Like any good manager or owner, you know what you want for your business. You have goals for sales, profitability, turnover, and marketing ROI. To achieve all these goals, you’ll have to tackle a lot of different strategies, but you’ll need one thing to make them all work: employee engagement. When your employees are engaged with your business, they’re emotionally invested in helping you achieve your goals. They care about their work and, more importantly, they care about how their work contributes to your business’s overall success.

Employee Engagement: How It Works

Leadership expert Kevin Kruse, in an article for Forbes on employee engagement, explains, “When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.”  Engagement starts with employees and ends with higher sales through the Engagement-Profit chain. Here’s how it works:

  • Higher service, quality, and productivity leads to…
  • Higher customer satisfaction leads to…
  • Increased sales (repeat business and referrals) leads to…
  • Higher profits for your business.

Employee engagement works because when employees are engaged, they go the extra mile — for their teams, for their managers, and for their customers. Everyone wins. Other benefits of employee engagement include fewer sick days, lower turnover, and higher staff morale.

Promoting Employee Engagement

This all sounds great, right? It is, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Employee engagement isn’t about what you say as a store manager, it’s about what you do. Here are a few ideas to get your staff engaged:

Recruit and hire the right employees. Remember, you can train for tasks and skills, but you can’t train for good character. Recruit people who are enthusiastic, customer-focused, willing to participate in the team, and forward-thinking.

Invest in Training. Employees can’t be engaged in what they don’t understand. Make sure your restaurant training program supports the overall goals of your operation.

Seek input, and listen to it. We’re not talking about just putting up a suggestion box, here. During team meetings, pose specific questions and ask for specific feedback. Take everyone’s opinions into consideration and encourage discussion. If you have an employee with a break-out idea, empower them to help implement it.

Show the benefit. Engaged employees think beyond the paycheck, so focus on how being engaged helps them in the long-term. Establish rewards and perks that support the idea that when the store succeeds, everyone succeeds.

With all the benefits of having engaged employees, you might think everyone’s doing it. Not true — studies show that only about 25% of businesses have solid employee engagement strategies. Engaging your employees not only brings you closer to your goals, it gives you a competitive advantage over your competition. Get engaged!