Leadership for Employee Engagement & Retention: What Kind of Leader Makes People Want to Stick Around?

Today we are excited to feature a guest article from keynote speaker Brian Carter:

If you haven’t heard, we’re in a war for talent.

And leadership could be making that better or worse for your organization.

Many organizations are desperate for new employees. Some have had to shut down locations because they can’t find the people they need.


  • The unemployment rate is 3.8% (and 3.7% is the lowest it’s ever been). Employees have the power, because of supply and demand. Organizations are demanding new employees but the supply is low because so many are already employed.
  • Some employees now believe they should change jobs every year to maximize career earnings, which puts even more pressure on employers, who can no longer assume that employees want to stay at the same company for 5 or 10 or more years.
  • Productivity and profits are higher if you can retain already trained, already functional employees.

All of this means that many in leadership and HR are thinking very hard about how they can keep more of the employees they already have.

Nobody wants to stay in a toxic, negative, unfair or unfriendly work culture.

And as we often hear, culture starts at the top.

We follow the lead of executives, managers and other leaders in more ways than one. We not only take direction and assignment from leaders, but we also may unconsciously adopt their mindsets, beliefs and attitudes.

Leaders drive work culture…

And work culture is the foundation of teamwork…

And teamwork quality is the #1 factor in productivity and job satisfaction.

So, what kind of leadership gets employees engaged and makes them want to stick around?

And what kind of leadership chases them off?

First, consider these facts:

Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year (source). 81% of employees reporting to recently trained managers said they were more engaged in their jobs (source).

Whether managers learn something new, or they just begin to focus more on management again, training has a positive effect on employee engagement. Employee engagement is critical because disengaged employees cost your company money.

Engaged employees boost your organizational productivity and revenue.

83% of organizations say it is important to develop leaders at all levels (source). But only 9% of employees said leadership is very committed to improving company culture and employee experience (source).

You’ve heard of all the companies and industries that have been disrupted by technological, economic and social changes, right? Yellow cab (Uber & Lyft), Blockbuster (Netflix), and Borders (Amazon) are just a few decimated by their own complacency.

We can give lip-service to training and development, but unless we invest time and money where our mouth is, we may end up getting disrupted by more competitive companies.

63% of younger employees said their leadership skills were not being fully developed (source). 68% of employees would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel supported by more senior employees (source). More than 80% of employees would quit their jobs for better development opportunities (source).

If you want to keep employees, you need to have an active training, development and mentorship program.

Everyone needs to be mentoring someone at something. Everyone has something valuable to teach. Perhaps the person who’s been on the job a week is the only one who isn’t mentoring someone yet. Employees feel more valued when they’re being developed and more confident and engaged when developing others.

The Harvard Business Review found in a study of 51,000 leaders that almost no unliked leaders were able to be effective leaders (source).

As leaders, we can’t always be liked. Sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions.

But the most effective leaders have the ability to be likable and charismatic. They build bridges and relationships that solidify cultures. And believe it or not, likability and charisma are learnable skills!

71% of organizations do not feel their leaders are able to lead their organization into the future (source). 77% of organizations report they’re currently experiencing a leadership gap (source). 89% of executives surveyed believe strengthening organizational leadership is a top priority (source).

Leadership isn’t natural for most of us. We have to focus on it, study, learn and develop it in ourselves and others. And as the stats and our intuition tell us, it’s an issue everywhere.

How much better could our organizations and lives be if we all could improve our leadership abilities?

We all know it’s important and we need to work on it.

So let’s get to work!

Brian Carter is an entertaining keynote speaker, a consultant and a bestselling author with 20 years of business experience. He’s worked with all kinds and sizes of organizations including Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Salesforce and NBC, and is frequently mentioned in media like Bloomberg TV, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine, to name a few. 

“I’m so glad you were our keynote. You were the perfect choice.”


“Phenomenal speaker. Personable, informative and downright entertaining. I’d hire him back in a second.”


Why Choose Keynote Speaker Brian Carter?

When you hire the right speaker, your audience leaves energized, entertained, educated and alive with possibilities.

Brian has worked with some of the most successful organizations in the world. He has more than 20 years experience recruiting, managing and retaining people and has conducted programs for market-leading companies and organizations including Salesforce, Microsoft, NBC, and JP Morgan.

Brian has more than 250,000 fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. He’s taught more than 50,000 students and reaches over 3 million people per year. Brian’s hands-on business experience, cutting edge insights, and background in improv and stand up comedy culminate in a keynote speaker and trainer who leaves every audience not just entertained, but armed with powerful strategies and tactics. 

Brian understands that you know more about your challenges, successes, and people than anyone else. He will work with you to customize the program(s) for maximum impact.

For more information, go to KeynoteSpeakerBrian.com or call 512-986-2868