Guest Post by Kevin Ennis

Originally posted @

Great leaders and organizations know that employee engagement is critical to business success.  Research compiled by The Gallup Organization shows that organizations with the highest levels of engagement enjoy increased employee productivity and retention, better operating margins, and almost 4 times higher return to shareholders than their lowest scoring industry peers.

While engagement brings great benefits, disengagement can be costly.  Gallup says, in 2014, disengaged employees cost the US economy $450 billion in lost productivity.

While it can be difficult to get disengaged employees to reengage it is not impossible.  Employees need to believe their contributions are seen, valued, and make a difference.  Studies show employees want more coaching and feedback to satisfy those needs.  Too little of these and employees begin to doubt their contributions and disengage from their work.

The relationship between employees and their immediate manager is the top driver of employee engagement.  Managers who are skilled at giving regular coaching and feedback have higher engagement scores.  What do these managers do differently?

  • They listen. A 2015 study by Aon Hewitt showed that managers build engagement simply by becoming better listeners.
  • They ask questions. Employees feel they are valued when their manager asks for their thoughts rather than tell them what to do.
  • They create mutual agreed action plans. Research shows engagement and productivity increase when employees have a say.
  • They follow up, regularly. Continuous feedback keeps people confident and on track.

In other words these managers coach.  Coaching creates focus, which satisfies the need to believe in one’s contributions, which we call faith, which drives engagement, which we call fire.

Studies show engagement scores often improve simply by changing the manager!  But getting lucky doesn’t create a culture of continuous coaching and feedback.  Teaching managers how to be coaches will.


Kevin Ennis is a versatile learning and development/organization effectiveness professional with over 25 years experience working in the US and internationally. He has held leadership positions in the US Navy and with private sector firms in marketing services, health care, and hospitality. Kevin is a retired US Navy officer. His tours included Training Officer for US Navy Forces Japan in Yokosuka Japan and Commanding Officer Fleet Training Group, St. Paul MN. You can connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

Alan Fine


The Founder and President of InsideOut Development is Alan Fine – New York Times best-selling author, international performance expert, keynote speaker, and the co-creator of the widely recognized GROW Model. Considered the pioneer of the modern coaching movement, Alan has worked with many of the world’s elite athletes and respected organizations, including NASA, IBM, Gap, and Coca-Cola.


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