People often talk about positive outcomes associated with strong employee engagement – including higher levels of productivity, quality and customer service and lower levels of staff sickness and turnover.
However, there’s one aspect that is often overlooked. If you’re engaging staff successfully – and encouraging two-way communication – you’ll get more useful feedback to help run the business effectively.
When businesses face a particular challenge or complex issue that needs to be resolved, it’s surprising how often senior leaders seek to come to a solution without first gaining the opinion of those at the front line – the people who may actually have a more well-rounded understanding of the situation as it affects the organisation practically, and have good ideas on how to tackle it.
Areas ripe for fruitful staff consultation include customer service strategy and procedures; IT system development; website development; new product/service ideas; how to save money in difficult times.
I’m not sure what the blind spot is (not wanting to give away ‘power’, self-induced pressure to to come up with the whole answer yourself, a hierarchy-focused culture?).
Obviously, frontline staff and their managers won’t necessarily have the whole answer, and they won’t always be right on everything. But not inviting their input can be costly for the business.
However, it doesn’t even have to be about innovation really.
Making best use of employees’ insights, knowledge and views can save time and prevent costly mistakes in the long run.
And this type of consultation and mutual trust also helps to reinforce employee engagement moving forward.