Employee Engagement is Critical to an Optimized Workforce
By Mark Heymann Chairman & CEO, Unifocus | November 17, 2019
Think about the last time you asked someone about their experience at a restaurant or hotel. Likely, their response included not just their thoughts on the quality of the food or the comfort of their room but the service as well. Were employees courteous? Efficient? Did they anticipate the guest's needs? Because whether one's talking about a Chili's or Spago, a Best Western or a Four Seasons, a key driver of guest satisfaction is the staff.
An engaged server-one who is committed to the success of the organization and passionate about representing it well-will result in higher-quality service delivery and greater satisfaction. And as any hotelier knows, a satisfied guest is more likely to return and recommend the business, ultimately driving top-line revenue.
For a service business, intent to return and recommend is the dependent variable of optimized performance, because achieving that level of customer satisfaction hinges on one's workforce. Every aspect of workforce performance-skills, availability, timing and attitude-must align in order to meet the customer's expectations. In the hotel environment for example, UniFocus has found that a 10% increase in employee engagement scores among our customers translates to an average increase of $50,000 to $70,000 in room revenue for a 100-room limited service property.
Engagement is at a High-But Not High Enough
Here's the good news: According to a 2018 Gallup poll, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged U.S. workers is at its highest-2.6 to 1-since Gallup first tracked engagement levels in 2000. The percentage of engaged workers now ties that of the poll's inaugural year at 34%, while the percentage of actively disengaged is at a record low of 13%. Gallup attributes this increase in engagement to two factors: higher worker confidence that they have a choice in where they work, thanks to an improved economy, and a management approach that has shifted to coaching workers based on their strengths.
The bad news is that the remaining U.S. workers-a majority, at 53%--fall into the "not engaged" category. And lack of engagement has a recognized negative impact on everything from productivity, teamwork and turnover to customer satisfaction.