Driving Employee Engagement Through Leadership

The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the workforce, the people who are the company.11

Yes, better strategies, technologies, products, and services help to create success, but the differentiator between good and great companies, is still the people i.e. employees, that run them. The ultimate goal is to have engaged employees, not just people that show up to fulfill a given task on any given day.

While there are many research studies that point to the percentage of engaged and disengaged employees, few studies have looked at what really drives employee engagement. Dale Carnegie teamed with MSW Research to study the functional and emotional elements that affect employee engagement. A national representative sample of 1,500 employees was surveyed, which revealed that although there are many factors that impact employee engagement, there are three key drivers:

  • Relationship with immediate supervisor
  • Belief in senior leadership
  • Pride in working for the company

Employees said that it is the personal relationship with their immediate supervisor that is the key. The attitude and actions of the immediate supervisor can enhance employee engagement or can create an atmosphere where an employee becomes disengaged. In addition, employees said that believing in the ability of senior leadership to take their input, lead the company in the right direction and openly communicate the state of the organization is key in driving engagement. Other factors that drive engagement are that employees are treated with respect, that their personal values are reflected and that the organization cares about how they feel.11

Andrew Carnegie stated it best, “You must capture the heart of a supremely able man before his brain can do its best.”

It’s absolutely vital for companies to have employee loyalty and engagement in todays competitive business landscape. Without loyalty and engagement, experts predict that turnover rates may rise as high as 65% in the near future, and with recruiting costs soaring, a businesses bottom line can run out of control very quickly.

To make a leadership difference by increasing employee engagement at your company, the number one thing you can do is, “be caring!” Yes, it sounds so simple, but it’s not always easy to do with personal and family employee elements coming into play. Take an interest in employees as true people, care about their well being, support healthy habits i.e. working out and vacation time, and truly take an interest in learning more about them.

For best results in your leadership role at your company:

  • Be sincere
  • Be understanding
  • Be empathetic

By embodying these high-quality leadership traits, your employees will work harder, smarter, and longer, to make sure that the company succeeds as an entire team.

A manager’s ability to build strong relationships with employees, build strong team interaction and lead in a “person-centered” way creates an engaging environment in which employees can perform at the highest possible level.11

The easiest way to implement a long-term employee engagement strategy at your business, is to increase two-way communication with every employee. This will move them from feeling disengaged, to feeling valued and like their an important part of the team.

If you’re looking for ways to enhance employee engagement at your company, please reach out to me, Mark Taylor, and arrange a convenient time to attend one my Vistage NYC meetings, hosted monthly in Manhattan, NY.

Here’s what some of my Vistage NYC members have to share about the value of being a member of a peer advisory group:

“It need not be lonely at the top, but it certainly will be if you only have interested parties (employees, partners, bosses, investors, board-members, etc.) and family to support you. If you lack the right external support system, you’ll likely lean too heavily on your team, and this often creates unfortunate repercussions. You may think you have no time for an outside commitment such as Vistage, but all the members of my Vistage group have found that perspective and a strong support system create much more time than they take.” — Mark DiMassimo (Chief / DiMassimo Goldstein)

“Joining Vistage gives me one day out of the month to get out of the hustle & bustle of the office to refocus, learn from the resources and come back with new ideas to implement. I have enjoyed speakers and leave every meeting with new ideas and actions to take when I get back to the office. It has been a worthwhile investment in my personal and professional development and as a result, I have become a better leader. As the chair of my Vistage group, Mark has demonstrated a great ability to keep the group on track and have impact. Mark is a great motivator and has many valuable ideas that have helped me grow, both personally and professionally. Thanks Mark!” — Michael Feldman (CEO / David Feldman Worldwide)

“Vistage is the best investment I have made in my personal development since I launched my company 18 years ago. My Vistage Chair and peer CEOs are my sounding board. I trust each of them to give me sound advice and honest feedback on the tough issues I’m facing today, and the questions and opportunities looming as I look long-term.” — Susan White Morrissey (Founder & CEO / White + Warren)

If it worked for these valuable New York City CEOs, it can work for you as well. Please visit Vistage NYC to learn more.

11Find out more by reading Dale Carnegie’s white paper, titled “What Drives Employee Engagement and Why it Matters.”