Employee engagement doesn’t actually start with your employees. It starts with you, the leader—with the example you set, the culture you build, the commitment you make to inspiring your team members.
As an executive coach, I talk with leaders all the time about the efforts they can make—practical, real-world steps—to boost engagement. Here are a few of the practices I most highly recommend.
How Leaders Can Boost Engagement
Align the Workforce
The members of your team need to be working toward the same thing, headed in the same direction—but how can they do this if they don’t have any sense of where the company is headed, or what you’re all trying to achieve? As the leader, it falls to you to articulate a clear sense of mission—and to make plain how every project, every task, and every employee contributes to that mission.
Empower Your Managers
Those who are in direct managerial roles—interacting with employees daily—are the ones you need to invest in first. Develop their skills of engagement and empowerment. Provide them with direction in how they can listen, set clear expectations, and deliver feedback that is truly constructive. Make sure the managers are all on the same page about employee engagement.
You can’t afford to have employees disenfranchised because they think you’re playing favorites. In everything you do—from resource allocation to how you make sales—make sure you’re applying principles of fairness.
Don’t settle for employees who do a workmanlike job every day. Invest in promising talents, and encourage them in leadership development. Help them develop the skills of engaging and motivating other employees, and provide opportunities for them to prove themselves.
As the leader of your team, one of your most important responsibilities is measuring results—and that includes the results of engagement efforts. Use surveys and other employee feedback programs to benchmark your progress.
These are some pragmatic steps leaders can take as they look to do their part in enhancing employee engagement.