New Research Shows That Improving Engagement Can Enhance Customer Satisfaction and Increase Sales; Leadership Development, Compensation, Innovation and Work-Life Balance Hold the Key to Improving Engagement
WAYNE, PA, Feb 21, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --Employee engagement in the U.S. retail sector has sunk to its
lowest levels since 2009, according to a new study which claims that
engagement is directly linked to customer satisfaction, staff
retention and financial performance.
The Kenexa High Performance Institute -- a division of Kenexa (NYSE:
KNXA), a global provider of business solutions for human resources --
has conducted global, evidence-based research into employee
engagement for more than 25 years. Its latest report -- "The World of
Retail: How Employee Engagement Can Help the Registers Ring" --
examines employee engagement trends in the retail sector since 2007
in six nations: the U.S., Brazil, China, Germany, India and the
United Kingdom. The results show a marked drop in employee engagement
in all six nations in 2011. Retail engagement scores in the U.S.
trail only the U.K. and Germany.
"The economic downturn has hit retailers everywhere hard, as costs
have been cut, plans have been put on hold and brands have gone out
of business," said Rena Rasch, research manager of the Kenexa High
Performance Institute. "The sector has also seen an increase in
employee theft and shoplifting, which has been attributed to low pay,
poor benefits and a perception among employees that their companies
don't care about them."
The new study reveals that employee engagement has a direct
correlation with customer satisfaction and organizational
"The simple truth is that engaged employees make a difference,
particularly those in customer-facing positions," Rasch said. "When
engagement is low, customer satisfaction and organizational
performance tend to be low. But when engagement levels rise, these
factors also improve because employees are more motivated to
contribute to the organization's success and more willing to put in
extra effort to accomplish tasks that are central to the goals of the
organization. In other words, by improving employee engagement,
retailers can enhance customer satisfaction and increase sales
According to the study, a low level of employee engagement also
results in higher staff turnover. More than 50 percent of unengaged
retail employees plan to leave their employer in the coming year,
compared to only about 10 percent of highly engaged workers.
"Employees who are not engaged are much more likely to consider
leaving their organization," Rasch said. "As the global economy
slowly emerges from the recession, opportunities for employees will
open up elsewhere and retailers could find themselves competing for
talent. This could prove costly for those with a less engaged
The study also reveals that, out of six industry sectors surveyed
globally, retail has the lowest level of employee engagement. The
other sectors include high tech manufacturing, healthcare, banking
and financial services and the public sector.
"The retail sector has faced a perennial struggle with employee
engagement, partly because it employs many part-time, low skilled and
seasonal workers," Rasch said. "However, retailers are at risk if
leaders and HR practitioners don't act to bolster employee engagement
in their organizations."
The Kenexa High Performance Institute's report includes four
recommendations to help retailers improve employee engagement:
-- Develop effective leaders. Leaders need to inspire confidence in their
employees through their actions and their demeanor. They must be
trustworthy, honest and caring.
-- Help employees to balance their work and life priorities. Retailers
should provide practical support, such as flexible work schedules, as
well as emotional support and understanding.
-- Ensure compensation levels are fair. More than the amount of
compensation, what matters most is each employee's perception of pay
fairness. Explain how their pay was determined and show the link
between their pay and their performance.
-- Foster a climate of innovation. Employees want exciting work. They
like trying new things, sharing their ideas and being listened to. The
chance to be innovative challenges and motivates them to perform at
"Offering employees fair compensation, exciting work and flexibility
are proven approaches for improving employee engagement," Rasch said.
"However the most effective way to enhance employee engagement is to
improve your leadership and management. Our research shows that
employees who believe that their leaders and managers are effective
have an engagement level that is three-to-five times higher than
those who feel their leaders and managers are ineffective. Anyone in
a position of authority should look in the mirror, evaluate their own
practices and develop their leadership skills and competencies."
"The World of Retail: How Employee Engagement Can Help the Registers
Ring" can be downloaded free from:
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