Employee Engagement… Oxymoron?

In my last two postings I have touched on the issue of employees getting emotional at work… in a good way – as it relates to the performance of the business or organization.  Unfortunately, having been “inside” several hundred companies, it is a rare sighting.  If emotion were on a continuum from zero, plus or minus 10 – minus being upset, and plus being enthusiastic, my observations would place the vast majority of businesses at zero, plus or minus 2. Yielding a narrow “neutral” band of employee engagement. Of course there are outliers, but this fits the majority. Employee engagement without emotion is an oxymoron.

This lack of emotional engagement manifests itself in many insidious ways. Some easily observable… some not.  Fundamentally, if the majority of employees are doing what they have to, too “get by”. Then you probably have 10 to 20% more employees than you need. This is a huge payroll, fringe, health care, direct cost issue.  The more covert costs are the impact on quality, customer service, consumption of other company resources, etc.  Having assessed hundreds of companies, I can tell you these total costs generally run 4 to 10 cents on every revenue dollar, maybe more.  That’s an additional million dollars in cost for every 12 million in revenue +/-. It’s a lot and it’s there.

As difficult as this condition may be to admit, today’s marketplace is becoming increasingly less tolerant of it. Either leadership addresses the issue, or the market place will. We prefer the former!

The good news is there are clear, straightforward strategies to address the lack of employee emotion in your business and its impact on your cost structure.  These strategies will result in significant cost reduction/profit improvement opportunities.

This human performance issue cannot be wrung out with lean, six-sigma, CI, incentive formulas, total reward programs or some other popular acronym of the day. It requires something more… and something less. We will begin that conversation in my next posting on Monday.

If you find this blog of interest, please recommend it to a colleague. Thank you.


About Karl F. Muller

Specializing in driving Organizational Performance to new levels. Utilizing a tactical and focused four (4) part strategy to engage all employees in the pursuit and achievement of performance and real financial results. Applicable to manufacturing, service, distribution and corporate services groups. We have worked throughout North America with businesses and facilities ranging from 50 to 5,000 employees, union/non-union. Define... Measure... Pursue... Reward. Celebrating our 30th year. 200 public speaking engagements, 5,500 senior managers trained, 700 organizations assessed. We are serious, tactical, focused. No fancy corporate speak, no blue suits. Just Results. The Muller Group, Inc.
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