100 Leadership Quotes About Employee Engagement

Explore employee engagement with a curated selection of thought-provoking quotes. These quotes, from renowned leaders, authors, and thinkers, provide perspectives on how to cultivate a workforce that is maximally motivated, fulfilled, and productive.

Leadership and Inspiration

  1. “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” – Howard Schultz, Founder and CEO of Starbuks
  2. “Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angela Ahrendts, Former Senior Vice President of Apple
  3. “You manage things; you lead people.” – Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
  4. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States
  5. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” – Max DePree, Business Leader and Writer
  6. “Leaders engage their teams by giving them a sense of purpose, providing them opportunities to develop and advance, and putting them into positions where they can be successful.” – Gordon Tredgold, Leadership Consultant
  7. “Behind every great leader, at the base of every great tale of success, you will find an indispensable circle of trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues.” – Anonymous
  8. “If a man is to shed the light of the sun upon other men, he must first of all have it within himself.” – Romain Rolland, French Dramatist, Novelist and Essayist
  9. “Give them a vision, not the task, and the job will be done very effectively.” – Anonymous
  10. “You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling: not why it’s important in general, but why you’re doing something important that no one else is going to get done.” – Peter Thiel, Entrepreneur and Investor
  11. “If you fulfill the wishes of your employees, the employees will fulfill your visions.” – Amit Kalantri, Author and Magician
  12. “It all came down to employee engagement. It all came down to recognition. It all came down to leadership, which led every sailor feeling ownership and accountability for the results. You can ask a team to accomplish a mission but can’t order excellence.” – Mike Abrashoff, Former Commander, USS Benfold
  13. “Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity, and meaning in their job.” – Ken Blanchard, Management Expert
  14. “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” – John Wooden, Basketball Coach
  15. “When leaders throughout an organization take an active, genuine interest in the people they manage, when they invest real time to understand employees at a fundamental level, they create a climate for greater morale, loyalty, and yes, growth.” – Patrick Lencioni, Business Author
  16. “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell Soup Company

Employee Value and Recognition

  1. “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne Mulcahy, Former CEO of Xerox
  2. “Your number one customers are your people. Look after employees first and then customers last.” – Ian Hutchinson, Author
  3. “Employees engage with employers and brands when they’re treated as humans worthy of respect.” – Meghan M. Biro, Founder of TalentCulture
  4. “Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.” – Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart
  5. “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.” – Carl Jung, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst
  6. “By appreciation we make excellence in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher
  7. “Take time to appreciate employees and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.” – Lee Iacocca, Former CEO of Chrysler
  8. “Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.” – Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
  9. “Culture is about performance, and making people feel good about how they contribute to the whole.” – Tracy Streckenbach, Operating Partner at Gridiron Capital
  10. “The greatest asset of a company is its people.” – Jorge Paulo Lemann, Businessman
  11. “It’s about getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment and helping to find a way to innovate.” – Marissa Mayer, Former CEO of Yahoo!
  12. “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on life.” – Zig Ziglar
  13. “Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone…” – G. B. Stern, Author
  14. “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.” – Charles Schwab, Steel Magnate
  15. “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey, Author and Educator
  16. “Employees who believe that engagement is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne Mulcahy, Former CEO of Xerox
  17. “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel.” – Sybil Stershic, Marketing and Organizational Advisor
  18. “Everybody is looking for validation, no matter who you are, and I think that’s a need of the human condition – to look for affection or recognition or validation.” – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Filmmaker
  19. “In order to build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters to your people.” – Julie Bevacqua, President of Rise People
  20. “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.” – Simon Sinek, Author and Motivational Speaker
  21. “Take time to appreciate employees and they will reciprocate in a thousand ways.” – Bob Nelson, Motivation Expert

Engagement and Motivation

  1. “We think it’s important for employees to have fun… it drives employee engagement.” – Tony Hsieh, Founder of Zappos
  2. “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek, Author of “Start With Why”
  3. “Employee Engagement is about the willingness of people to be responsible for more than their own job. People who are engaged go the extra mile.” – David Ducheyne, HR Leader
  4. “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” – Anonymous
  5. “You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartaches for other folks, you are a pretty rich man.” – Seth Parker, Radio Character Created by Phillips Lord
  6. “Employee engagement is often misunderstood to mean happiness or contentment but it really boils down to something more complex that all employees, managers and the c-suite care about.” – Amber Lloyd, HR Professional
  7. “Employee engagement is all about maximizing employee productivity by creating the right conditions to motivate employees to contribute their maximum effort, skills, and knowledge.” – Guy Ellis, HR Leader
  8. “Engagement occurs when workers trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to the organization – the same way they did their first day on the job.” – Jill Christensen, Employee Engagement Expert
  9. “Motivating employees to work at their full potential is the main premise of successful management.” – Eraldo Banovac, Engineer and Author
  10. “Engaged employees are in the game for the sake of the game; they believe in the cause of the organization.” – Paul Marciano, Author and Engagement Expert
  11. “Employee engagement is the extent to which your employees feel connected to and motivated by the work that they do.” – Janine N. Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations
  12. “To build a culture of engagement it is important to incorporate training on intrinsic motivation and employee engagement into management development programs.” – Kenneth Thomas, Author and Motivation Expert
  13. “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” – Kevin Kruse, Leadership Author
  14. “…You have to want to be engaged. There has to be deep-seated desire in your heart and mind to participate, to be involved, and to make a difference. If the desire isn’t there, no person or book can plant it within you.” – Tim Clark, Business Writer
  15. “Throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could be yours.” – Dale Carnegie, Writer and Lecturer
  16. “Employee engagement is the art and science of engaging people in authentic and recognized connections to strategy, roles, performance, organization, community, relationship, customers, development, energy, and happiness to leverage, sustain, and transform work into results.” – David Zinger, Employee Engagement Expert
  17. “Employee engagement is an investment we make for the privilege of staying in business.” – Ian Hutchinson, Employee Engagement Expert
  18. “Paychecks can’t buy passion.” – Brad Federman, Author and Business Consultant
  19. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Inc.

Empowerment and Autonomy

  1. “The real damper on employee engagement is the soggy, cold blanket of centralized authority. In most companies, power cascades downwards from the CEO. Not only are employees disenfranchised from most policy decisions, they lack even the power to rebel against egocentric and tyrannical supervisors.” – Gary Hamel, Management Expert
  2. “To paraphrase Einstein, insanity is expecting employees to do one thing while rewarding them for doing something else.” – Robert G. Thompson, Author and Business Consultant
  3. “The key element of engagement is trust; building trust requires companies to provide workers with as much autonomy and flexibility as possible.” – Matt Charney, HR and Recruiting Leader
  4. “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” – Anonymous
  5. “Everyone enjoys doing the kind of work for which he is best suited.” – Napoleon Hill, Self-Help Author
  6. “Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer.” – Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author
  7. “Your job is to discover your work and then give it to yourself wholeheartedly.” – Anonymous
  8. “People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.” – Pamela Stroko, HR and Talent Development Expert
  9. “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” – Buddha, Spiritual Leader
  10. “The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” – Tom Peters, Management Expert

Organizational Impact and Success

  1. “Take our 20 best people away, and I will tell you that Microsoft will become an unimportant company.” – Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft
  2. “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.” – Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric
  3. “Turned-on people figure out how to beat the competition. Turned-off people only complain about being beaten by the competition.” – Ben Simonton, Leadership Coach and Author
  4. “The people closest to me determine my level of success or failure. The better they are, the better I am. And if I want to go to the highest level, I can do it only with the help of other people. We have to take each other higher.” – John C. Maxwell, Leadership Expert
  5. “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” – Stephen Covey, Author and Speaker
  6. “Customers do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers.” – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
  7. “Some companies don’t have an engagement problem, they have a hiring problem.” – Bob Kelleher, Employee Engagement Expert
  8. “In the current volatile and uncertain environment, engaged employees are an essential component not just for success, but perhaps for survival.” – Nigel Paine, Learning and Development Expert
  9. “Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.” – Francis Hesselbein, Leadership Expert
  10. “Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” – Zig Ziglar, Author and Salesman
  11. “Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee feels that they are truly part of a company, have a voice in its decisions and feels respected.” – Darryl Dioso, HR Specialist
  12. “Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” – Timothy R. Clark, Leadership Expert
  13. “Realize that employees and the customers both have to be engaged, at the same time, to move your business forward for sustainable success.” – Robert G. Thompson
  14. “Explore this next great frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one, where doing good really is good for business.” – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

Workplace Environment and Culture

  1. “Environments that support their employees in the right way will naturally foster employee engagement.” – Aaron Tucker, HR Expert
  2. “It’s sad, really, how a negative workplace can impact our lives and the way we feel about ourselves. The situation is reaching pandemic heights – most people go to work at jobs they dislike, supervised by people who don’t care about them, and directed by senior leaders who are often clueless about where to take the company.” – Leigh Branham and Mark Hirschfeld, Authors
  3. “Business and human endeavors are systems… We tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system. And wonder why our deepest problems never get solved.” – Peter Senge, Systems Scientist
  4. “A group of people get together and exist as an institution we call a company so they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately – they make a contribution to society, a phrase which sounds trite but is fundamental.” – David Packard, Co-Founder of Hewlett-Packard
  5. “When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” – Betty Bender, Author
  6. “Don’t build a company, build a family.” – Anonymous
  7. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle, Philosopher
  8. “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

Altruism and Giving Back

  1. “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou, Poet and Civil Rights Activist
  2. “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran, Poet and Philosopher
  3. “All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.” – James Russell Lowell, Poet and Critic
  4. “Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim.” – William Feather, Author and Publisher
  5. “There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life — reciprocity.” – Confucius, Philosopher
  6. “Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.” – Anonymous
  7. “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Seneca, Philosopher and Statesman
  8. “We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick, Writer and Critic
  9. “There is no failure except failure to serve one’s purpose.” – Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company
  10. “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” – Tom Brokaw, Journalist and Author
  11. “Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a labor of love.” – Steve Pavlina, Author and Entrepreneur
  12. “Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.” – Anonymous
  13. “What we have done for ourselves alone, dies with us; what we have done for others and the world, remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike, Attorney and Author
  14. “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” – Anonymous

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