How Can Family Firms Improve Their Employee Engagement?
12th September 2017
It is a universally accepted fact that employee engagement is an essential ingredient to achieving organisational success. Family firms have many advantages, and are perceived as benevolent organisations, however cannot afford to rest on laurels given that engagement is an area that defines their competitive edge.
And to achieve even greater returns organisations must not only engage their workforce but enable them. Our research, from across millions of employees globally, confirms that it is only when high levels of employee engagement are matched by equal levels of employee enablement that people are able to work to their full potential and exceptional results follow. Specifically, our research shows that those organisations who have upper quartile engagement and enablement in turn achieve superior organisational results including, 4.5 times greater revenue growth; 50% increase in employees exceeding performance expectations; 54% reduction in employee turnover and an 18% increase in customer satisfaction rates.
In today’s ever changing and challenging macro social and economic climate, organisations are having to work harder to leverage the power of their workforce to achieve desired levels of performance. Therefore, now more than ever it is critically important that businesses make engaging and enabling their employees a key priority.
How Family Firms Compare
Our recent research shows that family owned businesses are doing a good job compared to non-family owned businesses with generally higher levels of both engagement and enablement. We see that employees have higher levels of pride, are more committed and motivated in family firms when compared to non-family businesses. There is better teamwork and higher levels of trust. Family businesses have a higher regard for the environment and their social responsibility and are generally more customer focused. Overall these are cultures where the values are lived and are intrinsic throughout the organisation.
Although this is good news, family owned-businesses can still do more. In some areas engagement and enablement levels still track lower than the leading ‘High Performing’ organisations - those who have the highest levels of engaged and enabled employees and deliver exceptional results on a range of financial metrics.
What High Performing Organisations Do Differently
One of the key differentiators is that these ‘High Performing’ organisations place great emphasis on the importance of their engagement programs, investing in it financially and through time, and have evolved the way they execute them.
These organisations empower managers and individuals in what we term “Self-Engagement”. They have moved away from the traditional view that managers were expected “to fix” issues highlighted as barriers of engagement and enablement, towards getting everyone on-board and encouraging colleagues to take more responsibility for their individual success and the performance of their teams.
The best organisations make their engagement programs relevant by firmly linking results and actions to the company strategy. They are continually listening to their employees and keep engagement activities alive - ensuring managers and colleagues are thinking about engagement and action planning throughout the year – not just when a survey happens.
As employee engagement and enablement is an accelerator of business performance, getting the right ingredients for success in this area is increasingly on the radar of organizations.
For any family business thinking about how to improve in this area, here are three questions to ask:
- What are your key barriers to engagement and enablement?
- Do you know how they can they be unblocked?
- Do you know how you compare within your sector?
For more information, contact Andrew Notcutt at email@example.com.
Andrew is Family Business Consultant at Korn Ferry’s global Centre of Excellence for family business, consulting across board and advisory services. He supports family businesses through employee engagement, leadership development, succession planning, next generation development, board effectiveness and governance. He works with senior teams to provide tailored solutions aligned with strategy. Andrew has had a career in the international drinks industry, all for family businesses, and combines this with his own personal family business experience, education and training in the sector.