Disengagement, Retention, and Productivity

or...getting people to want to show up.

Hello again!

It’s no surprise that the Post-COVID world of back-to-back virtual meetings has once again raised the issue of employee disengagement. PI’s 2019 CEO Benchmarking Report found that “Strategy development and talent strategy are CEO top priorities” and “Four of the top five biggest CEO challenges relate to talent optimization”.

CEOs’ fixation on optimizing their talent makes sense—not just on an emotional level, but also on a financial level. In fact, if left unchecked, by 2030, the talent shortage could result in about $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues (Korn Ferry). So there’s the ubiquitous reality that “our people are our most valuable asset,” and here’s another truism: 

People are most companies’ biggest expense.

For 63 percent of companies, employee-related costs constitute at least half of their overall costs. On average, employee-related costs make up 55 percent of total company costs. 

Since it’s my mission to help the best organizations in the world win by developing Leaders at all Levels using Data-driven Strategy to destroy the Forces of Disengagement, I figured I’d do a post about Engagement Factors, or…the things that make people want to show up (Credit to Predictive Index for compiling this list).


  1. Job Fit - “In order to feel aligned with their job, it helps when people are excited about the work they do every day. It starts with making sure the work they do is a good use of their talents, skills, and abilities. Employees need the correct resources, such as team members, tools, technology, and appropriate information in order to do their work at a high level. The day-to-day skills and experiences should align with their future career goals, and they should be appropriately recognized when they have done well.” It’s silly to expect people to meet standards that were never communicated to them.

  2. Manager Alignment - “Managers play a critical role in setting the stage for team dynamics, employee development, and supporting leaders’ efforts in creating a solid organizational culture. Employees need to believe above all that their manager works and manages with integrity, and that their manager has their back. Examples of this include a manager being supportive in times of change, showing interest in and care for their employees beyond the working relationship, and helping bring the best out of their team members. Managers will be most effective with their teams if they can ensure their team members are set up for success by resolving any issues that come up, communicating performance expectations, and serving as a communication channel from the senior leadership team to the manager’s team.” It’s hypocritical to behave in ways you yourself are not willing to.

  3. Interactions with People at Work - “Rarely do employees work solely on their own, and the team dynamic is an important element in a person’s ability to get their work done. In order to create an environment that fosters maximum productivity, employees need to feel that they are respected by and that they can trust the people they work with. They and their team members should be aligned on what each person is accountable for on the team, as well as the role each team member plays on the team. It also helps when everyone on the team is committed to delivering the same high quality of work. This concept of people and team refers to both the employee’s immediate team of colleagues and other people in the organization outside of their team that they work with frequently.” People work better when they like the people they work with.

  4. Organizational Culture - “A manager has the greatest span of control to take action on issues that arise with their team member’s job, team dynamics, and the relationship with the managers themselves. The ability for that action to stick depends on some cultural foundations that are established at the organization level by senior leaders. Employees need to believe they are playing for a winning team; they need their senior leaders to share a vision of the future that is motivating and that shows them a long-term future with the organization. A culture of open, honest communication is necessary to an employee’s confidence in their leaders and in the organization; that communication needs to be two-way. Senior leaders need to be open about messaging, but they also need to be receptive to feedback from lower levels in the organization. Setting the appropriate culture in an organization is vital to setting up employees for success, and for ensuring any action managers may take has the opportunity to stick.” Leadership is a Privilege. The current team culture may not be your fault, but it IS your responsibility.


A study by Glint showed that, over the course of a year, the regrettable attrition rate (think, people you don’t want to lose) is 12 times higher among disengaged employees than highly engaged employees. Countless studies have shown the value of employee engagement and its ability to impact employee retention.

It has been estimated that it can cost up to 150% of a mid-level employee’s annual salary to replace them after they leave the organization.

Disengaged employees who don’t leave an organization can hurt in their own ways as well. McLean & Company used people metrics to understand how much impact disengaged employees had on an organization. They found that disengaged employees who continue to work for their organization cost that organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.


Best Buy analyzed their people data and discovered that a minuscule increase in engagement pays off significantly. The company found that a 0.1% rise in employee engagement results in an increase of over $100,000 in the store’s annual income.

Engagement is a key component in an employee’s productivity at work which has a direct relationship with an organization’s bottom line. Numerous Gallup studies have shown links to a wide variety of business results. Work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity.


We just launched the very first Leaping Koi Virtual Certification for Coaches under a license from the International Association of Coaching (IAC). It’s a really exciting project for me since I’ve been training managers on how to coach for about a decade, and now I get to train other coaches. Learn more here if you’re interested.

ALSO…I’ve been asked to lead a roundtable discussion at the upcoming World Business Executive Coach Summit (WBECS) and you’re invited! (Sign up here if you haven’t yet reserved a spot.)

I’ll share more information on the next post, as well as potential topics to get your feedback on.

And as usual, I come bearing gifts:

  1. Want to be a better coach for your employees/clients/customers? Learn from former ICF president Marcia Reynolds on creating breakthrough moments in coaching - for FREE. Access Here.

  2. Want to raise awareness on topics like diversity & inclusion? Determine your own biases with the Harvard Implicit Bias Test.

  3. Want to finally cross-off those elusive goals from your To-Do list? Here’s a research-backed goal-setting hack that actually works (Warning: It’s hard).

In addition, I’m offering a FREE 15-minute Virtual Assessment on ONE of the following:

  • What is My Company Culture?

  • What is the Cost of Disengagement in My Organization?

  • What is the Level of My Employees’ Engagement?

  • Is My Team Optimized?

  • Is My Team Healthy?

Consultation includes a short assessment and simple action steps. There is no obligation to purchase any consulting afterward. Simply email me at david@leapingkoi.com with one of the above topics to schedule a time.

Be well!

David Davila | www.leapingkoi.com