Excerpts from: THE DYNAMICS OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

By Brian Lucas

This is the second 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.

“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” Walt Disney

More than 66% in a national survey of full and part time employees in large and small businesses add little extra value or demonstrate negativity in the workplace according to recent research from MSW Research.

So your enterprise is really living off the work of less than 33% of your work force.  Does that shock you?  Learn what drives employee engagement!

The Dynamics

of EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Dale Carnegie Training White Paper

Dale Carnegie Training Logo

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

HOW ENGAGED ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES?

A fully engaged employee is actively involved in and enthusiastic
about his or her work. He or she is willing to go the extra mile to
ensure customer satisfaction and make the organization a success,
spreading enthusiasm within his or her team and beyond. On the
other hand the partially engaged employee does the minimum to get
by, concentrates on the job at hand and adds little extra value. The
disengaged employee demonstrates negativity at work and undermines
the accomplishments of others, potentially creating a toxic atmosphere
in the workplace. Engaged employees feel personally connected to
an organization, are more productive, are less likely to seek alternative
employment, and act as champions for their company. Today, engaged
employees are more important than ever.

Dale Carnegie charged MSW Research with identifying and
understanding the dynamics that govern employee engagement,
ranging from tangible dimensions such as age, education, gender and
income to the more intangible such as emotions. To assess their level of
engagement, respondents were asked two questions:

• How likely are you to recommend your company to your friends as a
place of employment?
• How likely are you to recommend your company to others for the
purpose of doing business?

Nationwide, 1500 managers and employees of different ethnicities,
working both full and part-time in large and small companies,
government and education were surveyed. Less than one-third of those
surveyed reported being “Fully Engaged” while just over a quarter
were “Disengaged.”

Disengaged employees are 2.5 times more likely than engaged employees to change jobs for as little as a 5% pay increase.

KEY DEMOGRAPHICS AFFECTING ENGAGEMENT

How is it that one person will be invested in their work while another is less engaged? Picking the right person for the job is the obvious first step but for employees already working within an organization it is useful to examine the variables that can impact the level of engagement. The study reveals that gender, ethnicity and race do not affect employee engagement levels, but age, length of service and position within the organization, education level, income, working full or part-time and
industry type all play a significant role.
Examining these critical variables in more detail we find that:
critical variables in employee engagement
  • Young employees and those aged fifty plus are more engaged than people in middle age.   This may be attributed to the expectation of a new career or the exuberance of youth, and the achievement of career milestones in older workers. Those in the 40-49 age range are more likely to have external pressures due to family life; however, disengagement could also be due to these employees feeling they have reached a plateau in their careers. Steps need to be taken to ensure the employee doesn’t sink from partial engagement to complete disengagement with all the negative impacts that can have on their work and that of their coworkers. Training opportunities and interventions specifically aimed at workers in their forties should be considered.
  • The length of time an employee has worked for a particular organization affects engagement. Those who have been employed for at least three years are more engaged than the newly employed, particularly employees in the first year with an organization who may be less confident about their role or skills. However, the level of engagement peaks after three years of employment. Engagement is low among people with 20+ years of service, perhaps because of difficulty in maintaining motivation or a stalled career path.
  • Those at a VP level or above are the most fully engaged, but 47% engagement among this group is relatively low given the importance of their role. The economic climate and pessimistic attitude toward “corporate America” may account for the relatively lower level of engagement among senior managers.
  • Surprisingly, fewer of the most educated (post-graduate) are fully engaged compared to those who either have some college experience or even a high school degree. This partial disengagement could be attributed to the most educated having greater expectations that have yet to be met.
  • Higher income correlates with higher engagement, but while there are significantly more people earning $50K and above who are fully engaged than at lower income levels, income is not a driving factor. Unsurprisingly the most disengaged are those earning less than $50K, but there are multiple factors that may influence this. For example, low level incomes are usually associated with positions with high customer interaction, where respondents are more likely to be disengaged. There are no differences in engagement based on varying salary levels of the partially engaged.
  • Part-time workers, who make up an increasing part of the national workforce, are much less engaged (26%) and more likely to be disengaged (29%) than full-time employees, who were 31% engaged and 24% disengaged.
  • Client-facing employees, i.e. those in sales or customer service, are the people companies most need to engage. They tend to be the lowest paid, but working at their best level they will boost both customer satisfaction and revenue. Employee engagement is much lower in some sectors than others. Those who work in government, education, and manufacturing are among the most disengaged. Those who work in the health care are the most engaged.

More engaged employees feel they are in a high position or well compensated relative to their background, their skills or their age.

EMOTIONAL DYNAMICS

Emotions, which we explore in greater depth in the white paper “Emotional Drivers of Employee Engagement,” have a major impact on an employee’s engagement level. Certain emotional responses are positive, others negative, but negative emotions have greater influence. The fully engaged employee is more enthusiastic, empowered, happy, confident and valued. The disengaged find their workplace upsetting and are irritated merely by having to show up for work.

WORKPLACE DYNAMICS

Positive engagement is affected by overall job satisfaction, but disengagement is mainly impacted by dissatisfaction with senior management, although the disengaged express little satisfaction with any facet of their job. Interpersonal relations, a positive working atmosphere and a caring manager contribute to a climate of engagement.

MOVING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT FORWARD

Employee Engagement is a function of the interaction between background and skills on one hand and position and compensation on the other. It leads to higher staff retention, lower salaries, greater customer satisfaction and stronger sales, but the majority of US workers are not fully engaged. Organizations need to manage employee engagement, ensuring that the engaged employees retain their enthusiasm and the disengaged and partially engaged employees move into that category. Dale Carnegie tailors programs
to your specific company dynamics, identifying needs for individual roles, building on workers’ personal experiences and matching employees’ goals with the company’s vision to ensure enhanced levels of job satisfaction and a positive workplace environment. These insights fuel engagement, building champions for your organization to assure better service to clients and ultimately growth in your business.

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.
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12 Responses to Excerpts from: THE DYNAMICS OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

  1. Marcie Fedders says:

    Holy cow no wonder I have to work so hard more than half of them are slackers. Thanks for posting Brian and thanks to Katie Iorio-Martin for giving permission. I want to see what all the white papers look like.

  2. Arlene Washburn says:

    I have worked as a CSR for 17 years and we deal primarily with dissatisfied customers. Of the five companies I worked for only one treated us half way decently and that was mostly because we had a good manager who fought for us. They fired him – surprise. Hired an idiot and I left. How stupid to treat people who are the face of your company poorly.

  3. Kholaha-girl says:

    Thanks Katie and Brian for the free info of employee engagement!

  4. Jane Bauer says:

    This was short and sweet and made sense to me. The dynamics of employee engagement are the most important aspect of organizational viability that exists today! Thank you Brian and Katie for posting this! I too am disappointed that this latest survey information shows that the American strategy for management is behind the times and the situation doesn’t appear to be improving in corporate America. What are we going to do about it as individuals and collectively?

  5. Stu Welch says:

    Thanks for sharing Katie and Brian I look forward to some more of the same from you both!

  6. Marlene DeJesus says:

    Thank you Brian and Katie this was a great series! I am a big fan of Dale Carnegie.

  7. Rick Muntz says:

    Informative series on employee engagement! Thanks for sharing Brian and Katie!

  8. Hester Udahl says:

    I have to try Dale Carnegie. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ned Werkheiser says:

    Do you have a recommended reading list on this subject?

  10. Kyle Shore says:

    Brian and Katie is there anything beyond this research that is good to read from a practical implementation standpoint? I’d like to develop this more into a presentation for our CEO.

  11. Marc Baldwin says:

    Great series of short subjects on employee engagement. It is had to understand why so much of management today still don’t get it! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Katie Mallory says:

    Nice series of posts on employee engagement. Thanks for posting this Brian and Katie. My question is why can’t we seem to do a better job on this since it is a chronic problem and there is significant research to show the benefits of engaging the workforce? Any perspective on that Katie and Brian?

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