Three keys to keeping your employees engaged

Late last year, our Dale Carnegie corporate office commissioned a study on employee engagement in the workplace. Conducted by MSW research, the study focused on 1,500 employees aged 18 to 61 across all business sectors.

Employee engagement is defined as the emotional and intellectual commitment of employees to deliver high performance.

What the research found is that there are three primary drivers of employee engagement:

  • Relationship with immediate supervisors
  • Belief in senior leadership
  • Pride in working for their company

The first and most dramatic finding was that if employees are dissatisfied with their immediate supervisors, there is an 80% chance that they are disengaged. This statistic reinforces the significance of building positive relationships in the workplace. Similarly, having a “caring” manager is one of the key elements to a positive and successful employee engagement strategy. Employees want to feel valued and have their manager take an interest in their personal lives, health, and well-being.

The second driver that affects employee engagement is a belief in senior leadership. Employees are inspired by role models who encourage goal achievement, which contributes to positive engagement and a better overall workplace environment.

Finally, employee engagement is highest among those who take pride in working for their company. The study identified the following four characteristics needed for engagement: enthusiasm, empowerment, inspiration, and confidence.



Key survey results

While less than a third of employees are engaged, some groups of employees are more engaged than others.

  • Engagement levels appear to increase during the first five years of employment.
  • Executives (VPs and higher) and medical workers are the most highly engaged employees.
  • Employees in education, social work, and sales are the least engaged.
  • Employees aged 50 to 60 are the least likely to be engaged.
  • 26% of part-time workers are engaged vs. 31% of full-time workers.
  • 45% of managers and supervisors are engaged, and only 23% of all other workers are engaged.

Disengaged employees are two and a half times more likely to leave for any level of pay increase than employees who are engaged.

  • 26% of engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase.
  • 46% of partially engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase.
  • 69% of disengaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase.

Employee engagement rates are directly tied to feelings about interaction with one’s immediate supervisor.

  • 49% of employees who were satisfied with their direct manager were engaged.
  • 80% of employees who were very dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor were disengaged.
  • 28% of employees felt a negative emotion from their interaction with their supervisor, and only 10% of these employees were engaged.
  • 53% of fully engaged employees say they learned a lot from their supervisor compared to 19% of people who are not fully engaged.
  • 62% of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example, compared to 25% of people who are not fully engaged.
  • 40% of employees who feel empowered by their supervisor are engaged.

Personal lives are no longer off limits. Managers who are viewed as caring about employees’ personal lives have employees who are more engaged.

  • 66% of employees believe their manager does not care about their personal life.
  • 54% of employees who believe their manager cares about their personal life are engaged.
  • 17% of employees who believe their manager does not care about their personal life are engaged.

Senior leadership’s actions also have a direct impact on employee engagement.

  • 61% of employees who have confidence in senior leaders’ abilities and think they are moving the organization in the right direction are fully engaged.
  • 61% of employees who say they are satisfied with the amount of input they have in decisions affecting their work are engaged.
  • 60% of employees who feel they have an impact on the direction of the company are engaged.
  • Employee engagement levels are twice as high among employees who say they are proud of the contributions their organization has made to the community.

In summary, if you want a fully engaged workforce, pay extra attention to the three drivers above and follow through with an employee engagement plan of action. More on this in my next blog.

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