If your company is searching for ways to delight customers, square one has to be your employees. The correlation between engaged employees and engaged customers is a compelling and proven fact! In actuality, companies in the top quartile for employee engagement have 10 percent higher customer ratings.[1]

The first hiccup we run into when discussing employee engagement is it’s a moving target—everyone has assumptions regarding its meaning. Even experts recognize there is no explicit, universally agreed upon definition. However, at its genesis, there is wide agreement (84 percent) that it is a willingness to give ones best at work.[2]

The second hiccup is transforming adequate managers into exceptional ones. It is at the heart of employee engagement.

Low employee engagement is no small issue as it costs the nation an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion per year.[3] As managers are primarily responsible for their employees’ engagement levels,[4] developing an indispensable management team capable of turning around your workforce is imperative. Additionally, Research cites bad managers as the third most common reason for leaving. [5]

The third hiccup is engagement can’t be a side-bar activity—it has to be your primary obligation. Try initiating these “no cost” actions to accelerate engagement:

  • Focus on Strengths: Gallup’s research shows that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.[6]StrengthScope™ research delineates the best performance enhancer is an emphasis on employee’s performance strengths which improves performance by 34 percent. On the other hand, an emphasis on performance weaknesses produces a 26.8 percent decline in performance. Think about it. That’s a 60.8 percent differential.
  • Focus on Appreciation: Appreciation goes a long way toward improving employee engagement. Research has shown when you attach a subject to a brain monitor; you can see appreciation changing the brain waves… altering the ragged lines of frustration into smooth, evenly measured waves.James Kouzes’ research confirms how important appreciation is to an employee’s attitude. He reports that when an employee receives encouragement and appreciation, 98 percent of those surveyed felt they performed at a higher level.[7] And The Massachusetts Institute of Technology attributes a 47 percent increase in productivity to those whose work is acknowledged as opposed to those whose work is ignored.[8] That’s pretty powerful stuff.
  • Satisfaction Isn’t the Goal: An employee can be satisfied with their work hours or the donuts in the coffee room, and still not be engaged. Research discloses that of the 80 percent of employees who say they are generally satisfied with their company; their sense of satisfaction didn’t translate into improved employee engagement.[9] So, dig deeper if you intend to achieve employee engagement and retention because mere satisfaction won’t generate a commitment to the organization.


[1] Pay.com, Discovery What Employees Want, Overlooked Insights in Employee Engagement, page 3.
[2] HR.com and GLINT, The State of Employee Engagement in 2018, Leverage Leadership And Culture to Maximize Engagement, page 3.
[3] Pay.com, Discovery What Employees Want, Overlooked Insights in Employee Engagement, page 3.
[4] Gallup, State of the American Workplace, page 11.
[5] BlessingWhite, The State of Employee Engagement, page 2.
[6] Gallup, State of the American Workplace, page 46.
[7] 2015 WBECS session with Jim Kouzes.
[8] Pay.com, Discovery What Employees Want, Overlooked Insights in Employee Engagement, page 10.[9] Gallup Webinar, Why Isn’t Employee Engagement Getting Better, January 28, 2016.

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