Why It’s Important to Engage Employees

As part of the recent Crawlspace Depot webinar “Innovations in Closed Crawlspace Technologies,” Crawlspace Depot President Billy Tesh shared how his company (Pest Management Systems Inc. [PMi]) was able to find a cost- and labor-saving solution for removing insulation from crawlspaces.

The old method was to pull down the insulation, bag it, carry it out and load it onto a truck. The new method involves pulling down the insulation and using a heavy-duty vacuum system (a Krendl GV2300 belt-drive model) to vacuum it out.

Where did this idea come from? “One of our team members said, ‘Hey, I saw this particular unit, let’s try it out.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ We invested in that research to see if it would work, and it did,” Tesh recalled. “The process is more efficient, less laborious and our team is less exhausted at the end of the day. It saves us big dollars because our team can get it done much faster.”

Tesh listening to and exploring a suggestion from one his team members is a great example of employee engagement. The obvious benefits for Tesh and his company are cost- and labor-savings; less evident, but perhaps of greater significance is that the PMi employee who made this suggestion feels more valued and empowered.

The reason companies like PMi are successful is because they have a leader who makes his employees feel not only physically safe, but psychologically safe, according to management consultant Randy Gravitt, presenter of last month’s Arrow Exterminators-sponsored “Million Dollar Club” webinar. “You have an opportunity to build engagement when your people feel psychologically safe. Are they able to weigh in on decisions? Are they able to share with you how they feel? Do they feel affirmed? Do they feel like you’re going to really be there for them? They can trust you as the leader because you have worked on that character side of your own leadership and continue to do that.”

PCT thought the topic of employee engagement was so important that we made it the focus of this month’s cover story, “Why Talent Walks.” In the article, PCT contributing writer Anne Nagro explored how boosting employee engagement reduces turnover. Among the PCOs Anne interviewed was Jim McHale, CEO of JP McHale Pest Management, an Anticimex company, who noted, “Engaged employees are the backbone of any service company. They are ambassadors of your brand and culture: No one can tell your story better than a happy customer-facing employee. They can also help you innovate and recruit new talent, pulling in family and friends who will do a tremendous job for you.”

McHale and other PCOs shared some of the things they’ve done to engage employees and foster a positive, collaborative culture in order to retain top performers. I think the article raises valid points, and for me one of the important take-home messages is that company leaders need to continually seek out new and different ways to engage valued employees, or they risk losing them. As Anne wrote, “High-talent employees tend to have higher expectations for their workplace, and they know they have options — opportunities with other companies to grow and develop their skills, and to be appreciated, rewarded and engaged in a meaningful way.”


During the past few years PCT has been growing our social media presence (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are social media channels). Similar to our website, www.pctonline.com, we have posted technical and business news stories and resources we think are of interest to our readers. We also like to occasionally share fun pest-related stories. For example, in June, we shared a story about Queen Elizabeth II being “horrified” at seeing rats in Buckingham Palace’s kitchen. Further proof that pests really don’t discriminate between rich and poor!

The author is Internet editor/managing editor of PCT and he can be contacted via email at bharbison@gie.net.

July 2019
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