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car wash operations, employee relations

The Competitive Edge Many Businesses Overlook: Employee Engagement

(Flickr)

(Flickr)

Employees who are engaged with their work are the overlooked competitive advantage that can differentiate the service you offer from that of your competitor.

A Gallup study last year showed that only 13 percent of employees worldwide were engaged at work, or, as they put it, “psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.” The percentage of engaged employees in North America, though among the highest, was only 29 percent of the workforce polled.

“Engaged employees are the difference between those who just show up and the high performers who define the company’s success,” reported Jeff Boss for Forbes. Employee engagement is vital for any business. A workforce that is valued and committed to your company’s success will reap dividends in achieving sustainable growth and providing unmatched customer service to clients. This is essential in an industry marked by stiff competition that hinges on quality service, like the car wash business.

Here are Forbes’ three principles that all leaders must follow to create and sustain staff engagement:

Consistency. Part of a leader’s job is to pave the way towards certainty, and doing so means offering constant guidance and direction to the workforce. Small changes in company policy can have large effects, and the more consistent leaders are in converting the “new” into the “routine,” the easier those practices are to adopt.

Communication. Ask your people what they think about this initiative or that policy and, more important, how it affects them. Hearing their input will also broaden your perspective as they’ll bring insight that could only come from somebody in their position. Of course, the reverse is true, too. Leaders need to be the first ones to bear bad news as any other source undermines a leader’s perceived awareness.

Combat. The rumor mill, that is. Without information, people choose their own interpretation of reality. Employees want to understand the why behind decision-making to broaden their organizational know-how, and hosting meeting updates that share the status of work not only maintains engagement but it keeps people current in their business area—and their competitor’s. When people understand the rationale behind decision-making, they see how their efforts fit into the broader organizational puzzle, which helps clear up any confusion (not to mention generate more creative solutions).

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