There’s Something Contagious About Engaged Employees

8 Jul

At the 2010 SHRM conference just held in San Diego I had the opportunity to experience a seemingly small but fundamentally profound impact of having a group of highly engaged employees– loyal customers. Here’s the story:

In the course of presenting on employee engagement at the conference I mentioned the efforts of Rackspace, a web hosting company located in San Antonio, Texas. Rackspace is one of seven companies featured in Re-Engage that have been identified as one of the great American workplaces by our research partners Quantum Workplace. In my remarks I mentioned the “fanatical support” provided by employees, who are affectionately called “rackers”. Rackers are encouraged and supported to provide service above and beyond anyone in their industry, an asset company leadership believes is the most important asset in helping them become the largest player in their field.

After the speech a woman introduced herself and shared the following:

Mark, I enjoyed your speech, and was delighted that you shared a story about Rackspace. We have been a customer of theirs for some time now. Our IT manager loves the service they offer and tells me he would never consider moving the business to a competitor. The other important thing you need to know is the Rackspace approach to fanatical service has rubbed off on our IT staff. It’s kind of like paying it forward.”


The outstanding service provided by engaged employees at Rackspace has, like a contagious virus, made its way into the workplace of this customer. In the spirit of the movie the IT manager is “paying it forward” by spreading the enthusiasm, care and support to those whom he serves.

One of the great joys in writing Re-Engage was the opportunity to study companies across the United States that have proven themselves to be great places to work. We talk about the “link” between employee and engagement and key business outcomes– such as more loyal customers– but those studies can often seem impersonal and sterile. But when you hear a first-person story like this, you know there’s an immutable truth about the impact of an engaged workforce that cannot be denied.

Want more loyal customers who sing your praises and are grateful for the service you provide? Engage, and re-engage, your employees.

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