By Brian Lucas

This is the first in a series of excerpts from white papers I am posting due to the gracious generosity of Katie Iorio-Martin in response to the enthusiastic requests for more information by many of her interview readers.  For more information go to www.dalecarnegiewayphilly.com.

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

US businesses lose $11 billion annually as a result of employee turnover.

That was from the US Bureau of National Affairs. Did it get your attention?  Then read on!




Dale Carnegie Training White Paper

Dale Carnegie Training Logo

Copyright © 2012 Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.   driveengagement_101512_wp


What makes one company more successful than another? Better products, services, strategies, technologies or, perhaps, a better cost structure? Certainly, all of these contribute to superior performance, but all of them can be copied over time. 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. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged significantly outperform work groups that are not engaged. In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.

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.


  • Among the 1,500 employees, only 29% are fully engaged and 26% are disengaged. Almost half (45%) are partially engaged.
  • The findings from the MSW Research study identify several factors that drive engagement or disengagement.
  • Gender, ethnicity and work status (full/part time) do not emerge as critical variables of employee engagement.
  • On the other hand, there are some additional factors that have minor influences on engagement. More engaged workers tend to be:
    • Senior management (Senior VP+ level)
    • Employed in a large corporation
    • Have a college education
    • Earn $50K+
    • Under the age of 30, or over 50
  • Comparatively, demographic and organizational segments currently less engaged or disengaged with their organizations are:
    • Middle-aged employees (40-49 years old)
    • The most highly educated, i.e., those with a post-graduate education
    • Lower-level income employees earning less than $50K
    • Newer employees, especially those in the organization less than a year
    • Client-facing and clerical staffers
    • Those working in government, military, education and manufacturing sectors


Employee Engagement by Demographic

Percent fully engaged by each demographic: Fully engaged, 29%


Today, employee engagement and loyalty are more vital than ever before to an organization’s success and competitive advantage. Gone are the days when a young person starting out in his or her career joined a company and stayed until retirement – in today’s business environment there are no guarantees. Experts predict the current turnover rate may rise to 65%. With recruiting costs running approximately 1.5 times annual salary, the ability to engage and retain valuable employees has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. The question for management is how to ensure that the supervisors interact with individuals to generate an engaged workforce.


The study revealed that a “caring” manager is one of the key elements that drives employee engagement. That is, employees want their managers to care about their personal lives, to take an interest in them as people, to care about how they feel and support their health and well-being. 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.

“Caring” managers and workplace environment

Engaged employees

Employees more committed, dedicated        motivated to make organization a success

Customer engagement

Increase in sales and profit

Increase in stock price


Employees are your biggest investment and should bring the greatest reward. Yet even today, in too many organizations, employees are viewed as an asset to be managed rather than as individuals who can create the next innovation for success. Long-term engagement starts with good communication between employer and employees as well as among co-workers, fostering a positive working environment.

Moving Employees to a higher level

By working with employees to create a clear career path and set goals with a potential for growth, a manager can create positive esteem within each team member. By showing them that they are valued and have responsibility, and then to recognize and reward them for a job well done, a manager can create an “involved employee.” It is then much easier to turn that sense of involvement into enthusiasm and a sense of pride in ownership that creates the highest levels of engagement with employees.

If you are looking for ways to enhance employee engagement in your organization, Dale Carnegie Training is here to help. Based on a strong heritage in training and coaching people, and the findings from the MSW Research study, Dale Carnegie Training is ready to help you move employees to a higher level of engagement, moving those who are “disengaged” to become “engaged” and those who are “engaged” to become “Builder Employees.”


About Brian Lucas

In his life, Brian Lucas has been a coach, farm worker, forester, health care advocate, life guard, general contractor, mechanic, mixologist, musician/singer (in a rock group), salesman and teacher. Brian has worked as a project manager, technical marketer, methodologist, manager, software architect, systems designer, data modeler, business analyst, systems programmer, software developer and creative writer. These efforts include over a hundred hi-tech initiatives in almost every business and industrial sector as well as government and military projects. Among them, he designed and developed a quality assurance system for the first transatlantic fiber optic communications network, a manufacturing system for a large computer manufacture’s seven manufacturing centers, a data mining system for steel production, an instrumentation system for cable systems, defined requirements for government’s information systems and designed and developed human performance management systems. Brian has educated and mentored many over the years, designing programs to discover and develop talent. He has also lectured extensively to a variety of audiences. Brian is currently devoting as much time as possible to the innovation of business agility and human capital management along with the next generation of agile software development. As an amateur theoretical physicist he is working on joining general relativity and quantum mechanics through a multidimensional time corollary on string theory and negating the uncertainty principle with Louis de Broglie’s wave/particle hypothesis. He is also an avid blue-water sailor and wilderness backpacker. He enjoys billiards, boxing, chess, cooking, famous battle reenactments and war gaming, fencing, flying, gardening, horseback riding, martial arts (particularly Ninjutsu), philosophy and psychology, playing musical instruments (7 so far), poker, rapid-fire target shooting, reading (he tries to read a new book every night), painting with oils, scuba diving, skiing and recently writing novels.
This entry was posted in Agile and Strategic Planning, Agile Arguments, Agile for Beginners, Agile in the Enterprise, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Charles Varnet says:

    Thanks for posting this Brian and thanks to Katie as well for her permission to do so, even though this is market material for Dale Carnegie. I did read Katie’s interview and it was very well crafted. Frankly, I was very favorably impressed and I rarely say that. I agree entirely with this whitepaper. The problem as I see it when companies engage professionals like Dale Carnegie they are really looking for sugar pills to fix the workforce disgruntlement and not address very bad management issues and the executive attitude that they know it all and deserve all the high pay. How many companies are out there that you can walk into ghs CEO’s office and tell him the truth about what’s going on or at least what YOU think is the truth and not get fired? How does Dale Carnegie fix THAT? I would love to hear what I am convinced are two very smart and experienced people namely Katie and Brian address that either separately or jointly.

  2. Julie Moore says:

    This looks similar to your HCM post Brian which quoted Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin surveys that were older. My question is have things gotten any better?

  3. Dunstan McCafferty says:

    Katie and Brian: That’s a big number – $11 billion. It caught my eye. Do you have any world wide statistics. It also occurs to me that turnover is only a small part of what companies are losing through worker disengagement. Poor productivity must be larger. Do you have any figures on that? Finally thanks for posting this I can’t wait to see the rest of the white papers. DM

  4. Ben Stoves says:

    In the last several posts, there seems to be a theme of the importance of agile/communications. Unless I am wrong, however, you are not talking about a communications plan. You are referring to the “skill” of communicating. Is that correct? If so are you going to address it more directly? This is not a criticism. I guess that I am looking for a clue as to what comes next.

  5. Bill Fulton says:

    $11 Billion should get anyone’s attention. As a retired CFO I know all too well the cost of onboarding new employees. To be frank I believe the true figure is even higher. In this figure, you don’t differentiate between the loss of a valued employee from attrition to a competitor, from retirement or for just plan old poor performance reasons. If you have any of those statistical details Katie I believe they would be illuminating. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Rashid says:

    Thank you for posting this Brian. I found it quite valuable. Please extend my appreciation to Katie as well.

  7. Quentin Gonzales says:

    Nice series on Employee Engagement. Good, quality research!

  8. Arlene says:

    Employee engagement is what drives companies so what drives employee engagement is THE critical success factor in business. Thank you for driving this fact home!

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