Keep Your Employees Engaged – Before It’s Too Late



Although many don’t realize it, one of the most valuable assets a company can have is its personnel. The staff can make or break a business based on their level of commitment, motivation and interest in their work. While engaging employees already is a complicated skill to master, incoming generations of workers are bringing with them new expectations and desires for the workplace, making it even more difficult to keep all employees engaged.

In fact, the number of employees looking to leave their current job is higher among millennials, with 48% saying they will likely look for a new job in the next three months and 56% in the next 12 months.

Did I mention that the millennial workforce (those born between 1977 and 1995) makes up the largest portion of workers in America?

Worried yet?

Are you aware that 68% of American workers are disengaged, costing organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually?

How about now?

It is clear that the importance of keeping employees engaged has reached critical heights. If companies hope to maintain and grow their businesses into the future, the key is to ensure employees are engaged.

Although the majority of leaders agree that improving workforce engagement would improve their organization, only 25% have an engagement strategy. Do you?

First, let’s define engagement. Workforce engagement can be interpreted as the execution of discretionary effort. It is a combination of commitment to the organization and its values, plus a willingness to help colleagues. Engagement is something the employee has to offer the employer. It cannot be taught or required, but rather must be inspired.

Engagement is not just about keeping employees happy. To be frank, many employees have no problem with sleepwalking through the workday, putting only time – but no passion or interest – into their work. They embody what Jack Welch, author and previous CEO of General Electric, said many years ago, essentially stating, “Never mistake activity for accomplishment.”

The goal with engagement is to go beyond task completion, inspiring employees to feel passionate about their work and motivated to perform their best. This requires creating an environment that prioritizes communication, promotes empowerment and offers opportunity for growth. Our surveys conducted among manufacturers consistently tell us that employees are looking for respect, accountability, trust, opportunity, communication and transparency within the workplace. They want to be cared for and listened to. They want management to believe in them, then they will be encouraged to help the company succeed.

This engagement “strategy” starts with leadership. They must support engagement, and not just by saying they do. They must play an active role and provide the resources and budget to make it happen. This is one of the most important investments a company can make in their business, as it will benefit the organization down the line when employees reach higher levels of engagement, efficiency and productivity than ever before.

Heed this warning: You must set your company apart and promote employee engagement or else the competition could steal your most valuable employees. This is especially critical with the talent shortage now facing the industry, making it increasingly difficult to find skilled workers to fill positions. Now is the time to show your employees they are valued and give them the leadership they deserve, before they decide to look for it elsewhere.

Learn more strategies for keeping employees engaged at our upcoming free event on November 6th in Plymouth.


Mike Beels, Lean Program Manager
Mike Beels has served in the role of Lean Program Manager for the Lean Business Solutions Team at The Center for more than 12 years. Mike’s areas of expertise include Change Leadership, Workforce Engagement and Succession Planning, as well as the entire portfolio of Lean strategies and methodologies. He is a professional trainer and has the ability to command an audience and deliver the training message in a way that participants can understand in a clear, non-threatening manner. Mike always leaves trainees excited and ready to complete training transfer to the shop floor or office. 

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at


Categories: Leadership/Culture, Workforce