Team engagement counts

If you want to improve sales, you need teams that are motivated to sell. And to be confident, the sales team must believe in the product, the service teams, and customer service.

The focus on customer love has many pet names these days – “customer centricity”, or “customer-obsessed” to name a couple.

Businesses that aspire to be these things can only achieve it if every team member is “customer-obsessed”, believes in the organisation and its purpose, and trusts their fellow travellers and leaders. It’s a high hurdle to aspire to, and an important factor that businesses need to thrive, especially in this current environment (read more about Thriving in my previous article here).

But how the hell do you measure the soft fluffy shit? The accountant in me is always saying “show me the hard numbers”, “churn absenteeism” etc. If they turn up and stay, surely, they are engaged?  Duh, no, they might have no motivation to leave and simply occupy a spot pissing everyone else off.

So how do you measure it? There is no real bulletproof number that you can look at and say “see, we are good” or “we are making progress on this”.

Most sales organisations understand the concept of Net Promoter Score (NPS), a round-up measure of satisfaction. Usually, somewhere in the survey, there is a question; “how likely are you to refer a friend to this product or organisation”, or similar.

The methodology works like this…

On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you answer that critical question?

  • 1 – 6 is counted as a detractor. They are likely to tell their friends you are shit to a lesser or greater degree.
  • The 7 and 8 are happy but not confident enough to say to their friends “these guys are good”.
  • 9 and 10 are your happy customers who love you and are your screaming advocates.

So, let’s say you have 70% that are 7 and 8, and 5% are 1- 6 and 25% are 9 or 10, your NPS is 20.

To give you some context on what to aim for, here is a Bain & Co (the US version not the Bill Bain from GS) assessment.

  • 0 is good.
  • 20 is favourable.
  • 50 is excellent.
  • 80 plus, you are world-class. 

Now you can apply this methodology to employees and create… wait for it… an eNPS (employee NPS).

We at GS ran one a while ago and received a score of +19. I was seriously pissed. I thought how bloody much do you have to do, to have these people rate you accordingly?

The problem was of course, my only other benchmarks were three other companies that I am very close with. Both as a board member and an owner. The highest eNPS score was BoardPro at 80.  Even I could work out that that was phenomenal, as was their client NPS. GS at 19! I thought we would at least be 40! So delusional.

Anyway, Perceptive has a New Zealand benchmark on eNPS, done in 2018. The NZ-wide eNPS score is 3. My guess is that it would have likely gone down based on how businesses reacted post-covid.

Hold on I read it wrong, it is not a net promoter score of 3 it is a net detractor score of 3, it’s a bloody minus 3!

So, now for some individual industry statistics, from 2018:

Highest to lowest:

  1. Rental hiring and real Estate                                             34
  2. Banking                                                                             32
  3. Insurance                                                                           28
  4. Art and Recreation                                                            17
  5. Wholesale trade                                                                15
  6. Construction                                                                      14
  7. Accommodation                                                                13   
  8. Professional scientific and technical services                     9
  9. Electricity gas water and waste services                            4
  10. Agriculture forestry and fishing                                           2
  11. Financial services                                                                 0
  12. Education and training                                                        0
  13. Other services                                                                      0
  14. Public administration and safety                                        -5  
  15. Administration and support services                                -10 
  16. Health care and social assistance                                      -10     
  17. Information, media, and telecommunications                 -11
  18. Mining                                                                                -11
  19. Accounting                                                                         -14  
  20. Transport postal and warehousing                                    -14
  21. Retail trade                                                                          -19
  22. Manufacturing                                                                     -26

Let’s think about some of these industries. Which are the most profitable? Umm banking and insurance. Real estate isn’t too bad either, but it’s likely these are the ‘eat-what-you-hunt’ self-employed agents.

So, the question is…

Are the employees’ promotors because they are in an environment that is highly profitable? Or is their engagement driving that profitably? Or is it a chicken-and-egg argument?

Which are the least profitable (relative to capital and labor deployed)? Yup I get those too, again, a reverse chicken-and-egg maybe. Could these industries be more profitable with better human engagement? I guess so. Less absenteeism, fewer mistakes, better selling techniques, and drive, all come from human engagement.

Strange outliers… construction, and mining, what’s up with those?

Is anyone worried that the custodians of our future and our children are indifferent and score a zero? Is anyone concerned that our well-being and health are in the hands of a sector that employs net detractors? How secure do you feel that the nurses and doctors would not promote their workplace, or even their career choice to a minus 10? God knows what the score would be now!

Is all this a lesson as to why New Zealand has productivity issues per worker? Is it really leadership and governance that are the problem? Rather than technology, tools, and access to capital, as it is often characterised.

Anyway, snatching what I can from such a sad review of human engagement in New Zealand, at least I feel much better about Gilligan Sheppard than I did before I dug up some benchmark data. Positive 19 is a shit load better than the profession as a whole at minus 14.

Is it important to keep your team engaged?

On the aggregate data presented, there is a correlation between profits and engagement. You won’t know if they are engaged unless you ask them. They won’t answer honestly without anonymity. If you would like us to assist you with assessing this and conducting a team survey, contact Bill, Bruce, or Nicola.

If you don’t know where to begin, want to talk through something, or have a specific question but are not sure who to address it to, fill in the form, and we’ll get back to you within two working days.

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