One of the easiest ways to improve your company’s performance is to increase the number of people that are engaged with the organization and are emotional and rationally committed to the vision, strategy, and the delivery of the results of that same organization. According to the AONHewitt definition, engaged employees want to:

  1. Stay (intent to stay with the organization)
  2. Say (speak highly of the organization to others) and
  3. Strive (make an discretionary effort to deliver results)

There is tons of evidence about how companies with more engage employees are able to outperform their competitors on:

  • Financial results
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Delivering better quality
  • Improved productivity
  • Lesser accidents
  • Innovation

The widely quoted MacLead Engagement study in the UK summarized all the evidence of the impact of employee engagement in the following infographic.

Employee Engagement

If despite the overwhelming evidence you still don’t believe in the relation between the engagement level of your employees and your company performance than I suggest you implement the following 5 steps:

1. Inspire employees through purpose
Alain de Vulpian in ‘Listening to Ordinary People’ stated back in 2004:

“The primary motive of the best talent is not to make money but to procure a life that they enjoy and which gives them a sense of meaning. And if there’s money in it as well, so much the better”

You have to develop, even better, co-create and communicate a vision that excites people and gives them a sense of purpose and meaning.

2. Align employees behind your strategy
Having meaning and feeling good about being part of an organization that has a purpose doesn’t translate words into action. To deliver results you have to work together with your team on how you will achieve this vision and cascade your strategy to the lowest level of the organization. It must be done in a way where even the receptionist and the customer service representative understand and even better are able to explain how their role contributes to the company’s strategy and vision.

3. Develop line managers
Research has proven that line managers have the biggest impact on the engagement of their team members. As such your selection and appointment of the right line manager is crucial in your ability to engage your workforce. And don’t fall into ‘the-best-sales-representative-doesn’t-per-definition-makes-the-best-sales-manager’ trap

Before your appoint line managers they a look whether you think they already practice or believe in the following actions.

4. Be Fair
Being fair is not as easy as it sounds. Fairness mean different things for different people. However, fairness can be divided into:

  • fairness on procedures,
  • fairness in how you distribute resources, and
  • fairness in relations.

As a CEO it’s important to create an organization that is perceived as ‘fair’ since perceived unfairness is probably the fastest ‘engagement deflator.’

5. Role Model

One of my favorite quotes is

“We preach the gospel and if necessary use words”

– Francis of Assisi

It brings out the essence of leadership. People won’t follow you for what you say but for what you do. If you can’t role model the values of the company, can’t act to engage employees then my advice is don’t even bother to start the journey.

6. Measure And Set Engagement Goals
If you don’t set a goal and measure it you won’t make progress. So if you’re convinced and have taken some of the above steps, start measuring. Use the right survey to measure your current engagement level and know where your most engaged employees are and in which department, age bracket, level, function you have to focus on.

Bring engagement to life in your company. Set targets and make line managers responsible and hold them accountable to deliver engagement scores. Make sure that line managers discuss employee engagement at weekly meetings and in one-on-one meetings with employees to weave engagement into daily fabric of the organization.