Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman are CEO and president, respectively, of leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman. Their studies of employees from around the world confirm what anybody who’s worked for poor leaders and bad bosses knows – leadership influences how employees feel about their work and their employers.
Zenger and Folkman found that leaders who both drive high performance with high standards and focused goals and enhance the work experience with good communication, role modeling, trust, and employee development create the highest levels of employee engagement.
The Importance of Employee Engagement
The Bureau of National Affairs reports that U.S. businesses lose billions of dollars a year because of employee turnover. Turnover costs money and one of the best ways to control turnover is with employee engagement. The way supervisors interact with employees is one of the key drivers of employee engagement, so caring managers are important in developing an engaged workforce. Ability to build good working relationships, strong team interaction, and demonstrate caring leadership are necessary assets of an engaging work environment.
What Drives Employee Engagement
The Dale Carnegie Training White Paper “What Drives Employee Engagement and Why It Matters,” three key employee engagement drivers are identified from their recent national employee survey:
- Relationship with immediate supervisor
- Belief in senior leadership
- Pride in working for the company
Employees said that senior leadership makes a difference in the way they feel about their job and the company. They reported that leadership factors that work to drive engagement include open communication, being treated with respect by leaders, and being treated like the organization cares how they feel.
Basic findings in the Dale Carnegie study showed that less than 45 percent of employees are fully engaged, and the typical fully engaged employees are senior management, have a college education, and earn more than $50,000. That points to a lot of opportunity for employers to create better work environments and working relationships with the right leadership.
How Engagement Affects Business
Employees who work with caring managers who take an interest in them and are respectful feel happier at work, care about what they do and about their employers’ business, and perform better overall. A caring workplace with caring managers develops employees who are committed, motivated, and dedicated to organizational success, and that leads to a ripple effect that creates value such as customer engagement, increased sales and profits, and increased stock prices.
Levels of Engagement
A positive working environment is one key to employee engagement, but using the environment to develop higher levels of employee engagement is even more important. Dale Carnegie identifies a range of engagement, from disengaged to feeling valued to being involved to being enthusiastic to feeling ownership.
Which Employees Are Most Engaged
A recent Gallup study shows that managers are the most engaged at work in 2012, with 36 percent being deeply involved, enthusiastic, and contributing at their companies. This is the group with the highest engagement out of 12 occupation types that include professional workers, sales workers, and service workers. The study showed manufacturing and transportation workers are least engaged in their jobs.
As recent research reveals, there’s still a real need to develop managers who care about their employees, communicate well, and work to create an engaging work environment. Our recent post, “Helping Managers Become Workplace Recognition Experts” provides a good place to start. Invest in manager training – we know leadership skilled in employee recognition will impact engagement and be vital to your long-term business success.
About gThankYou, LLC
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