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3 Truths and a Lie About Keeping Your Employees Engaged

3 Truths and a Lie About Keeping Your Employees Engaged

When discussing employee happiness, people often mistake teams utilizing catered lunches, Hot Yoga Tuesdays and commuter benefits for employee engagement. Sure, while these perks are incredible to offer to employees (and even more incredible to take advantage of) employee engagement stems from the company’s values, dedication to development and potential for growth, not fun little freebies.

According to Aon Hewitt’s 2013 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report, for every one percent in employee engagement, companies can expect a .6 percent growth in sales. And with 96 percent of highly engaged employees saying they work their hardest, versus just 71 percent of those who felt disengaged, that can make a monumental impact on your company’s bottom line (either for the better, or worse). It should come as no surprise that happy employees will out-perform those who are unhappy — but at the end of the day, employers must remember that it’s often not the monetary value that satisfies employees in their roles.

Having had a passionate conversation with a colleague about the difference between employee benefits and engagement, we thought it would make a great addition to our HR Week content. Within this post, we clear the air on common misconceptions of employee engagement and prove how simple and impactful the implementation of engagement best-practices may be in a workplace, both for company culture and the bottom line.

The effectiveness of open-air offices may be up for debate, but in the metaphorical sense, open-door policies and transparency have a huge impact on employee engagement and performance.


Yes, it’s true, the open-air concept may not be as productivity-inducing as was once believed, but a surefire way to increase productivity is for managers to keep their doors open and the conversation flowing. It’s been noted that companies that foster effective communication and change management between employees and their managers are two and a half times more likely to be high-performing businesses.

Engaged employees appreciate managers that actively seek out development and coaching opportunities for their personal and career growth.


While the millennial group has yet to take over as a majority of the workforce, the day is soon upon us. What’s alarming is that according to Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey, 75% of respondents believed that their organizations could do more to develop future leaders. What’s more, HR Magazine reports that companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on training average 24 percent higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments.

To some, the thought of being coached by a company leader or manager may seem like being sent to the principal’s office, but a quick change of perspective may wash away any negative connotations. “Coaching” is an all-encompassing term for employee development and may include goal setting and tracking, growth plan and trajectory conversations and feedback on job performance (along with constructive corrective action, if need be). Coaching doesn’t need to be time-consuming or cumbersome, and can be between an employee and their direct supervisor or another leader within the company — much like a mentor.

Regular one-on-ones assist with goal setting and tracking, but also offer a safe space for open two-way feedback — a necessity for an engaged employee.


In a survey of 2,600 US employees, the group at Mercer Human Resource Consulting found that 42 percent of employees say their managers give them regular feedback on their performance. Additionally, they were able to determine that of those 2,600 surveyed, only a quarter of respondents indicated that their managers coach them to improve performance.

It’s common for a manager’s calendar to be a minefield of meetings, calls and other tasks, but by carving out a dedicated and recurring time for employee one-on-ones, companies are likely to see a rising trend in both employee engagement and productivity. It’s through this type of informal meeting that employees can vocalize their excitement or concern about a project, direction of the company, etc. all the while building a stronger connection and trust between themselves and their managers or mentors.

The commitment, time and effort required to create and maintain an engaged workforce is hardly worth the benefits in the long run.


Eighty-five percent of engaged employees indicated they they plan to stay with their current employer. On average, the cost to replace a mid-level employee is about 20 percent of their salary. With the average salary in the United States around $50,000, that’s nearly $10,000 out the window for the replacement of each disengaged employee, not to mention the cost and time involved with recruiting, interviewing and training.

As you can see, the cost of unengaged employees can be detrimental to companies of all sizes. There are many solutions to fostering a more engaged workforce — some more easy to implement than others. If you think that your company may have an issue with employee engagement, start with a simple and anonymous survey. The data harvested from this survey will be integral in deriving a plan of attack in terms of building a stronger, more engaged team by showing which areas within the business face challenges according to employees (i.e. management communication, access to senior leaders, coaching or growth opportunities, etc.).

Whether you’re in HR, sales or legal, employee engagement is a fascinating topic of discussion. Be sure to stay tuned-in to our blog tomorrow, when we feature our HR Week infographic on “How to turn your new hire into a star”. (Trust us, you won’t want to miss this one.)

If you’re ready to start shopping for a new HR software solution to better organize and manage HR duties including employee engagement, download our free Top 10 Talent Management Software Report today!

[Image courtesy of Startup Stock Photos]

David Self

3 Truths and a Lie About Keeping Your Employees Engaged
David Self is the former Marketing Manager at, where he helps drive client success and contributes original content. Did you like this post? Be sure to share your feedback on our company Twitter page!