Engaged employees perform better

Therese Dunphy

March 19, 2013

The difference between an engaged associate and one who is not engaged can dramatically impact your bottom line. That was one key takeaway from a special AGG1 education session on values based leadership.

“Do you see the difference between a person who is engaged and who is not?” John Pullen, Luck Companies’ chief growth officer, asked attendees.

Statistics underscore the importance of engagement among a company’s workforce. A recent Gallup report found that eight in 10 elementary school students, six in 10 middle school students, and four in 10 high school students were engaged in learning. When people join the workforce, the numbers continue to drop, with only 25 to 30 percent of business associates being fully engaged in the business.

That’s important, Pullen said, because disengaged associates are less safe, less productive, and more likely to be involved in major maintenance problems, he added. Further, they disengage productive associates.

“This issue is really big for the function of our companies,” Pullen said. “And, leadership is right at the heart of it.”

The key to increasing engagement, he said, is effective leadership. “The number one driver of success in an organization is how people feel about the organization,” he added. “The leader controls 50 to 75 percent of how the associate feels about the organization.”

“An aligned leader has a better chance of being a good leader,” Pullen said. Each leader has a set of core values and beliefs. The values and beliefs drive the actions and behaviors. If those align with the mission and purpose of the company, the leader will be aligned. Once a leader is aligned, he is more engaged and inspiring.

“Magical things happen,” he added. As engagement grows, service, innovation, and growth takes place. These, in turn, build customer and stakeholder loyalty and drive profits.

So, take a look around your organization. Are employees actively going beyond what is required and doing their best work? Are secondary meetings taking place in hallways and bathrooms rather than during an actual meeting? Are team members working collaboratively and in a manner that builds customer loyalty?

These are just a few questions you might want to consider. If you don’t like the answers, consider some of the steps that Pullen outlined for creating a values based organization and becoming a values based leader.

Steps to creating a values based leadership organization

  1. Meaning – create meaning, set the context for the purpose of your organization.
  2. Modeling – find people who want to lead around the meaning and get excited about it.
  3. Mapping – develop a leadership plan. hire people who fit the meaning and modeling.
  4. Monitoring – measure performance around mission and values, not just financial performance. Use of employee surveys and 360-degree review help.


Steps to becoming a values based leader

  1. Become aware – know who you are, where you are, and what’s going on around you.
  2. Align – draw strength from your core values.
  3. Understand – learn what others think, feel, believe, and need.
  4. Adapt – modify your behavior for the situation and the person.
  5. Act – do the right thing for the right reason, right now.


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