Monday, June 29, 2009

Can Engaged Employees Sell More Soup?

The answer is definitely yes!  SOUP's ON at Campbell's. 

In a recent Forbes article, Douglas Conant, the CEO of Campbell Soup Co. discussed the importance of employee engagement and how their strategy to pay attention to this metric paid off for their company. 

Conant took over when Campbell's was close to a takeover and its soup sales were nothing to brag about.  He had a very uncomplicated strategy to turn things around:

"To win in the market place, we believe you must first win in the workplace."
Conant then began studying engagement levels at Campbell's and took action on the results.  He stated, that of all the elements related to culture that engagement was the most highly correlated to shareholder returns.  He discusses other benefits of paying attention to engagement like:
  • revitalization of the entire culture (#1 benefit, according to Conant)
  • better financial performance
  • better market performance
  • more innovation
  • more self governing
So, I ask myself after reading articles like this, why don't more companies pay attention to engagement?  The logic and research is there, so why don't we just do it?  (Please feel free to comment, I really want to know!)

I have heard many reasons for not tracking and measuring engagement like:
1) We are too busy (see benefits above)
2) We don't know how (many firms specialize in this)
3) We are in a recession (perfect time, so when we turn around, you are ready!)
4) Not sure what to do with the data (take action on it!, form improvement teams!)

So, do you want to sell more soup?  Try a little engagement!
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