Manager relationship key part of employee engagement

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KNOXVILLE – What surprised Peter Handal most about research recently commissioned by Dale Carnegie Training was that employees want their supervisors to know about and care about their personal lives.

Handal, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Dale Carnegie Training, said such an approach was not part of his early management training. Work time and personal lives were considered separate, he told a group of Knoxville area business leaders today.

Dale Carnegie CEO and Chairman of the Board Peter Handal talks to Knoxville business leaders about employee engagement.

Dale Carnegie CEO and Chairman of the Board Peter Handal talks to Knoxville business leaders about employee engagement.

“I was very surprised by fact that employees want supervisors to be interested in their personal lives,” he said. “Employees want to feel important, and when supervisors take an interest in them, it shows they are listening and care.

“Employees don’t want to feel like a paper towel that is used and then tossed away,” Handal said. “A key element in this is communication. The boss should not hide in corner office. The boss should not be a turtle who sticks his head out only once in awhile.”

Relationship with the immediate supervisor is one of three biggest factors that drive employee engagement, according to the new research. Faith in top leadership and pride in the organization are the other two.

Other studies have looked at how engagement affects productivity and profit but the new research is the first to look at what creates employee engagement – or having the hearts as well as the minds of staff members.

Companies and organizations that increase employee engagement will decrease turnover and boost productivity, Handal said at a Knoxville Chamber breakfast.

“Staff turnover and employee engagement have an inverse relationship,” Handal said. “The higher the employee engagement the lower the turnover.”

With the average cost of turnover $75,000 per employee – including lost experience, search costs and training – “that affects the bottom line tremendously,” he said.

The most engaged workers are younger than 30 or older than 60. Nationwide, only 29 percent of all employees define themselves as “fully engaged.”

“Just think of he opportunity we have to increase engagement, success and profits,” Handal said.

Want to learn more? Get the summary of the employee engagement study that Dale Carnegie Training commissioned.

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