If you ever feel like your job sucks and your employer doesn’t give a crap, don’t worry — you’re not alone. A few years ago, a survey in North America found that (perhaps unsurprisingly to some) 43% of workers surveyed would not recommend working at their job, and 49% would not recommend their own products and services. You can check out the results of the survey here, but there’s really not a whole lot to say about numbers that high. If fully half of workers in North America would actively push people away from their company’s products, there’s something seriously wrong going on. But why should we care? Because your employees can be some of your most powerful assets when it comes not only to marketing your business, but also to retaining your customers. Employee advocacy, where your employees are actively recommending your products/services (and jobs at your company), is right up there with word-of-mouth marketing as one of the most effective methods of spreading the word about your brand and generating quality leads that convert and stick around.
Let’s start with some statistics.
Brand Messages Get Re-Shared 24 Times More Frequently When Shared by Your Employees
But that’s not all — from Bambu:
- Leads from employee advocacy are 7 times more likely to close
- Customers referred by an employee advocate have a 37% higher retention rate
And yet, darn near 50% of employees in NA are actively dissuading friends, family members, and anyone else who will listen, from working for (or purchasing from) their employers. I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty that some of the large employers out there who are notorious for treating their employees like garbage are almost certainly at fault for this.
But I’m not Worried About the Big Guys — I’m Worried About You
Those big guys? The almost-but-not-quite monopolies — they’re not going to change their ways, and they’re (at this point) too big to change. We don’t care about them — we care about the mid-market firms who are serious about taking their business to the stars, the small businesses who are on the cusp of greatness, the startups who want to build a powerful culture from the ground up. How do you avoid the apathy, pessimism, and downright hatred that so many employees seem to have for their companies? And how does that affect your numbers?
Employee Engagement Breeds Employee Advocacy — Employee Disengagement Harms Your Business
The fact is, businesses large and small are missing out on sales and increasing churn by not treating the problem of low employee engagement. You don’t get to have employee advocacy if you have low employee engagement. You don’t get to bring in more leads (and more qualified leads who are much more likely to convert) if you have low employee engagement.
You don’t get to have higher rates of customer and employee retention.
You don’t get to have higher rates of productivity.
You don’t get to have more creativity.
You don’t get to bring in the best talent (and the best talent certainly won’t stick around).
But, I guess you save some money that you can keep all to yourself instead of spending it on your employees, so if you’re Ebenezer Scrooge, I guess that’s cool.
Whether You Think Employees Should Be Treated Well or Not Doesn’t Matter
Just so we’re on the same page here:
“Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give their best each day, to be committed to their organization’s goals and values, to be motivated to contribute to organizational success, and to have an enhanced sense of their own well-being.” (Source: Engage for Success)
Your opinion on this issue literally doesn’t matter. Whether your political opinions skew left or right, whether you think employees should be nurtured and helped and rewarded or punished and pushed and forced doesn’t matter — if your employees have low engagement, you can expect two (very certain) results:
- You’ll get fewer leads, fewer quality leads, lower conversion, lower retention rates, and lower impact on social media
- You’ll have higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity rates, more difficulty getting good talent to produce, more difficulty getting quality talent to sign on, and higher turnover rates
Retain Your Team and Your Clients (and Success) Will Follow
Look, in my heart, I’m a realist — not all employees are going to be engaged, not everyone is going to love their job, and there’s only so much a gym membership, a yoga class, and a 401k can do. I’m not here to tell you how to do your job or what methods are going to work best to get your employees engaged — or, at the very least, to stop hating your business. What I am here to tell you is this — your employees are just as much a factor of your success as everything else you do. I run into customers all the time who don’t want to spend money on marketing. They wonder why they struggle to bring business in the door. Frankly, I sometimes don’t even know what to say — yeah, guess what, marketing is a cost of doing business. Employee engagement — and the sales and retention benefits you’ll reap from improving it — is a cost of doing business. If you want to win, you’ll prioritize it. If you don’t mind being second tier, then sure, let it go. For those who are serious about retaining customers, competing, and growing, check out the epic and unmatchable Matt Duczeminski’s article on precisely this subject.
And good luck out there, marketer.