The Real Impact of Employee Engagement

By Doug Miller

By Doug Miller

A friend of mine can be described as a work warrior, dedicating his life to his work, fully committed to doing whatever it takes to not only get the job done but to stamp it with excellence.  After having his own contracting business for decades, several years ago he was ready for a change, to no longer have to chase new clients, and to earn a regular paycheck.

He joined a privately held food distribution company and oversees facility maintenance for their large warehouse.  He had a close relationship with the owner and their family.  They took great care of him, and he was committed to taking great care of the company.  If there was an emergency, the day or time of day didn’t matter (like the year he had to go there on Christmas Day) – he’d drive 30+ minutes to the warehouse and tackle the challenge .  All was grand. 

Then the family sold the business to a large corporation.  Enter the accountants and financial analysts.

The new owners proceeded to make drastic cuts in expenses – driven by a short-term profit motive.  Decisions were made without either understanding the impact drastic cuts would have on operations, or simply not caring.

First, they replaced my friend’s team of long-term maintenance techs with an inexperienced, minimum wage staff.  To no surprise the turnover of these new staff members has been significant.  Next, the company advised my friend that he could no longer work overtime - period.  Unfortunately, maintenance issues don’t know they can only arise between 9 and 5.  Prior to that, my friend invested the time that was needed to keep things operating well, and only put in overtime when the need arose (like when a refrigeration system went down, or when the roof was collapsing on a Sunday due to a blizzard) – this especially matters when you are talking about the storage of fresh food.  Making matters worse, management’s decision meant my friend’s income dropped dramatically (he didn't work overtime to make more money - making more was simply a function of his putting whatever time was required to protect the business).

What’s the outcome?  I’ve seen a proud, honest, dedicated man adopt a “who cares” attitude.  This week he sadly told me that now “When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, and no matter what problem exists it unfortunately just has to wait until tomorrow.” 

This is what disengagement looks like. 

I talk to many property management executives and haven’t found one yet who could tell me that he or she can grow their business when their employees don’t care.  Likewise, I haven’t been able to find any articles stating that employee disengagement doesn’t impact business performance.

This is an enormous issue nationwide.  Forbes reports that only 18% of US employees are engaged at work.  Why does this matter?  Gallup reports that companies in the top half of employee engagement are 44% more profitable.  This research validates what any sharp business person knows: if you don’t take care of your employees, the people who drive your success, they won’t care about you.  It’s pretty tough to become more successful if your team doesn’t care.

The solution is simple.  Take care of those who directly impact your company’s success.  We call this philosophy Everyone Can Win.  Make employee engagement and satisfaction a priority.  Besides being the right thing to do, a focus on what matters most to your employees reaps enormous rewards.  Reduced employee turnover, which the Society for Human Resource Management reports costs 1.5 times salary, has a huge impact; note that the majority of the cost is related to customer churn due to the impact of reduced customer service and productivity.  The ManagInc 2018 Multifamily CSR Benchmark Study displays the direct relationship between employee and resident turnover.  And our Financial Impact Report shows the seven-digit impact employee and resident turnover has on a 5,000 unit portfolio’s NOI.

If you’d like to learn about ManagInc’s Employee Engagement Program and how we can help uncover opportunities to improve employee engagement, your reputation and performance, please send an email to