagement: This is what success looks like.

Once you have a new employee, there’s an opportunity to build a productive relationship with him or her; i.e. to show them that they’re a valued partner in driving sales and profit of the store. Some people put up barriers, but managers who are good at building employee engagement find ways to break through and communicate with them. Maybe the person is shy or just unsure of themselves. The investment of time and energy in your people is the key to make your business grow.

It starts with listening and finding out what’s important to them on and off the job. In this video you’ll hear what a manager did to turn the company pyramid upside down and to help his employees see they were most important when it came to taking care of customers and aiding business growth.

The idea of turning the company pyramid upside down may feel a little extreme, but you’ll see how it brought a better workplace to life.

It’s a Partnership

Read more about employee engagement in our ongoing study, Power Up Your People.

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Even Small Accomplishments Deserve Recognition

Employee Engagement: This is what success looks like.

 

If you celebrate your employees’ many victories, it builds their engagement and helps grow your business. Your opportunity is to “see them, praise them, and be specific.” It’s amazing how an employee can be energized when one of their accomplishments is recognized. One reason appreciation is powerful is because of the negatives in the workplace. The good news is that it’s possible to neutralize these negatives, and this is something managers can learn.

In this video you’ll hear how a few words of appreciation in a district manager’s newsletter unlocked the energy of people across her district. People wanted to be acknowledged, and after reading the newsletter, many volunteered to work in another store because they wanted to be part of the business growth. You’ll also hear ideas on how to use “real time recognition” to power up your people.

Grow your business, business growth

Read more about employee engagement in our ongoing study, Power Up Your People.

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People Want to Be Known

Employee Engagement: This is what success looks like.

 

Building a culture of employee engagement happens when a manager really gets to know the people who work for them and how that can transform the way employees feel about their boss and the business.

In our third video as part of the “Power Up Employee Engagement” video series, you’ll see a powerful story of how one supervisor decided to not just understand what was important to one of her managers, but to also get involved.

You’ll learn how managers tap into the power of getting to know their people outside, as well as inside of the workplace and how this increases engagement.

People Want to Be Known

This all boils down to the fact that employees, just like everyone else, want to be known as the unique person they are. It also shows that managers who make a genuine effort to do this can take a big step forward in building a new culture of engagement in their business. You’ll see that this doesn’t take a lot of time and can produce some amazing results that improve sales and profit, empowering you to grow your business.

Read more about employee engagement in our ongoing study, Power Up Your People.

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