How to Boost Employee Engagement

New poll finds 87 percent of world’s employees not engaged at work, and what to do about it

 2013 Employee Engagement Gallup PollGallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace reports that 87 percent of employees lack engagement at work. That means that of approximately 180 million employees in the companies studied, only about one in eight workers are “psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations,” according to the press release.

Here are a few details from the study:

  • 63 percent of employees worldwide are “not engaged,” meaning that they “lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes.”
  • 24 percent are “actively disengaged,” meaning that they “are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.”
  • Some good news: This year’s study shows 13 percent of workers are engaged, up from 11 percent from a global workplace assessment conducted by Gallup in 2009-2010. Further, 29 percent of workers in the U.S. and Canada are engaged—this is the highest proportion worldwide. Australia and New Zealand follow at 24 percent. In Latin America, 21 percent are engaged. And 18 percent of the workers in Russia and nearby countries are engaged.

Still, the engaged worker numbers are very low percentages. So what do we do?

Great ideas

For starters, I read an article on Forbes by Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith entitled “How the Best Places to Work are Nailing Employee Engagement.” Here are some best practices she notes in the article:

  • Conduct employee engagement surveys within your company to understand what employees are thinking.
  • Recognize employees publicly for their contributions large and small with financial rewards, award ceremonies or even notes on a bulletin board.
  • Make sure leaders get employee feedback, listen to it, make sure employees understand expectations, and establish a culture of effective two-way communication and true collaboration.
  • Make mentoring and coaching a top priority, and offer clear paths for advancement.
  • Ensure that employees know how to tell the company’s story, consistent with the organization’s branding.

What’s missing? The Quality Conversation!

While these are great ideas, one concept that I see missing in the Forbes article is what I call The Quality Conversation. I define The Quality Conversation as a meaningful and mutually rewarding dialog that occurs when a person takes and clearly conveys a genuine interest in another individual’s wants, interests and needs. It goes beyond building rapport to make an emotional connection and establish real trust. Practicing The Quality Conversation with authenticity and the proper skills shows the people around you that you truly care and are genuinely interested in others.

The Quality Conversation works on many levels—in work and in personal lives. It succeeds for a simple reason. Psychologists have known for more than 100 years that people are motivated more by emotional factors than economic factors. The Quality Conversation taps into that emotional reservoir.

The right connection, as simple as a turn of phrase, can be more motivating than money. The emotional connection made with a person is more valuable than a paycheck. At the same time—and this is the beauty of The Quality Conversation—it allows you to make an emotional connection that results in not only more engaged employees, but also more sales, profit growth, higher customer satisfaction and better personal relationships.

But establishing a culture around The Quality Conversation—whether you’re running a call center or managing a team of people who serve and sell to customers face-to-face—requires intensive training and coaching.

For a free consultation on increasing your employee engagement and driving your sales, customer service and retention results to the next level through The Quality Conversation, contact me at or 678-548-1775.

Learn more about The Quality Conversation here: