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70% of Your Frontline’s Engagement is Determined by Your Frontline Leaders

Oct 14, 2021 9:38:57 AM

According to Gallup, 70% of the variance in employees’ engagement is determined solely by their direct leader.  And, given the financial benefits of having an engaged workforce, such as increased profitability, higher sales, lower turnover, etc., you would hope that frontline leaders would have their employees’ engagement level as a top priority.

Yet, according to a recent study by Dale Carnegie, just 26% of managers (i.e., frontline leaders) surveyed said that employee engagement is a very important part of what they think about, plan, and do every day.  Given that, it’s no wonder that less than one-third of employees surveyed by Gallup say they are engaged at work. 

Frontline Leader-Led Engagement: 3 Actions to Increase Frontline Engagement

Building trusting relationships and carrying out the practices that motivate employees to become engaged can only occur if frontline leaders shift their priorities and devote a greater portion of their time and attention to their people. Employee engagement should be that leader’s most important and principal responsibility. 

And, in our estimation, the following three sets of actions need to be consistently carried out to create a positive employee experience—an experience that causes employees to feel valued, connected, and engaged.


  • Foster an appreciative, inclusive environment where employees are genuinely cared for and respected for their unique strengths 
  • Recognize employees for their efforts and accomplishments 
  • Provide the tools and resources needed to be efficient and effective


  • Reinforce the organization’s mission and values 
  • Communicate openly and frequently, keeping employees informed and inviting their feedback, opinions, and ideas
  • Facilitate team camaraderie and collaboration building activities


  • Set clear expectations for performance
  • Set goals that challenge employees and build on their strengths
  • Provide the freedom to perform with ongoing feedback and support 
  • Create opportunities for learning and growth 

With the labor market being tighter than it has been in generations, if not ever, ensuring that your frontline employees have a high engagement rate has never been more important.  They stay longer and they produce at a much higher level.  

And, the most effective way to impact that engagement level is through your frontline leaders, and their three key actions of Appreciating, Connecting and Coaching their teams.  

Talk It Over

  • Does the 26% number mentioned above seem low to you? 
  • What would your frontline leaders say - what percentage do you think would honestly say that their frontline employees’ engagement is a very important part of what they think about, plan, and do every day?  
  • What are some of the things you and your organization could do to make engagement a higher priority? 


Shawn Boyer

Written by Shawn Boyer

Shawn Boyer, Founder & CEO of goHappy.