5 ways to boost employee engagement

Some of the businesses I am working with at the moment are very focussed on employee engagement. And rightly so, having a good employee engagement rating is critical to the vitality and strength of a business. 

While it’s insightful and extremely useful to undertake surveys to capture employee engagement and receive feedback on what’s working, what isn’t working, what’s more crucial is to actually take the necessary steps to endeavour to improve employee engagement; to increase staff job satisfaction, productivity, staff retention and a create a positive employee experience.  

Here are 6 ways leaders can boost employee engagement; 

  1. Be more vulnerable.
    When we are faced with someone who is brave enough to be vulnerable, it helps foster understanding and empathy. It breaks down the barriers to strengthen our bonds with others. Gone are the days when you had to hide your vulnerabilities as they were seen as weaknesses.

    We all seek to feel more connected, more heard, more understood; and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, allows for this connection. Being vulnerable means being relatable. Practice being more vulnerable and encourage your team to show you their vulnerabilities too. It will strengthen your relationships and create a more fulfilling work environment. In the words of author Brene Brown; “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
  2. Be a good listener. 
    People need to feel heard. If they do, they will feel valued. And when people feel valued they feel motivated and engaged.

    Ask yourself if you are really listening to your team? What are ways you can hear them more?

    For a start, acknowledging their feedback and suggestions when surveyed is important. Taking on board employee feedback is one thing but actioning it is another. Start to prioritise feedback and make actual changes to ensure people in your business feel heard and are taken seriously.

    Sometimes people need to feel heard simply to have their situation and feelings validated. A lot of managers I know are solutions oriented, so when someone in their team comes to them with a problem, instead of fully hearing them and validating them, they quickly shut them down, in an effort to step in and solve their problem straight away. But, in the extreme, this situation leaves the person feeling deflated, misunderstood and disempowered. Sometimes, someone just needs to vent, to feel heard, to feel the need to communicate their efforts and experience to their manager so they are understood and appreciated.

    The key here is talk less and listen more to really hear what is being said. 
  3. Be available. 
    A good leader should be available to their team when they are needed. Embrace a metaphorical ‘open door policy’ with your team and make sure they always feel they can talk to you if needed. If you have a remote or hybrid work model this is even more important. Human beings have a need to feel a sense of belonging in order to feel satisfied and engaged.

    So having regular scheduled catch ups and being available on the phone or through Teams is also really important. We need to find ways to make up for the lost capacity tap someone on the shoulder at the office or running into them in the kitchen making a cup of coffee. Look for ways to increase connection in order to improve engagement.
  4. Be a believer. 
    Have faith in your team and their abilities. People feel more engaged the more valued and trusted they feel. Give people more responsibility and autonomy to do their jobs without you constantly checking in. Give them the opportunity to allow you to build faith in their capacity and abilities. For those of us who are self-professed ‘control freaks’ this can be hard to do. It’s tempting to check in, or take over, but part of being a good leader is helping people grow into their abilities and grow through trial and error. 

    By allowing people to make mistakes and do the job (even if it’s not the way you would do it) is all part of the process. Keep the dialogue open so you can give them feedback to allow them to learn and grow and adapt to get better. Find out what the individuals in your team are naturally good at and use their strengths to your advantage. Find out what they personally want to do more of and help them pursue it in order to keep them feeling like a valued part of the team. 
  5. Be a better you.
    Find ways to be a continuously better person. We are all a work in progress and we all need to take the time to self-reflect and do things to make ourselves the best version we can be. Be kind to yourself, by giving yourself grace and forgiveness for your own mistakes and flaws. Eat better, exercise more, be part of something – your family life, a community endeavour, continue to find joy in your life – these are all ways to make you a better person and keep evolving and growing. Good people make good leaders. 

If your leadership team could do with my help in 2024, please get in touch today, I’d love to hear from you.

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