How Treating Staff as You Do Your Customers Boosts Employee Engagement

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How to boost employee engagement and productivity: treating your staff as well as your customers.

Companies offer lucrative pay packets, exciting projects and flexible working practices to attract "the best and the brightest". However, after the thrill of this chase, what is your retention strategy? Will talent simply move on to the next company that woos them with bigger and better pay packets, benefits, responsibilities?


According to, just 30% of the workforce feel engaged in their jobs. Gallup estimates that this costs $500 billion in the US alone.

Should this have employers quaking in their boots? Yes – if you’re not doing anything about it. However, there is huge opportunity to drastically improve retention rates if you commit to effective employee engagement strategies. Why make sure employees feel as valued as customers?


What if they go? Employee turnover has a cost

If talent leaves the company, they may go to the competition, and can also take clients. You have to cover the period when you’re between employees, advertise the role, screen applicants, interview, train and on-board. Research published in the Academy of Management Executive journal estimates direct replacement costs can be as high as 50%-60% of an employee’s annual salary, with total costs associated with turnover ranging from 90% to 200% of annual salary. This cost Australia $83billion AUD in 2012 alone.

It makes a lot of business sense to work at keeping good people after you work at finding them.

What if they stay? Disengaged employees cost even more

There is an anecdote: "CFO asks CEO: "What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?" CEO: 'What happens if we don't, and they stay?

Presenteeism, when staff are in the building but aren’t productive, is just as big a problem as turnover. Employees are doing a job with little effectiveness because they’re not trained appropriately or don't have the resources they need. They don’t enjoy it and are doing the minimum – or worse, they’re actively seeking out new employment on the job, and you are in fact paying them to do so. 

Research by Global Corporate Challenge finds that presenteeism costs ten times more than absenteeism. Employees confessed to being unproductive on the job for 57.5 days – almost three working months.

Your retention strategy shouldn’t just try to hold on to good people, but ensure they’re bringing their talents to the role.

The secret to an engaged workforce: feeling valued

According to the Psychology Healthy Workplace Programme, employees who report feeling valued by their employer are 60% more likely to report they are motivated to do their very best for their employer.

The answer: treat coworkers at least as well as you treat customers. Adapt your client retention strategy to coworkers and collaborators.



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