Are you investing in marketing, but not getting the anticipated return on your investment?

If you’re disappointed by your ROI, remember marketing may or may not be the problem. Why? Consider there are two basic reasons for poor profits — again, that’s profits not revenue.

The reasons include failure to adapt to a dynamic marketplace and failing to solve the internal factors that impede the control of costs, performance and quality.

To research the problem, assess each of the following:

— Marketing and sales approach

— Human resources management

— Operations and processes

Naturally, if you conclude marketing isn’t the problem, this means that your company isn’t managed at optimum levels.

A  lesson I’ve learned as a management consultant: Marketing doesn’t work when a company isn’t well-run.

Three symptoms are poor company image, low customer satisfaction and employee morale.

Therefore, look internally. You need for your employees to be productive. But in such cases, they’re not.

So consider a University of Iowa study, “Antecedents and Consequences of Psychological and Team Empowerment in Organizations: A Meta-analtyic Review.”

Published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, it was co-authored by researcher Scott Seibert, professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business; and UI doctoral students Gang Wang and Stephen H. Courtright. They reviewed the results of dozens of other studies.

The report’s five conclusions about employee-empowerment:

  1. Morale is higher
  2. Performance is stronger
  3. Job satisfaction is enhanced
  4. Less turnover
  5. Reduced stress

“Empowerment is an effective approach for improving employee attitudes and work behaviors in a broad range of industries, occupations and geographic regions,” said Professor Seibert.

To summarize, he recommends:

  • Managers sharing information
  • Including employees in decision-making
  • Providing HR training
  • Paying well
  • Recognizing employee contributions
  • Showing leadership
  • Providing good feedback
  • Helping workers to find meaning in their work with challenging responsibilities

“Managers in these studies reported that empowered workers were more innovative and more willing to take the initiative to solve problems on their own,” said the professor. “Employees said they were more engaged in their work when empowered, that they felt like they had an influence and an impact on the business around them.”

My sense about empowerment:

Empowerment is a lot more than lip service. Give it sufficient consideration.

Employees deserve an opportunity for empowerment. But always remember it’s a privilege, not a right. Trust is important. You need employees who demonstrate initiative and performance. Recruit for such attributes.

Give your employees parameters, not a blank check to do whatever they feel like doing. Explain your expectations – paint a picture they can visualize. Show them the big picture facing the company and their department – then, explain operational costs and why their roles are important. Set reasonable goals and deadlines. Understand the difference between micro-managing and hands-on managing. Continually monitor and recognize everyone’s progress.

Don’t forget to make work fun.

Be assertive and thorough. Avoid the dangers that result when managers poorly implement empowerment initiatives. Yes, when it works, empowerment leads to profits. Remember you’re the boss and ultimately responsible for organization’s performance.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more resource links:

Profit Drivers – How and Why to Partner with Your Employees — If you want maximum profit, consider partnering with your employees. “Key employees – in fact, all employees – will be more valuable to a company if they understand what drives profit and improves cash flow for the business,” says leading financial consultant Roni Fischer.

Secrets in Motivating Employees to Offer Profitable Ideas — Savvy employers know how to profit from their human capital. Such knowledge is a powerful weapon for high performance in a competitive marketplace. Furthermore, there’s a correlation among excellent sales, happy customers, and high employee morale. Proverbially speaking, employees are where the tire meets the road.

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally — Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally. It’s hard, time-consuming work. But the return on investment is terrific. The organization benefits from higher employee performance and lower turnover. Strong employee retention obviously saves the employer a lot of time and money.

21 Quick Tips to Avoid the Dark Side of Management — News headlines from Seattle to New York are cause for some serious head slapping. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues to be inundated with worker complaints. Even the U.S. State Department issued a critical report of an ambassador, a Seattle businesswoman who was a prolific fundraiser for the first Obama election campaign.

Boss Checklist: 16 Strategies for a Competitive Edge — Are you one of the countless businesspeople who needs a good look at your situation? Are you having a good year? Are your employees performing well? No? If you have any regrets for errors, dismiss them. This isn’t a time for pointless regrets. It’s a time to think small – one day at a time.

“I’ve always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team.”
– Lee Iacocca


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.