Kent Gregoire is an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member and founder of Symphony Advantage, a boutique consulting company. As the world's seventh certified Conscious Capitalism consultant, he helps organizations unleash their entrepreneurial spirit for good. We asked Kent how entrepreneurs can run a successful business while simultaneously elevating humanity. Here's what he shared:
That's not surprising at a time when burnout and employee disengagement are at an all-time high. Today, 63 percent of American employees are disengaged in their work. And the global pandemic, accompanied by an increase in remote work, is making a bad situation even worse.
Beyond the human aspect of this crisis, employee disengagement has concrete financial consequences on companies and the economy at large. McLean & Company found some very compelling correlations: A disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary. Also, disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year due to lost productivity.
To address the issue, companies are trying to find innovative ways to boost employee engagement. However, they often go about it the wrong way, focusing on perks without addressing the root of the issue.
That's where conscious capitalism comes in: Conscious capitalism provides a concrete framework to help people thrive, primarily through purpose and caring culture.
Employee engagement skyrockets from 23 percent to 73 percent when comparing traditional companies with purpose-led companies. Indeed, purpose helps employees connect with the company on a deeper level, while finding greater satisfaction in their work and lives.
While every business plan claims to solve a problem, this problem rarely impacts people's lives in a meaningful way. Higher purpose of the kind that boosts employee engagement is at the very core of conscious capitalism. In a conscious organization, the revenue generated by sales becomes the fuel for the larger mission. The company's reason for being is to solve a specific, significant social or environmental problem.
Some may argue that purpose comes at a later stage of corporate maturity and that a company must first find its feet financially and grow to a certain size before it can take purpose seriously. However, a company must be profitable and financially sustainable. Absent that, there will not be a company at all. But the purpose element applies to companies of every size and every stage.
Commit to a Caring Culture
Most companies claim to care about their teams. However, in many cases, care is conditional on performance.
In conscious capitalism, culture honors the common humanity we share regardless of our position, abilities, or performance. A company that embraces a caring culture isn't focused on increasing employee engagement (that's a result) -- it's about creating an environment in which employees are being cared for in a genuine way that promotes their growth in and outside of work.
Real care also has an aspirational outlook. It calls for the greatness within people to emerge. After all, most of us want to be capable of things beyond what we can accomplish today.
Care and growth: Companies that get these two things right in their culture are well on the way toward promoting meaningful employee engagement.
Here are 10 tips leaders like you can implement to address employee disengagement:
- Define a worthy problem your business can solve.
- Align your internal processes and key performance indicators (KPIs) with said goal.
- Create a virtuous ecosystem around said goal with other stakeholders. It takes a village, after all.
- Hold yourself accountable: Report both internally and externally on the impact you are seeking.
- Establish internal mechanisms for transparent and caring communication with your employees.
- Obtain employee buy-in every step of the way.
- Answer difficult questions with honesty.
- Understand what your employees truly care about by regularly giving them an opportunity to share their opinion (e.g., surveys, internal meetings, etc.).
- Address these needs in a concrete manner (e.g., provide greater health benefits, offer a wider range of professional and personal development opportunities, etc.).
- Don't compromise your values in times of crisis.