Profitable growth starts with employee empowerment and support

June 2014

profitable growth We recently released ground-breaking research into the 5 key people drivers of the profitable growth cycle based on our experience from conducting over 1000 employee and customer surveys together with an extensive review of other published research. 

Our framework, Insync Surveys' Profitable Growth Cycle™, shows how five interrelated factors contribute to profitable growth, even in challenging economic times.

The Profitable Growth Cycle is a framework for understanding the inter-relationships between employee engagement, customer engagement, and productivity and innovation, and how these factors can be leveraged to drive profitable growth.

High Growth Organisations (HGOs) understand that achieving profitable growth starts with investment in their employees. This leads to employee engagement and retention, which leads to customer focus and engagement, which in turn leads to customer loyalty and advocacy. Customer loyalty and advocacy enable an organisation to maintain and grow its revenue base which is a critical component of profitable growth. Employee engagement and retention, and customer focus and engagement, both lead to productivity gains and innovation, which also lead to profitable growth.

The need for authentic leadership can also never be underestimated. Your organisation's CEO and leadership team must be united in their commitment to achieving profitable growth. This involves embedding all elements of the Profitable Growth Cycle into the organisation's culture and DNA until it becomes a way of life. Momentum will build and, if managed well, profitable growth will become a reality.

1.   Employee empowerment

First and foremost, think about empowering your employees with clear communication of your organisation's strategy, linking individual actions to organisational goals and providing role clarity. By empowering employees, they can make sound judgements about their work priorities. This also reduces the amount of supervision required from managers. In a fast paced environment, employee initiative and discretion are important enablers of continuous improvement.

Communicate strategy

Highlight how your organisation is different, identify its core competencies and brag about how you can offer customers better value than your competitors. An effective strategy is the cornerstone of profitable growth. With increasing global competition, organisations need to be "sufficiently specialised" to be the best at what they do.

A well-conceived Customer Value Proposition (CVP) should be at the heart of your strategy. A CVP articulates what's important to customers and what unique benefits your organisation can deliver. A CVP that finds the right mix of quality, service and price is critical for building a sustainable competitive advantage. The CVP also provides direction on how to build operating systems that meet customer needs.

Communicating the CVP and strategic direction to employees results in greater levels of employee understanding and buy-in which drives organisational success. Line managers can be responsible for maintaining a two way dialogue with employees that communicates the essential elements of a strategic plan and the extent to which it's been executed.

Link actions to goals

To achieve profitable growth, HGOs recognise that the whole organisation needs to be aligned with the strategy and that employees need to know how their everyday actions and performances are linked. This helps employees contribute towards a common goal.

Set clear expectations

HGO employees understand the outcomes and standards expected of them. When employees are provided with a clear direction there's a greater chance of them meeting expectations and genuinely feeling proud of achievements; this results in higher employee productivity and satisfaction.

2.   Employee support

Support gives employees both the capability and motivation to do their job well. HGOs ensure that employees receive the training and development they need to do their job well, receive the required levels of internal customer service and are recognised and rewarded when they meet performance targets. The return on investment for the organisation is greater productivity and employee engagement.

Train and develop employees

HGOs recognise that workplace learning has significant benefits for both the employee and employer. As a result, employee development is embedded into the fabric of these organisations and learning is promoted as a continuous activity, rather than a one-off event. For employees, this approach enhances work performance and the quality of their working life through increased personal development. The return on investment for the organisation is greater productivity and engagement.

Raising the bar for internal service

Leaders within HGOs recognise that setting a high standard for internal service, underpins both employee and customer satisfaction. When organisational systems work well and are maintained effectively via open, honest communication and collaboration, employees can work effectively with less downtime and frustration. When employees feel that their needs are addressed with professionalism, priority and care, they are more likely to treat customers in the same way.

Recognise and reward employees

Reward and recognition is a critical element in managing and improving employee performance and engagement. HGOs understand that many employees place a high value on both financial and non-financial rewards; as a result, they offer a range of non-monetary and lifestyle benefits to employees. Furthermore, HGOs equip managers with the skills required to identify high performance and provide timely and appropriate praise and acknowledgement. 

Next steps

View our framework, Insync Surveys' Profitable Growth Cycle™, to see how our five interrelated factors build on each other and contribute to profitable growth.

Once you've invigorated employee empowerment and support, the cycle continues with engaged employees leading to stronger customer relationships, which creates greater customer loyalty and advocacy. Add to the mix an increase in productivity and innovation based on input from both engaged employees and engaged customers and you start creating a cycle of profitable growth.

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