Updated: Apr 13
A leader's growth is a long-term journey that companies have to take to ensure their sustainability.
But, this journey will only be successful if it teaches leaders (such as managers) how to interact with employees, keep them engaged and make sure that they have everything they need to get the job done.
In a recent Forbes article by Nadine Hack, she points out that "Relational engagement leadership that encourages stronger interactions among a larger number of collaborative partners increases the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of your enterprise. Forward-thinking leaders understand this but often fail to execute required activities." She also adds that among the biggest issue is underestimating how much energy must be spent for individuals and teams to accept organizational change initiatives because adoption is iterative.
By gaining a better understanding of effective strategies to improve employee engagement, leaders will be able to outperform their competitors, increase organizational effectiveness, and improves business performance. Business leaders who implement strategies to improve employee engagement might realize increased organizational effectiveness and improved financial performance.
5 Tips To Increase Engagement
1. Provide Feedback
It is necessary to ensure consistent communication between employees and managers that typically connects both to a higher engagement, and is essential for professional growth, and most employees crave feedback. It can motivate staff to perform better and can be a tool for building and maintaining communication with team members.
Also, having a strong performance management program can assist in promoting and improving employee engagement, involving a continuous process in which managers and staff work together to plan, monitor, and review individual contributions to the company.
Additionally, go beyond 'Thank you for your work", and ensure that you:
Are clear about the values of the organization and where employees fit in to the big picture
Talk about the meaning of work and how their contributions matter to the organization's overall strategy
2. Empower your team
According to the Harvard Business Review, research has shown that “when employees feel empowered at work, it’s associated with stronger job performance, job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.” Moreover, it can instill greater trust in leadership, encourage employee motivation, lead to greater creativity, and improve employee retention, which ultimately results in a better result.
Meanwhile, this makes employees feel as though they are meaningfully contributing to the company’s success and improves their emotional well-being.
Ensure you are encouraging and keeping lines of communication open by:
Taking a moment to ask, and listen, to their point of view — what questions do they have?
Asking your team for feedback
Giving your team choices on how to do their job
3. Encourage innovation on your team
A 2007 study by Krueger & Killham found that 59% of engaged employees say that their job “brings out their most creative ideas,” compared to just 3% of employees who were disengaged. Furthermore, a 2015 report by Bailey, Madden, Alfes, and Fletcher consolidated the results of 214 academic studies, the combined findings of which revealed a significant link between engagement and innovative work behavior.
Innovation in the workplace is an important employee engagement strategy that not only helps organizations remain competitive, reduces costs, and creates value for customers but also leads to happier and more creative, and engaged workers.
Yet sometimes, being innovative is easier said than done. It can sometimes be frustrating for employees to experiment or meet new challenges when the workplace feels uncertain and deadlines are looming. Be sure to:
Give encouragements and reward to employees who try new approaches and take risks.
Ask what they can learn when things don't go as planned.
Talk about the future possibilities with your team and how they picture it.
4. Set your employees up for success
As the business landscape continues to change, many employees are taking on new challenges, but many may also feel left behind.
Leaders can help by setting a roadmap that will help them have a sense of their career trajectory within the organization. This will help them decide their area of interest, work for it, and gain success. Or, they might think another way and plan their future through employer changeups.
This can be done by ensuring:
Challenging opportunities for them to test new skills.
Support on their decisions about how they do their work.
Clear goals, plans, and milestones on projects that they understand and accept.
5. Treat Employees Fairly
This is a simple but the best strategy of all. When employees feel that they are observed on the basis of their effort and performance (not on factors outside the organization’s control), makes them feel rewarded.
The problem in playing favorites causes dissension among employees, invites poor morale, and makes it harder to keep or attract good talent. When you treat employees fairly, the focus in the office will shift away from grievances to how everyone can work together to achieve goals.
The key here is to get to know your employees, so you understand what they want and what motivates them.
Be sure your actions reflect your intentions and:
Equally, treat everyone with dignity and respect
Follow through on your promises and commitments
Seek out creative ways to celebrate accomplishments
5 Techniques To Increase Employee Engagement
Engagement isn’t magic—it’s a craft. It requires open communication, clearly articulated goals, and unambiguous expectations. Therefore, if you are wondering how you can improve employee engagement, building strong leadership skills will be key to success. Keith Ayers shares how leaders can support the achievement of your goals:
1. Building Trust
As trust is an essential ingredient in increasing engagement, leaders need to know first that it does not happen just because you are trustworthy. People do not know how trustworthy you are until you demonstrate it by using trust-building behaviors, and the most important of these behaviors is to trust others. Note that people build trust by trusting others. This requires a basic belief in people, a belief that people are essentially trustworthy.
The relationship between the employee and his/ her immediate manager is a critical factor in how engaged the employee will be. Because employees need feedback, they will need to know how they are performing, not just once a year at review time, and be able to discuss their needs for growth and development. This is a must-have skill for effective leaders; to give and receive feedback, and to coach and counsel employees in a way that increases engagement and commitment.
Whether employees feel like an insider or an outsider also impacts their level of engagement. Effective leaders know that everyone on their team has the strengths the team needs to be successful, and they know how to get the best out of each person regardless of their ethnic background, gender, age, or sexual orientation. They understand that people with different personal values can work together effectively when they commit to the same values about trustworthiness and standards of work performance.
Engaged employees feel aligned with their organizations' purpose, values, and vision. Their work is meaningful to them because their leader helps them see the connection between what they do and the success of the organization. The effective leader also understands that gaining their team's commitment to the organization's values increases the team's performance standards as well as their engagement.
5. Team Development
Effective leaders should understand the potential for significant increases in performance through high-performing teams. They need to make sure that all team members understand the strengths they and other team members bring to the team and work at developing a process that capitalizes on all of these strengths. This means that leaders should also focus is on developing the leadership potential of each team member, and ultimately implementing a shared leadership approach to continuously improving performance that is owned by the team.
Achieving leadership engagement starts with commitment. Every leader in the organization has an impact, both good or bad on the teams they lead, and this influences individual engagement. Factors such as the overall success of the business, an individual manager’s leadership style, and specific issues on a team can all affect the process of strengthening team collaboration and interactions.
In order to get every individual to contribute their best efforts, leaders must have the ability to recognize the factors that cause employees to participate and those that cause them to disengage. When you empower employees to step up, make their own decisions and pave their own path to success, you create a better workplace culture.