To Engage or Not To Engage

For years, employers have struggled with whether to have an active engagement procedure in place, or just replace employees who aren’t buying into the company philosophy.

Should employees naturally find a level of buy in to company philosophies, or should company leadership actively seek out a method in which to gain a belief in ownership for their employees?

Does your company have a problem? What steps should you take to better engage your workforce? These are the things that we are going to look at it.

Identify What Type of Employees You Have

Three main types of employees walk around the halls of your office:


Employees who find a connection to their company’s ideology and help to drive the organization forward.


Employees who are just putting in the necessary hours without any energy or passion for the position they hold. These are the employees who, somewhere along the way, became Disengaged for one reason or another, be it lack of career growth or promotion, a perception of salary inequity, job dislike, or distrust of a direct manager or senior management.

Actively Disengaged

These employees can be extremely damaging to a company. These workers are unhappy, and they aren’t overly secretive about it. They display it in words, actions, and attitude, and actively undermine the performance of others.

Although we all hope to believe that the majority of our employees fall in the first category, most fall in the bottom two. Statistics show that only 13% of all employees worldwide are fully engaged, and just 33% in the United States are fully engaged.

Replacing Current Staff

So, what do you do with employees that fall in the bottom two categories? Fire and replace? Not so fast my friend, the cost of replacing staff in the bottom two categories can be a strong reminder of the need to take a different approach in today’s market. The Cost of Turnover will vary by wage and role, but the costs are often significant no matter the position they hold. For example, a Center for American Progress study found average costs to replace an employee are:

  • 16 percent of annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (earning under $30,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $10/hour retail employee would be $3,328.

  • 20 percent of annual salary for midrange positions (earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $40k manager would be $8,000.

  • Up to 213 percent of annual salary for highly educated executive positions. For example, the cost to replace a $100k CEO is $213,000.

As you can see, the cost of replacing those employees who fall in the disengaged or actively disengaged categories can bleed a company of much needed financial resources, at the same time draining the expertise and knowledge they hold in their job function.

Engaging Your Employees

So, we now know that just replacing employees is a financial gut shot for an organization. What do we do now? We need to focus on putting together a plan for bringing those employees in those bottom two categories back to the top. It starts with a few simple concepts.

  1. Employee Engagement Survey (or Employee Climate Survey). Use employee engagement surveys to measure and provide feedback on where your employees feel the company can improve. Take care to ensure that the survey is designed to reflect data that is specific, relevant and actionable. It is critical that, as you develop the questions, the leadership of the organization is prepared to take action on the feedback or provide clear and complete information on why things must be done certain ways.

  2. Empower your managers to make a significant difference in the immediate environment in which they work. Change starts when the doing function of your organization improves. Engage managers to make sure that performance expectations are associated with employee engagement.

  3. Ensure your hiring process gets the right people on the bus. Whether hiring from outside or promoting from within, companies that carefully select management staff who have the specific skill set necessary to connect with their employees create a greater chance of engaged employees.

  4. Coach your managers and hold them accountable for their employee’s engagement levels. Companies that coach their managers to take an active role in the success and failures of their employees create a continual cycle of emotional employee engagement on these teams.

  5. Make sure that the engagement efforts of your company are meaningful to employee’s day to day job experience. Make sure they understand what success looks like. Make it a part of the cultural fabric of your organization on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Our Suggestion

Successful companies have long made their employees the best asset they have. An engaged workforce with a pulse on the key drivers for success in an organization will create not only a better work environment, but a direct impact on profitability, productivity, sales and customer happiness. Work hard to put your employees in the fore front to better set your organization up for the future.

Create management teams that know the value of engaging their employees daily and act on it. Changing culture is not an overnight process, but it will never come without the right leaders driving a culture of engagement.

If you would like assistance in ensuring that your company is putting an employee engagement plan in place that will assist in driving up your company metrics, contact Windsor HR Services at 800-297-4962 or at

Seth Nell is a Business Performance Advisor for Windsor HR Services, Inc. With nearly 15 years business development and management experience, Seth brings a holistic view to our client’s needs. A former small business owner himself, Seth has a unique perspective to the HR function and the benefits it brings too small to medium sized business. Working daily with C-Level executives to position organizations for not just today, but well into the future. Seth is a member of the SHRM society and Dallas HR chapter. He is active in the community coaching and mentoring young men through athletics. Seth is married to his wife Angelica, together they have two sons, Edwin and Preston.


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