Improving Employee Engagement


Employers struggle with a variety of motivation and emotion-based issues with employees. How to attract, engage, and inspire top talent to create winning teams is one of the most requested keynotes.  This is usually combined with some form of addressing generational differences, communication, culture, leadership, teamwork, and personality conflict.  Engagement has been broken down into three parts by Gallup including engaged (13%), not engaged (63%), and actively disengaged (60%).


With such a large percentage of workers in the category of not engaged, it brings attention to the costs involved with ambivalence.  If workers are not engaged, they do not put forth any extra effort, they are less innovative, less effective at customer service, less loyal, more likely to job hop, and are less productive.  Ambivalent workers are there to get a paycheck, but they are not likely to volunteer for much more.  They may be harder to spot because they are not necessarily unhappy, but they do not feel connected to the organization and therefore, are less concerned about customers, profitability, and safety.  They are more likely to leave, resulting in costly turnover expenses.

Consider the costs associated with engagement:

  • The U.S. economy loses $250 billion a year to turnover; there is a loss of $30.5 billion just for Millennials
  • Cost of a disengaged employee averages $3400 per $10,000 in salary
  • Engaged companies have a 6% higher net profit margin and grow profits three times faster
  • Managers spend up to 40% of their day dealing with conflict and engagement-related issues
  • Companies with low engagement scores have 32.7% less operating income

For a complete list of costs involved in engagement, check out 2016 Employee Engagement/Retention Statistics.  There are ways to improve employee engagement. These include:

  • Make engagement a priority
  • Read the SRHM and Deloitte studies for an in-depth understanding of engagement
  • Recognize the importance of understanding emotional aspects of employee behavior
  • Determine levels of engagement to get a baseline
  • Meet with employees and teams to open a dialogue and develop trust
  • Have engaged employees mentor those who are not engaged
  • Determine if employees are in jobs that match their preferences and skills
  • Examine feedback, respect, and recognition employees receive – the number one driver of engagement is recognition
  • Link compensation to engagement

Engagement may vary based on generations and length of service to the company.  As Millennials become the largest group in the workplace, it behooves leaders to learn more about how to attract and retain this group.  They do not require long, detailed-recognition, but frequent notifications that they are doing well and are on track may be very important to their emotional commitment.


Leaders should recognize that the way people work must be evaluated. The days of 8 to 5, no flexibility, and yearly performance reviews are no longer the norm.  People require frequent recognition and feedback.  Leaders who schedule time for feedback will be the ones who reap the rewards. Now that 40% of global workers are remote, it is important to find new ways to connect and to empower people to work virtually.  The successful leaders will begin by hiring the best people, monitor their outcomes, and continue to provide feedback, respect, recognition, and support.

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