Jan. 25, 2016

Listen to this week’s NBAA Flight Plan podcast about the importance of engaging employees.

Is your flight department executing at its full potential? Are your employees aligned with the overall business strategy of your company? Employees executing in alignment with the larger mission, and with trust, commitment and passion are fundamental to “engagement.”

“Engagement drives performance,” said Mark Fernandes, chief leadership officer at Luck Companies, who oversees the flight department. In fact, Fernandes said, engagement is crucial to a company’s bottom line. He pointed to statistics that show few workers in the U.S. are engaged at their jobs.

“The number of engaged workers in the United States is only somewhere between 25 and 30 percent,” he said. “That lack of involvement, commitment and creativity is costing this country $750 billion in lost productivity and turnover every year.”

At Richmond, VA based Luck Companies, one of the nation’s largest producers of crushed stone, gravel and sand, 91 percent of the workers are engaged in their jobs, according to an annual company survey. Fernandes said that fact alone allows his company to vastly outperform the competition.

Fernandes also pointed to surveys conducted by Gallup, Inc. and the Hay Group of employees as they moved on from one company to another showing 82 percent of them leave because of the relationship with their direct supervisor.

“In those interviews, people say, ‘I love the company, but I hate my boss,’” he noted. “Well, 70 percent of their engagement cues come from the boss, so it’s hard to separate the leader from the lack of engagement.”

Fostering employee engagement represents a revolution in corporate philosophy, according to Fernandes. It used to be “customers first.” But now, he said, it is “employees first.”

“Engage them and they in turn will treat the customer well,” said Fernandes.

At the NBAA 2016 Leadership Conference, Feb. 22 to 24 in San Antonio, TX, Fernandes will share these ideas with attendees and challenges them to transform into people who are themselves engaged. Only then, he said, can they foster the sort of commitment and teamwork necessary for the workforce to be engaged.

“You can’t inspire someone else and breathe life into them unless you are first engaged yourself,” said Fernandes.

Learn more about NBAA’s Leadership Conference and other events.