Do you have the stomach for employee engagement?

By Tom Roth

Early in my career, I worked for an NFL quarterback who is now in the Hall of Fame. Late in his career he was having trouble throwing the long passes downfield, and his production dropped off dramatically. The team feared his arm was “dead.“ They ran every test possible to diagnose and fix his arm to no avail.

Come to find out, he had a torn stomach muscle, which affected his throwing motion and eventually his arm strength. So to fix his arm problem they had to fix his stomach problem.

Everyone understands in today’s challenging economy, you need to deliver a truly compelling and differentiated customer experience to actively engage customers. Most organizations have focused on what needs to happen at the customer interface to create the kind of customer engagement that builds loyalty and deepens relationships. While actions like these are clearly critical, they are not sufficient. It is like trying to increase customer engagement by fixing only the “arm problem.” What about the “stomach problem”?

We’ve probably all seen the same research that shows two very important points. Managers understand the first very important point: If you want engaged customers, you need to have engaged employees! Second, the same research continues to show unacceptably low scores related to fully engaged employees. Organizations talk a good game about understanding the connection between needing engaged employees in order to have engaged customers, but they are not rising to the challenge to do enough about it.

I think the “stomach problem” that needs to be addressed is leadership effectiveness. Leadership has the greatest opportunity to influence the energy of the organization. Leaders either give energy to, or take energy out of, the organization. My experience tells me that most leaders fall woefully short in creating a culture of employee engagement that:

  • Inspires an emotional connection to the organization’s vision and purpose.
  • Leads employees to commit their full energy to work and contribute to customer engagement.
  • Creates loyalty and commitment to the organization.

Why I Believe in Employee Engagement

One reason I feel so strongly about this is that I often present this point of view to groups of HRD executives at various conferences or marketing events. They very quickly agree that employee engagement is critical to customer engagement. And, they are quick to recognize the link to leadership as all they want to discuss is what they need to do to improve their leadership effectiveness. I guess the idea that leadership effectiveness must improve if they expect to have more engaged employees—and therefore more engaged customers—hit them right in the gut, pardon the pun.

That’s what I think…what do you think?


Tom Roth

Tom Roth是Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.(美国)的首席运营官和Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.(日本)的总裁,他拥有40多年的人力绩效提升解决方案开发和实施的经验,负责Wilson Learnin全球集团的战略方向和业务绩效。此外,他还领导全球营销服务和解决方案研发部门,负责所有解决方案和价值主张白皮书的研发。他在员工敬业度、领导力发展、战略调整和业务转型相关领域,为全球的领导团队提供协助。在担任现任职务之前,他曾担任全球研发和解决方案研发部门总裁,也曾担任Wilson Learning Corporation的总裁。

Tom Roth在开发和实施人力绩效提升解决方案领域拥有丰富的经验。他合著了《如何使企业重新找回活力》(英文原文),《创建高性能团队》(英文)的,并在众多商业出版物上发表过文章。他是一位在国内、国际会议和客户活动上活跃的演讲者,涉及内容广泛,其中包括:领导力、员工参与度、变革和战略实施。