11 Ways Leaders Can Keep Their Employees Actively Engaged


Companies work very hard to keep their costs down in order to gain more profits.  Often, they take the quick route of cutting expenses including payroll to keep their bottom lines healthy.   One area that is often overlooked is employee engagement.  When it comes to productivity in the workplace, employee engagement tops the list of must-haves.

There really is no point in investing in all the best technology for your company, ensuring all the tools and resources are of the highest caliber, only to neglect how engaged your workforce is.  When employees don’t care about their work and don’t feel connected to the company in some way or another, the entire team is going to suffer.  Productivity will slow.

Take a look at some startlingly but insightful statistics on employee engagement.

Employee Engagement/Retention Statistics

  • 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged (Gallup)
  • Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually (The Engagement Institute)
  • Disengaged workers cause massive losses in productivity – between $450 and $500 billion a year (Mental Health America)
  • 16% of employees said they felt “connected and engaged” by employers (EmployeeChannel)
  • 75% of American workers care deeply about the well-being of their employer and only 23% say they have full insight into how their organizations are actually doing (Kimble Applications)
  • 46% of employees said they were not confident that the information provided by their employer regarding the overall health of the business is a fair representation of reality (Kimble Applications)
  • Employees with a high confidence level in their company’s senior leadership are 5 times as likely to remain with their employer more than 2 years compared to employees with no confidence (Qualtrics)
  • 23% of employees said that more transparency regarding the overall health of the business would cause them to be more motivated, and 14% would be less likely to take a competing job offer (Kimble Applications)
  • It can cost 33% of an employee’s salary to replace him/her (HR Dive)
  • 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable (HR Dive)
  • 63% of the workforce was engaged in 2016 (24% highly engaged, 39% were moderately engaged (Aon Hewitt)
  • 34% of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months (Mercer)
  • 56% of workers are planning to look for a new job in the next 6 months (PayScale)
  • 58% of millennials reported that they intended to stay in their current role for fewer than three years (Red Brick)
  • 52% of Millennials viewed the concept of employee loyalty as being overrated (Red Brick)
  • 84% of passive job seekers would think about leaving their current employer if another with an outstanding rating made a job offer (Energage)
  • 41% of Gen X are happy in their role, 51% experience high or very high workplace pressure, and one-third say they are highly likely to consider leaving their current role (Hays)
  • Baby Boomers are most likely to be satisfied in their current role (48%) and least likely to consider leaving (77%) (Hays)
  • 42% of employees earning $75,000 or more intend to quit in the next 6 months (meQuilibrium)
  • 51% of U.S. workers overall (60% of millennials) are considering new employment opportunities (Gallup)
  • 73% of employees are open to hearing about new opportunities (TopResume)
  • 13% of employees say they love their job and are not looking for other opportunities (TopResume)
  • 46% of employees would consider a job that matched their current salary or even paid less (ADP)
  • 76% of employees who do not feel valued are looking for other job opportunities (Lifeworks)
  • 90% of executives said keeping new hires is an issue in their organizations (Korn Ferry)
  • 95% of human resource leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention (MTD training)
  • 87% of human resource leaders say improved retention is a high/critical priority (MTD training)
  • 50% of employees report feeling “neutral” or “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” that the HR team made them feel more informed or engaged (EmployeeChannel)
  • 78% of companies have a documented employee engagement strategy and nearly 50% measure success (Maritz Motivation)
  • 75% of small business employees are very or extremely happy working for a small employer (Aflac)
  • Top five reasons employees say they like working for small businesses: flexible scheduling (27%), seeing the fruits of their labor (23%), feeling their input matters (17%), being rewarded for hard work (14%) and getting noticed by people who matter (9%) (Aflac)

So where do you start?  How can you improve your employees’ level of engagement?

Here are 11 Ways Leaders Can Keep Their Employees Actively Engaged:

Live the Values

Start with the values and the why.  If 75% of American workers care deeply about the well-being of their employer, then values are the first step.  It is not just about communicating what your values are, it’s about leaders living the values.

It is more than just posting your values statement on the lunchroom wall.  Do your actions mimic what is written?  Do you live your values and set the example before expecting it of your people?

Don’t Create Clones, Foster Creativity

Leaders don’t develop leaders that are exactly like them.  Instead, they encourage others to be their authentic selves and blaze their own paths.  They understand that their way is not always the best way and encourage their employees to share ideas.

Put Them in a Position of Influence

Beyond empowering employees, put them in a position of influence to see how they react and engage in their new role.  Once you have put them in that position, respect the authority you’ve granted them and let them do “their thing”.  Micromanagement does not belong in an engaged environment.

Share Successes

Empowering leaders encourage team members to share best practices and recognize accomplishments.  By celebrating small wins, you build momentum and create an environment where employees look for new ways to win.

Create a Work Environment that Encourages Feedback

It’s not enough to communicate that you have an open-door policy.  It’s about being open to feedback at all levels and encouraging open dialogues that improves employee and company development.

Get to Know Your Team

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Remember one of the stats from above, “75% of small business employees are very or extremely happy working for a small employer”?  Employees want to feel like they matter.  One frequent comment I hear about the disadvantages of working in a corporate world is how they feel like, “just a number”.

One important way to combat that feeling is by getting to know the person behind the position.  Take time to understand who is on your team.  What are their hobbies?  Family situation?  Connecting to your employees can help keep engagement levels high.

Provide Them with the Required Tools for Success

It can be extremely frustrating for an employee to want to do their best, but not have the required tools or resources to make it happen.  This starts with the right onboarding tools and continues with the resources needed for employees to perform at their best.

  • Training tools to continue to develop their skills
  • Necessary resources to perform their job (labor, material, systems)
  • Resources available when they face a roadblock. Do they know where they can turn to for help?

Create a Culture of Development

When employees feel that they are contributing and are of value, they stay motivated.  An effective way is for employees to feel like they are being challenged.  Leaders know that to keep a team of high performers onboard, they need to find continued ways to challenge them.

Training plans for new employees are not enough.  Create programs that contribute to the continuous improvement of your team.

  • Stretch projects that target high potential employees
  • Mentorship programs tailored to each individual
  • Seminars or ongoing training programs to elevate skills
  • Ongoing development plans and coaching conversations

Help Them See their Potential

Your job as a leader is not to highlight their current abilities.  Anyone can do that.  The best leaders shine a light on what is possible.  Believe in their potential and watch them reach new levels.

Trust Them

Nothing is more reassuring at work than when employees feel that they have their immediate Supervisor’s trust.  The opposite is also true.  Lack of trust quickly creates a team of discouraged employees.  Once you assign a task or project, trust them to get it done.  Being available to provide support is not the same as directing every step they should take.

“The glue that holds all relationships together–including the relationship between the leader and the led–is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy


This is a big one.  I once worked for a company where I would sometimes read about company information on the internet first, before hearing about it from my company.  When companies choose to keep important information from employees, employees keep their total commitment from the company.

Transparency also contributes to trust within the workplace.  Employees who are kept in the loop and understand their role in the overall mission and goals of the company are, more likely to put their trust in their employer.

Was there a statistic from above that you were surprised to read about?