The Ripple Effect of Engagement

When you throw a stone in a pond, the first kerplunk creates a ripple that multiplies as it moves outward from the spot where the rock hit the water. Those ripples get bigger as they move farther away from the point of engagement. The same holds true for interactions with people. Every connection has the potential to create ripples. Whether those ripples are positive or negative can be determined by your company’s actions.

When your company deliberately cultivates programs and processes to ensure those ripples are positive, it becomes the foundation of your corporate social responsibility. And while programs out in the world can have tremendous value, companies sometimes overlook opportunities closer to home.

The book Keep Your Customers shows how everyday engagement with employees and customers has the power to impact their lives and create positive ripple effects.

Imagine a scenario in which Joe, an employee, walks into work and engages with a company program designed to bolster his performance by building skills and connecting him to his positive contributions as an employee. Joe walks away feeling appreciated.

That’s the first positive ripple.

Here’s How The Ripple Effect Works

Then Joe goes into a meeting with a customer. Having tapped into ways he helps the company thrive, Joe has a constructive conversation with that customer, and the outcomes are mutually beneficial. That meeting creates Joe’s second affirming ripple. Already doubly boosted, Joe engages with a fellow employee in the hallway and creates a third ripple. So it goes throughout his day.

When Joe goes home, affirmed that he has been seen, heard, and valued at work, he carries that positive engagement with him. The ripples spread to his family members, who then share them with people in their worlds. The Ripple Effect becomes a virtuous cycle.

Ripple Effects Can Be Negative, Too

Now consider the flip-side scenario.

Joe gets to work and is lectured by his supervisor to bring up his numbers – or else. There’s no program to boost Joe’s performance, so he goes into his customer meeting feeling uncertain about his professional mojo. His feelings bleed into the customer conversation, and Joe botches the negotiation. Joe’s confidence and his overall negative feelings are reinforced.

As he continues through his day, how is this version of Joe going to greet his colleague in the hallway? Or go home to his family? How are his family members going to engage in their worlds after encounters with Joe?

At Your Iconic Brand, corporate social responsibility is viewed through the lens of cultivating connectedness. When employee and customer interactions with your company leave people feeling seen, heard, and valued, you generate positive ripple effects. These ripple effects result in better relationships – and ultimately, better businesses.

How do you create positive ripple effects for your employees and customers?

This article originally appeared on the Taking Care In Business blog. You can also hear my conversation with Kathy Pedrotti Hays and Vicki Bohlsen on the Taking Care In Business podcast.