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Understand the Importance of Engagement and Retention

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain why employee engagement is important.
  • Summarize the impact of employee engagement on business objectives.
  • Identify the connection between engagement and recruitment.
  • Describe how engagement boosts the bottom line.

Your Team’s Engagement Level Matters

Kiran is a big-time contributor at his job. He sets aggressive goals and exceeds them, and motivates his teammates with his work ethic and positivity. After six months of crushing it, he raises the question of a promotion to his manager, Raven.

Stressed out and stretched thin, Raven snaps at Kiran about focusing on his sales goals for the next quarter. Feeling unappreciated and cast aside, Kiran starts answering LinkedIn messages for job openings elsewhere. He feels like it’s the only way he can grow his career.

As a people manager, your plate might feel like it’s hitting maximum capacity with tasks to finish, meetings to attend, a team to manage, and goals to hit. You’re battling your inbox and fighting fires without stepping back to think about your team’s engagement. We totally get it and know that your struggle is real.

Here’s the thing, though: Your team’s engagement level matters. At Salesforce, we believe that our people, from individual contributors to top executives, are our greatest resource and the reason for our success. By prioritizing engagement, we’ve been ranked in Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work since 2009. We’re pretty jazzed about this recognition because a multitude of studies have shown that engagement leads to increased productivity, loyalty, customer satisfaction, and financial growth.

If this sounds like the right direction for your business, and if you’re curious about how Salesforce drives employee engagement (we hope you are), you’re in just the right place. We’re going to explain the whys, whats, and hows of engagement, so just buckle up and leave your “buts” behind. You’ll be engaging your team in no time.

The Impact of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a hot topic. In Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends study, which included 3,300 organizations in 106 countries, issues related to employee engagement and culture were raised as the number-one challenge, with 50% of business leaders citing the problem as “very important”—double the percentage from last year’s survey.

You might be wondering, “Is engagement really that big of a problem?” Well, yes. According to a global study by Gallup, actively disengaged employees outnumber engaged employees by two to one.

Here’s exactly how it breaks down:

  • 13% of employees are ENGAGED . These employees have a passion for work, a deep connection to their company, and the drive to move the company forward. These are your stars!
  • 24% of employees are ACTIVELY DISENGAGED . These people hate their jobs, act out, and undermine their coworkers. These employees need your best efforts to bring them back on board or be managed out of your team.
  • 63% of employees are DISENGAGED . These employees are somewhat checked out, sleepwalking through their days, and putting little energy into their work. They’re unhappy, but not enough so to leave the company. They’ve mentally quit and stayed.

Don’t be too alarmed by these numbers just yet. Think of those 63% of disengaged folks as wilting flowers that need some TLC! (That’s tender loving care.) If you give them support, attention, and meaningful work, their engagement will grow and their performance will drive your business to new heights.

A woman watering flowers

So what do engaged employees specifically do for your business? They:

  • Refer new job candidates
  • Champion your company as a great place to work
  • Volunteer for additional responsibility
  • Offer help to colleagues
  • Own their personal career development
  • Drive customer success
  • Stay with the company for the long term

That’s a lot of great return on your engagement investment! When employees feel successful, productive, and cared for, they are actively engaged with their work and feel great doing it. As you’ll soon learn, not only can engaged employees lighten your load as a manager, but they also come in handy when you’re trying to recruit new team members.

Engagement and Recruitment

The other benefit of moving folks toward engagement is keeping head hunters and competitors at arm’s length. When your employees work in an environment where everyone is motivated to get things done, it's unlikely that they’re going to return cold calls from recruiters who promise greener pastures.

Speaking of recruiting, let’s look at how role engagement plays in your ability to attract the best talent. Think about this: An engaged, happy employee is likely to tell others, including potential hires, about the positive experience at the company. But remember, we’re more affected by the bad than the good (a phenomena known as negativity bias). So an actively disengaged employee—someone who is truly unhappy with the job—is even more likely to communicate their dissatisfaction by posting negative comments on Facebook and other social media sites or on Glassdoor.

A man with a laptop sitting on a bench, thinking about 2 out of 5 stars

Glassdoor is where people go to anonymously rate their current and former employers. It’s where they share the good, the bad, and the ugly about what it’s like to work somewhere. Sixty-one percent of U.S. job seekers are now visiting Glassdoor during their job search to get the “skinny” on companies. Think about the impact on your company’s brand and ability to attract talent if disengaged employees are using Glassdoor as a forum for airing their “dirty laundry.”

At Salesforce, we regularly monitor—and often respond to—our Glassdoor reviews. We believe that attracting and retaining top talent is a product of having an engaged workforce. Engaging the talent you hire, from the interview process to their everyday experience, is mission-critical to your employees’ personal success and the overall growth of your company. And before you assume that only top-level executives should be tackling the problem, think again. With 75% of employees leaving their workplace because of their direct manager, your day-to-day interactions with your employees is what drives engagement and retention.

How Engagement Boosts the Bottom Line

Are you thinking, “Engagement sounds nice, but what about the bottom line?” Well, running a business without focusing on engagement is like playing Scrabble without vowels—it’s just not going to work.

A person sitting at a desk looking at oversized scrabble letters: CXFQJ

Kevin Kruse, serial entrepreneur and New York Times  best-selling author of Employee Engagement 2.0, has proven how engagement correlates to increases in customer service, retention, satisfaction, loyalty, productivity, growth, and profits. Here are just a few stats to show how the bottom line gets a boost from engagement:

  • Organizations with highly engaged employees achieve twice the income than that of organizations whose employees lag behind on engagement.
  • Companies with high employee-engagement scores had twice the customer loyalty (repeat purchases, recommendations to friends) than that of companies with average employee-engagement levels.
  • A study of 23,910 businesses found that those in the top 25% of engagement levels averaged 12% higher profitability than those in the bottom 25%.

In other words…

Engaged Employees = Happy Customers = Satisfied Stakeholders = Successful Businesses

Does Salesforce walk the talk? You bet!

In our V2MOM goal-setting process, we’ve made employee engagement our number-one priority. We have lots of ways to support our team and make them feel proud and excited to be a part of the Salesforce family. For example, we:

  • Create a great place to work. We bring together innovative employees and give them spaces in which to create, collaborate, and do their best work.
  • Encourage open communication about where we are going as a company.  Each member of our Salesforce family plays a role in executing our vision.
  • Enable development through a culture of coaching and feedback. Every employee feels empowered to grow their career with us.

So we really, really care about everyone on our team and how much they love what they do. 



If you aren’t sure what a V2MOM is, check out the Organizational Alignment (V2MOM)  module on Trailhead.

In our next unit, we’ll help you fine-tune your ability to recognize the signs of engagement and put an engagement plan in place.