Understanding the Connection Between Employee Engagement and Business Performance
By Chris Powell, CEO, BlackbookHR

Description: chris-powellWith all the buzz around employee engagement, it’s shocking to realize that more than 70 percent of employees aren’t engaged, according to Gallup. Business leaders are often confused by that number — after all, their employees seem to be satisfied and the bottom line isn’t bad. The problem is “seem” — business leaders aren’t taking advantage of new technology to survey employees and cross-reference with vast amounts of data they have about performance and business outcomes.

Business results are generally straightforward — sales or revenues go up or down. But tying those results with employee surveys, demographic information, behavioral data and years of performance reviews can illustrate the effects employee engagement has on performance. Many organizations have the data they need to build successful candidate profiles for key positions and recruit people who better fit their companies — they simply need to get the tools to make it happen.  Follow these tips to draw the connection between engagement and performance.

Understand Employees Like You Understand Customers

You likely put a lot of effort into understanding your customers through every step of the sales pipeline. That research has a definite impact on your bottom line. You’ve probably devoted quite a bit of work to developing marketing strategies that are most effective for your best customers. As your customers interact with you, you compile data on their habits to help you sell even more successfully.

Apply those same strategies should apply to your employees. You’re sitting on a lot of data that can help you see how they work, what they need to work effectively, who’s helping them work more efficiently and more. Turn your analytic eye inward and look for ways to improve engagement and the bottom line.

Align Your Business and People Strategies

You hear a lot about alignment, and for good reason. You need alignment to make all of your business improvement efforts work together. When you align your business strategies with your people strategies, you’ll find that engagement really takes off.

If your business is focused on growth, you have to ensure that the people you hire are growth-oriented. If your business is looking for stability after some turbulent times, your employees need to be interested in careful, prudent work as well. An aggressive seller who only wants to close the deal isn’t likely to feel engaged at an organization that wants to grow its business through long-term relationship building. Aligning your employee expectations and culture with business outcomes will help people see how their work affects the bottom line and builds the business.

Target High-Performing Departments

Start your engagement initiatives in the departments that consistently reach their business goals. You likely have plenty of data about performance, and running a couple of surveys will highlight areas to tweak to make the department run even better. We’ve found that the business units most willing to participate in engagement surveys include sales and operations, call centers, customer service and store managers. Focus your initial efforts on those units to knock out some quick wins that will help you build momentum in your engagement efforts.

Employee engagement has a direct effect on the bottom line. Once you start viewing engagement through the lens of business performance, you’ll be able to make changes that have a big impact. Explore what drives employee engagement and receive best practices for an employee engagement program by downloading The Complete Guidebook to Employee Engagement.


Chris Powell is the CEO of BlackbookHR, a software company on a mission to create more engaged and connected workplaces and communities. He previously served as Executive Vice President of HR for Scripps Networks Interactive (HGTV, DIY, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, et al.), as Vice President of HR for the global financial services company ING and in various corporate HR roles at Marriott International.


HR Pulse is a bi-monthly resource published exclusively for the members of the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association.

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