Employee engagement is declining. Here’s why it’s worth your time


Brianna Newman
HR Columnist

Look around your dealership. For every 10 employees you see, chances are only six of them feel engaged.

That tally comes courtesy of a massive employee engagement study by Aon Hewitt, who surveyed 5 million employees across 1,000 organizations worldwide.

Results showed that just 63 per cent or 6 out of 10 employees feel engaged; only 24 per cent of that group reported feeling highly engaged.

How successful do you think you can be running at 60 per cent?

Dealers who focus their attention on engaging their team will provide a better experience to their clients. According to the research, a five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a three-point increase in revenue growth the subsequent year.

This makes sense because we know that engaged workers are smarter, faster and more eager to learn and help their clients. That’s hard evidence that engaging your workforce positively impacts your bottom line.

Brianna Newman

The study shows that in North America, the biggest opportunity for improvement lies in better performance management and improved rewards and recognition. Here are some quick wins that you can start implementing today. I have seen them in action so I know they can work for you too.

Rewards and Recognition
While it may come as no surprise that rewards are at the top of the list. There are things you can do to make an impact without making sweeping changes to the compensation structure. It’s not always about the money.

Social recognition is an easy and quick way to highlight and reinforce to your employees they have done a good job and you value their contributions.

This new-age way of saying thanks makes it easy for everyone to get involved. Recognition should not only fall on the shoulders of the manager.

Going one step further, leverage social media to recognize someone from your team. Try a monthly employee post (like a modern employee of the month program) where you highlight their years of service, ask them about their favourite car and point out what value they bring to the organization.

It’s a simple gesture but it goes a long way.

Performance Management
This has become an age-old concept or yesteryear. Ask 10 employees if they have had an annual performance appraisal and the answer will almost always be no.

I can’t tell you the number of times I hear from leaders who tell me they would like to do performance reviews but add that it is not top priority. This lack of importance for the process means it gets lost in the long list of things to do. And to top it all off, it is a daunting task.

The new-age workforce places a top value in knowing where they stand and how they are doing at all times!  They want to be coached and they want to learn.  Empowering your managers to hold weekly check-ins with your team will help deliver on that. Make this a habit.

Meet with your management team monthly to determine if there are issues with performance and build a quick action plan to get in front of the problems.  It is much easier to tackle something before the fire is started versus after. Make sure you stick with these meetings. Don’t just hold one and then stop. Make it a habit.

We know managers are busy, but we have to learn how to make time to develop our employees. We have to step out in front of employee engagement and work from the inside out. Make employee engagement a daily activity. That is your best bet and it’s worth your time.

Brianna Newman is part of The Minery – a forward-looking consulting company with products and services that are evolving the automotive industry. Combining technology with a people-centered focus, The Minery has successfully created accountability and engagement solutions for their OEM and dealership clients.  Brianna can be reached atbrianna@theminery.com.