Grand Valley consulting firm focuses on engaging efforts

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Tim Haggerty considers wages paid to employees not so much an expense, but an investment. The success of a business depends, he believes, on the return on that investment.

Employees who don’t enjoy their jobs — or, for that matter, like their bosses — could end up costing businesses in decreased productivity and increased absenteeism and turnover. That’s not to mention the effects of their complaints to anyone who’ll listen, Haggerty said.

But engaged employees could more than double the investment in their wages in improved operations and customer service, he said.

The difference between disgruntled and engaged employees could be what Haggerty terms servant leadership and management practices that empower and impassion employees.

The notion isn’t far-fetched, he said. “If people like their jobs and like the people they work with, they do better jobs.”

Haggerty and his wife, Bernadette, operate Timothy Haggerty LLC, a Grand Junction-based consulting firm focusing on business and management practices that improve employee engagement.

Tim Haggerty brings to the venture more than 40 years of experience in operational management for what was at the time Coors Brewing Co. and then Ocean Spray.

He said he worked as plant director at an Ocean Spray facility in New Jersey that increased production 76 percent, reduced costs 12 percent and twice logged more than 1 million man-hours of operations without a lost-time accident.

Haggerty holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Regis University in Denver as well as a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Denver.

Haggerty said he and his wife moved to Grand Junction about two years ago after accepting an early retirement package. He said he realized he wasn’t ready for retirement and instead launched the consulting firm. He also leads courses on communications, employee engagement and management at Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction.

Haggerty said many business owners and managers recognize the emotional benefits of servant leadership, but also need to take into account the financial benefits.

Employees who hate their jobs and likely their bosses might return as little as 3 cents on a dollar invested in wages, he said.

By one estimate, 75 percent of people who quit their jobs do so because of their supervisors, Haggerty said.

In contrast, employees who like their jobs and bosses could return $2 or more on a dollar invested in wages, Haggerty said.

That means businesses that don’t pay attention to the benefits of servant leadership in engaging employees could lose thousands or even millions of dollars a year. Even small improvements in engagement could result in big differences in profitability, he said. “How much more successful could you be?”

Haggerty said he customizes his services to clients, but there are some common approaches involved.

It can help to conduct a survey to assess employee engagement. It’s also helpful to assess the emotional intelligence of employees and their abilities to be aware of, control and express their emotions.

In addition, it’s possible to identify and correct mismatches between the tasks employees are expected to carry out and their abilities to do so, he said. “We force people to do things they’re not good at.”

Communication constitutes another important issue, Haggerty said.

Business leaders should meet regularly with employees to talk about what why they choose to work, what they like and dislike about their jobs and what their expectations include.

Business leaders and employees often share some expectations, Haggerty said, among them the exchange of a good day’s work for a good day’s pay, providing quality products and services and a safe workplace free from harassment.

It’s important that business and business leaders define missions and visions, then strive to align operations to achieve those objectives, he said.

Effective leadership isn’t about command and control, but rather serving employees — empowering them to do their jobs and helping them serve as leaders, too.

Haggerty said his services can help businesses of all sizes in every industry sector. “There’s not an organization out there that can’t benefit from this.”

For more information about Tim Haggerty and his consulting firm, visit the website located at www.timothyhaggerty.com or email info@timothyhaggerty.com.