Research by The Ken Blanchard Companies was undertaken to determine the links between leadership, employee engagement, customer loyalty and organisational vitality. The project also sought to clarify the definitions for these terms.
Employee engagement had been defined as ‘a combination of commitment to the organisation and its values and a willingness to help out colleagues (organisational citizenship). It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply motivation. Engagement is something the employee has to offer: it cannot be ‘required’ as part of the employment contract.’ ¹
Blanchard findings introduced the term employee passion (in place of employee engagement) because the subject seemed to encompass a greater spread of components. They defined employee passion as ‘the positive emotional state of mind resulting from perceptions of worthwhile work, autonomy, growth, fairness, recognition, connectedness to colleagues, and connectedness to leaders.’ ²
In other words, the factors in an organisation which lead to employee passion are:
Meaningful work – employees perceive the organisation’s larger purpose, believe that their work is meaningful and understand the contribution it makes to the whole.
Collaboration – employees perceive an organisation that encourages collaboration, sharing and team spirit.
Fairness – employees perceive an organisation that fairly distributes benefits, resources and workloads, and is consistent in its decision making.
Autonomy – employees perceive that they have the information and authority to make some decisions, that they are trusted, and there are clear boundaries to their autonomy.
Recognition – employees perceive that through feedback and rewards they are recognised for their performance and contribution.
Growth – employees perceive that there are opportunities for growth and development.
Connectedness to leader – employees perceive that there is good rapport with the leader, and the leader takes a personal and professional interest in them.
Connectedness with colleagues – employees perceive there is good rapport with colleagues who take a personal and professional interest in each other.
This research was part of a larger study into what The Blanchard Companies call The Leadership-Profit Chain.
This chain links the effectiveness of leaders to employee passion – there needs to be both strategic leadership to set direction, and operational leadership to shape appropriate policies and procedures to reach the organisational objectives.
There is then a further link from employee passion to customer devotion –customers are loyal because they have a positive experience of the organisation’s products, services, procedures and people.
And, customer devotion leads to organisational vitality – the degree to which the organisation is successful in the eyes of customers, employees, shareholders, and in terms of economic stability.
If you want to know more see Employee Passion, The New Rules of Engagement, and also The Leadership-Profit Chain. Both of these papers are available as free downloads from http://www.kenblanchard.com/ – you’ll need to register first.
Happy passion seeking!
¹ From CIPD paper on employee Engagement, available at http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/empreltns/general/empengmt.htm.
² Employee Passion, The New Rules of Engagement, available from www://www.kenblanchard.com/.