Best business investment for 2014: Fueling employee engagement

(BPT) – Do your employees feel personally connected to the organization they work for? Would they recommend your workplace to others? If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” you’re far from alone. Employee engagement is way down, so low that a recent study found that two-thirds of the U.S. workforce is not fully engaged.

What exactly is employee engagement? Boiled down, the term means employees who are fully involved and enthusiastic about their jobs. Beyond simply being satisfied, engaged employees feel connected and committed to their coworkers and the organization where they work. Employee engagement isn’t only good for the individual worker, but has numerous benefits for the organization as well.

“Engagement is directly tied to productivity and loyalty,” says David Fagiano, chief operating officer, Dale Carnegie Training. “This coincides with ROI, which is the reason why every business should pay close attention to their employees and their well-being.”

Only 29 percent of U.S. employees are fully engaged, according to a study from Dale Carnegie Training and MSW Research. Furthermore, 26 percent are considered disengaged. Disengaged employees are two and a half times more likely to leave their job for any level of pay increase than engaged employees. The study also found that young employees and older groups are more engaged than middle-aged people, with engagement peaking among employees who have been at their place of employment for three to five years.

“Empowering people to make decisions about their work will generate enthusiasm and inspire people to try harder, producing the strongest lift to engagement,” says Fagiano. “The single most important person for driving employee engagement is their direct supervisor. This person truly sets the stage for positive or negative outcomes.”

Managers should be aware of the three organizational drivers of employee engagement, according to Fagiano:

1. Relationship with immediate supervisor – Does this person appreciate and recognize the employee?

2. Belief in senior leadership – Do employees believe the company is headed in the right direction?

3. Pride in working for the company – Do employees feel a sense of worth when doing their jobs?

“Really good supervisors know that people are driven by their emotions,” says Fagiano. “If they feel engaged, they’ll work harder and be more likely to help their coworkers. The power of positive emotions should never be underestimated.”

The common connection between all engaged employees is that they feel valued. A recent Dale Carnegie white paper, titled “Emotional Drivers of Employee Engagement,” explores emotions that are connected to feeling valued. Here are the four core emotions of feeling valued and how supervisors can use them to build more engaged employees:

Confident: When employees feel confident, they are more productive and more likely to take on new challenges. Build confidence by giving sincere praise. Be specific about what you think they have done well in the past and reinforce it with a positive statement or suggestion about the future.

Empowered: When employees have the tools and support they need, they feel empowered. Keep an open door policy for questions and conversation. Truly listen to what employees say. Ask them what projects they’d like to work on. Show them you genuinely care and have high expectations.

Enthusiastic: Enthusiasm is contagious. One employee who feels these emotions can spread positive energy to the entire group. Boost enthusiasm by sharing company plans for the future and be open to employee suggestions. Live by example and talk about how excited you are for future developments.

Inspired: Knowing the future is bright and there is opportunity for career growth will inspire employees. Be a mentor and a coach as well as a boss. Provide growth and development opportunities. Remove obstacles and be proactive about providing any necessary resources. Keep an open dialogue about an employee’s vision for their job in the future.

Employee engagement is a trending topic that is sure to peak in 2014. To learn more visit

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