Running Your Business

3 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement With Better Leadership


  • Currently, only around one-third of the American workforce is actively engaged

  • Respect from leadership is the No. 1 reason employees give for being more engaged at work

  • Coaching from management is a primary method for increasing employee engagement

Posted by January 2, 2018

Recent surveys show that the effort to increase employee engagement is in full swing at most companies.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report indicates that around 33 percent of the nation’s workforce is actively engaged, which is an increase from previous years. Factors such as better compensation, more flexible work arrangements and a focus on leadership development are the driving forces behind greater employee engagement levels. In a candidate-driven market where it’s easy for talent to jump ship, organizations must understand the connection between good management and employee retention.

Increasing Employee Engagement

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released its 2017 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report, which gave a detailed look at what companies are doing to increase employee engagement. Many of the reasons that employees gave for being engaged and happy at work were related to their relationships with management. For example, 65 percent of respondents said respectful treatment of employees at all levels was important to them. Another 61 percent said they needed a level of trust between workers and senior management. Lastly, 50 percent of the surveyed employees reported that a positive relationship with their immediate supervisor was highly important.

In order to increase employee engagement, leadership must make an effort to improve upon their skills on a consistent basis. The following three strategies outline some of the methods that companies are taking to accomplish this worthwhile goal—and some you might consider implementing, as well:

1. Add Coaching as a Component to Leadership Development

A Quantum Workplace study indicated that 85 percent of disengaged employees felt their manager did not provide adequate coaching to help them be successful at work. The truth is, most managers are not well-trained in coaching techniques, but they can learn to be better coaches who encourage and support the goals of employees. Effective coaching empowers employees to take charge of their careers.

2. Create Meaningful Goals for Employees

When employees have a target to aim for, and feel supported by management, the sky’s the limit. To increase employee engagement, leaders need to connect performance to goal setting. This should follow the SMART path (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) but it should also honor the unique talents that each employee has.

TinyPulse explains that managers need to take the role of facilitators. For example, regularly meeting with employees to help them identify potential obstacles—and then pointing them in the right direction—can motivate them.

3. Be Transparent About Where the Company Is Heading

Most employees appreciate when they are respected enough to be informed about decisions that upper management is making, especially when the decisions impact them and their career outlook. Accordingly, employers should become more transparent when it comes to rolling out annual goals. When employees are given insight into certain benchmarks, they can more easily understand the role that they play in the organization, and ensure their yearly goals align with their professional objectives.

The effort to increase employee engagement is always worth the investment made by management. When workers experience demonstrations of the kind of support indicated above, they’re likely to feel more valued by (and invested in) the organization.

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