Employee engagement is one of the singularly most important things management should ensure for its workers.
Proper employee engagement reduces turnover and boosts productivity, sure, but management should ultimately care about its employees’ well being. After all, management is people. This brings me to a story in the Charlotte Observer story I have been following. This story reveals the costly impact of bad employee engagement.
Employee Engagement Done Wrong
Shaina Brown, mother of three, works at the Waffle House on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, North Carolina. On Mothers’ Day, working the graveyard shift, she was “blessed” by a gift that has received national attention.
The Charlotte Observer reports that at
3 a.m. on Mother’s Day, a patron eating a Texas bacon patty melt called Brown over and said, “I’m going to bless you tonight.”
He paid his bill with a credit card and wrote $1,500 on the tip line, asking Brown to share $500 with a haggard-looking woman at a table nearby. Then he vanished into a cab, telling Brown, ‘You have a good spirit.”
Seems like a pretty good Mothers’ Day for a mom who really needs one, right?
Unfortunately, the management at the Waffle House failed in employee engagement and wouldn’t let her keep the money. She said, “I feel like they stole from me. They did exactly what they teach us not to do.”
In this scenario, turnover was not a big concern to the Waffle House (nor, apparently, was the enormous negative backlash that occurred when this story went viral).
Now The Waffle House is forced into damage control posting this on their Facebook page.
This has given us cause to review our procedures so we can get tips to our associates quicker in these unusual situations. It says a lot about this customer that he was willing to tip our associate this generous amount. Our intentions were for the associate to get her tip all along. We are sorry that our associate and the customer are having to go through this. source
Even if Shaina chose to leave after the incident (which she didn’t—she couldn’t afford to), fast turnaround for restaurant employees is almost a guarantee. Whatever its reasons, the management simply didn’t care about its employee.
Poor Employee Engagement Consequences
According to Dale Carnegie, “The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the workforce, the people who are the company. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged significantly outperform work groups that are not engaged.
In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiation, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.
If Shaina wasn’t expendable in the eyes of management, don’t you think they would have tried a little harder to keep her satisfied?
80 percent of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs in some way, according to a study by Bolt Insurance, which, if they choose to leave, can cost one-fifth of the employee’s salary to find a replacement, not to mention the loss in productivity if they choose to stay.
Gallup studies show that businesses with higher employee satisfaction also have:
- 37 percent lower absenteeism
- 28 percent less shrinkage
- 48 percent fewer safety incidents
- 41 percent fewer patient safety incidents
- 41 percent fewer quality incidents (defects)
- 10 percent higher customer metrics
- 21 percent higher productivity
- 22 percent higher profitability
Yes, it may have been inconvenient to fill out the paperwork for such an unusually large sum of money left as a tip. And yes, there may have been some tax issues (tips are considered income for restaurant employees).
However, the overall benefit to allowing Shaina to keep her money would have far outweighed the trouble. They could have had a loyal employee, for one, not to mention the positive publicity a human interest piece like this could have garnered.
But more importantly, the management at the Waffle House on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, North Carolina should have let her keep the money because it is the right thing to do. After all, management is people.
Employee Engagement Solutions
Cavalry Management Consultants can teach you how to take advantage of proven employee engagement strategies.
Avoid the mistakes that Waffle House is now suffering through and discover the best ways to improve your current employee’s productivity.
Establish your culture right from the beginning by ensuring new employees meet the high goals and standards you’ve established.
What culture do you want to be known for?
We have you covered. Contact us today to schedule a no cost assessment of your situation and see if you can meet these new standards.
The negative impacts to employee engagement are too costly to leave to chance.