Law Practice Management

Engage your team.
Increase your profits.

May 12, 2015

In the book Follow This Path: How the World’s Greatest Organizations Unleash Human Potential, authors Curt Coffman and Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina analyzed research from the Gallup Organization’s study of more than 10 million customers, three million employees and 200,000 managers. According to the authors, engaged employees “are involved in generating all of an organization’s profits and customer engagement.” Customer engagement goes far beyond merely customer loyalty or satisfaction. Engaged customers are “A+” clients. They literally add value to your business by speaking well of you and your firm and referring other “A” clients to you. They will return to you for legal work. Quite simply, they will generate more profit for your firm.

Here’s the bottom line: Engaged employees will improve your bottom line – significantly. Hundreds of Gallup studies have demonstrated time and time again the positive impact engaged employees have on a business. Businesses with employee engagement scores in the top half as compared to those in the bottom half have, on average:

  • 86 percent higher customer satisfaction ratings
  • 70 percent more success in lowering turnover
  • 70 percent higher productivity
  • 44 percent higher profitability

Did you get that last one? Forty-four percent higher profitability. Engaged employees are positive, happy people who work hard and treat your clients well. And they have the capacity to improve your bottom line by 44 percent. But even if engaged employees only improved your bottom line by 10 percent or 15 percent, wouldn’t it be worth having a team of these awesome people around you?

Communicating Appreciation Authentically Creates Engaged Employees

The book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, co-authored by Dr. Paul White, identifies four critical factors that need to occur for appreciation to be experienced as authentic appreciation by team members:

  • Appreciation must be communicated regularly. If appreciation is only communicated during performance reviews, employees don’t believe the messages sent. Similarly, infrequent messages (once or twice a year) don’t adequately communicate that the team member is truly valued.
  • Appreciation must be individualized and delivered personally. People want to be appreciated for what they individually have contributed. Unfortunately, most organizations use group‐based acts of appreciation – a blast email thanking the department for getting a project done or  coordinating an employee appreciation picnic.   This type of communication often backfires, with employees becoming cynical or feeling offended by the general nature of the act.
  • Appreciation needs to be communicated in the languages and actions that are meaningful to the recipient. Individuals have specific ways in which they prefer to be encouraged. When messages are sent repeatedly in ways outside of our primary language, the intent of the message “misses the mark.” Not only is this ineffective, it becomes discouraging as well ‐ both to the sender and the receiver of the message.
  • Appreciation needs to be perceived as being authentic. People want appreciation to be genuine. Employees are skeptical of programs implemented from the top down where supervisors are given an instruction to “communicate appreciation for each team member at least once a week.” While we all want to know that we are valued, we want it to be authentic, not contrived.

If you get really good at  showing authentic appreciation to your team will they be happier, less-stressed, and more productive. And you’ll see the difference in your bottom line.

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