As a leader, you know that your job is to serve your team, and that if they thrive, your customers will thrive. If you know the benefits of the customer loyalty mirror, you'll ensure that your people are connected to the purpose of the business, and that you have a program of learning and fitness.
- So you might find, as I have, that there's such a melding between the work week and the weekend. Sometimes, I don't think I've had a weekend. I think it's also, can be the case with our employees. There's no real difference. We're always on. There's digital communications everywhere. And yet our role, our responsibility as a leader, is to allow employees to flourish. We want them to feel a sense of accomplishment to do great work. Not only that, in small business, how hard is it to find great people, and to keep them? They say, if we can just reduce absenteeism it makes an immaterial difference to the bottom line.
In fact, absenteeism, particularly in small business, is stressful for everyone 'cause other people have to pick up the work that that person who's not there on that day doesn't do. So, if there's five people in your team and one person's not there, then 20% of your workforce hasn't shown up. So that work has to be picked up somewhere, or the customer experience is impacted. I realized that my job as leader was to make sure that I supported my people. I thought I was going a great job, but it need a framework.
It needed a framework for two reasons. One is I did want people to do their best work. I wanted people to go home feeling like a winner. Secondly, I wanted to keep them, retain them. Recruitment is so expensive. And also, when they were at work I wanted them to give me their discretionary effort. You know that one extra email, to be truly present. Gallup did a whole bunch of work about engagement. And let me just define it for you. There's those people who are engaged and they love what they do every day.
They show up and they play full out. Then there's those people who are just not engaged. And those people come to work and do what they're told. But then there's those people who are actively disengaged. And there are people who actually hate you. You pay them but they hate you and they talk badly about you. And I know that I didn't want to be paying any of these disengaged people. On a small team I can't afford any of those. So I wanted all of the engaged people. The other thing is, engaged people talk about your business, especially on social media.
They encourage people to maybe even join you, new employees but they definitely promote you. Unfortunately apparently 27% of those people who hate you, they're disengaged, are planning to spend their whole career with you. I think we need to set them free to go and work for the competition. 'Cause I only want engaged people. I want to work in a place I want to work, I want to have fun too and if they're all truly engaged, ultimately, great people produce great outcomes.
I've often coined the phrase, happy people equals happy customers equals happy profits. Because there's such a thing as a customer loyalty mirror. Those organizations who have highly engaged teams are also likely to have highly loyal customers. And they're also likely to be 25% more profitable, like for like. Again this is not about me being nice, this is about commercial outcome. This is about delivering to the bottom line.
People who love what they do, do great work and deliver you commercial outcomes. Now happiness is one of the many human emotions. There's anger, there's jealousy, there's pride, there's many human emotions. Happiness is but a fleeting moment. So it's not a sustained thing, it's not as if they come every day to work and, wooo, we're here at work! No, no, of course not. They might want to be with their families. But what I do want is that when they're there, they feel like they belong.
So I needed a framework and I went out and I did a whole bunch of research, looked at stuff about engagement and then I found some work from the New Economic forum and they were talking about the five elements of well-being, and I just thought wow, that's amazing. What if I look after my people's well-being, then they can look after the well-being of my customers. So I just looked into it and I thought actually it's not that hard. I could do all of these things and it doesn't need to cost a lot of money.
So the first element of well-being, is do I belong? Do I feel connected? Am I part of a community? Do I fit here? Do I have a friend at work? And I put in place a bunch of things, including having a buddy at work, making sure that people were absolutely aware of their role, but also where they fit in the organization. The second one is other learning. What are they discovering? Are they growing as a human being? For us to really thrive, we need to learn.
You could have a book club, watch a Ted Talk and talk about it, have lunch and learns. I ask in a whole bunch of friends of mine and they literally just come and talk about their journey. I had a gossip columnist, a policeman, I had somebody from the military, just sharing their story about how they went on their journey. It doesn't always have to be vocational. The third one is, are they fit? Are they healthy, are they able? And that's both mentally and physically able.
We can teach people about nutrition, encourage them to give up smoking, but our job as employers is also to provide a framework for people to be fit at work. The fourth one is about recognition. People need to be noticed. They need to be nurtured and noticed. And this is not just a pat on the back or good on ya, mate, it really is thank you for your contribution, you've made a difference to a customer today.
An authentic thank you in the moment. I remember somebody saying to me years ago, I didn't really get what you meant until a customer thanked me for what I'd done, he said, "I went home feeling like a winner." I just couldn't believe it. And it's really easy for all of us to make someone else's day just by authentically thanking them. I sometimes say to the bus driver, "Thank you for getting me here safely and on time." And they look at me really as if I'm a little bit crazy but in that moment they go, "She saw me." "She saw me." And that is really, really important for a sense of well-being.
And the fifth one is about our ability to give. It's about your employees' ability to contribute to other people. We've done a fair bit of work about our own purpose but when somebody gets to give generously, they feel incredibly great. Could they volunteer in your community? Can they be somebody else's buddy or mentor or coach? How else can they give? When they contribute to others then they grow.
So we looked at putting in place certain activities to touch all of those five elements. And it fundamentally shifted the way people viewed work. Because there is this melding between the work week and the weekend, the workplace and the workspace become so much more important. For many of the people in my team, they've immigrated to Australia or they're not from their hometown and they're far away from family.
For us, we may well be their family. So that's what we create by supporting our people's well-being. A sense of belonging and this is my family. And when you create that, you will see that there's a fundamental shift in the ability for people to be creative and contribute to the growth of your business.
- Finding your purpose
- Keeping the passion alive
- Setting the framework for success
- Ensuring that your people are aligned to your goals
- Setting your priorities
- Promoting your business effectively