Employee Engagement & The Bottom Line—Interview With Best-Selling Author Kevin Kruse

by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Contact

Kevin Kruse is a New York Times best-selling author who has written three books on employee engagement, including Employee Engagement 2.0: How to Motivate Your Team for High Performance (A Real-World Guide for Busy Managers). In this interview, I ask him why engagement matters and what can be done to create an engaged workforce.

JATHAN JANOVE: What is your definition of “employee engagement?”

KEVIN KRUSE: Well it’s not the same as employee satisfaction or making employees “happy.” I mean, we hope employees are happy, but you can be really happy while you’re goofing off and not working on company objectives. Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment employees have to the organization and to the organization’s goals. When you feel connected to the company, when you have the commitment, you’ll give discretionary effort—you’ll go the extra mile.

JJ: What is the state of employee engagement in American companies?

KK: Unfortunately the level of engagement is so low that I consider it a crisis, not just in America but around the world. Research shows that between two-thirds and three-fourths of all workers are non-engaged at work.

JJ: Why so dismal?

KK: Well nobody seems to know exactly why. Engagement has been dropping dramatically for about 25 years now. It just seems that too many companies are focused more on their short-term profits than their long-term purpose. Too many people are focused on being task-managers instead of people-leaders.

JJ: What can an organization’s leadership do to increase employee engagement?

KK: If you want something to improve,then you need to measure it, and engagement is no different. C-level leadership needs to measure engagement with surveys, share the results down to front-line leadership, and let the ideas for improvement come from the employees themselves. Most of engagement comes from our relationship with our boss. So it’s at that level—the grassroots front lines—that the improvements have to occur. Front-line managers need to be trained in the importance of engagement and instructed about the top drivers of engagement, which are growth, recognition, and trust.

JJ: How do you answer the objection that employee engagement is that “soft skill stuff” that doesn’t translate into hard business metrics?

KK: That belief just comes from ignorance. One study from the Kenexa Research Institute showed that highly-engaged companies had shareholder returns that were a five times higher than those at disengaged companies. It’s because of what I call the “engagement-profit chain.” When employees are engaged and are giving discretionary effort, you see it result in an increase in productivity, service, quality, sales, and ultimately profit and share price.

JJ: Individually and collectively, sustained behavioral change is tough to accomplish. How does an organization accomplish that goal?

KK: You’re right, change is hard. Engagement has to be an ongoing process . . . not a one-and-done event. In all my companies I would do a survey-share-and-brainstorm cycle every six months, and you definitely need to make team engagement part of everyone’s performance plan.

JJ: How can individual employees increase their engagement when their bosses aren’t doing what you recommend?

KK: While the boss is the number one factor in engagement, we can control our own emotions and feelings to a degree. When we realize that we are influencing those around us—whether they report to us or not—we realize that we are all leaders. It’s not a choice. We influence people by what we say and do and by what we don’t say and don’t do. So being mindful of our own engagement, and encouraging others to grow, to show appreciation, and to remember the mission—these things can increase our positive feelings.

JJ: Any further thoughts or suggestions on how to increase employee engagement?

KK: We’re all so busy and frantic that it’s tough to be mindful of engagement. It’s far easier to rush off to the next meeting, to respond to a few emails, or to cross some things off the to-do list. But when we remember that engagement isn’t just good for the bottom line, it’s also good for our health and relationships outside the office too, that’s when we can keep it top of mind.

Kevin Kruse is the author of Employee Engagement 2.0 and can be reached at his website.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Contact
more
less

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!