Employee engagement creates a shift in workplace culture that affects the entire business' well-being.

A good leader is often thought of as synonymous with words like “rational,” “tough” and “bottom-line focused,” while an effective leader is associated with words like “empathetic,” “kind” and “team-focused.” However, a great leader not only embodies all of these attributes, but also has laser focus on employee engagement.

According to a 2014 survey, only 61 percent of worldwide workers said they feel engaged at their jobs. Gone are the days where the boss sits at the top of the organizational hierarchy orchestrating the operational aspects of the business while remaining disconnected from the team—millennials crave a team-first approach to leadership. A team-first approach sees the head of the organization collaborating with the team to develop everything from long-term goals to the elimination of daily operational inefficiencies. Teamwork at all levels leads to employees feeling valued and appreciated. In turn, those employees work harder and are genuinely excited about the company they are helping to build; a stark change from disengaged employees who cost their employers upwards of $300 billion each year.

When a business fully commits to this unbridled collaboration among all levels of employees, the culture of the business begins to shift. No longer is there inter-departmental bickering or employees who are solely looking out for themselves. Instead, a culture of cooperation and ownership takes over—the company, as a whole, understands they are all working toward the same goal—delivering a quality customer experience.

Once this culture shift happens, an even more powerful change occurs—customers can tell something is different. The difference isn’t bold or striking—it isn’t something that is advertised or displayed. It is a perception. Consumers who feel this team-first culture have better experiences and are more likely to spend their time and money with you and your business as a result. In fact, one study found that 92 percent of consumers reported that an employee’s perceived happiness had a direct impact on their customer experience with the brand. In the end, happy employees equate to happy customers which equates to sustained business growth. 

Ultimately, the type of leader you are should ladder up to the type of culture you want to have. Whether that be a culture filled with employees struggling to advance their personal agendas or a culture filled with employees who come together in a collaborative fashion to achieve a common goal. Evaluating a company’s environment and noting where tweaks can be made are the first steps to a “team-first” leadership breakthrough.

Dr. Kyle Bogan is the owner of North Orange Family Dentistry, whose staff continually strives to create healthy, beautiful smiles for the entire family, and they would like to personally welcome you to your new dental “home.” He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, the Columbus Dental Society, and the American Academy of General Dentistry, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree and Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Ohio State University.