Employee Engagement – Is it really an important topic for a Leader?
Employee Engagement as we all know is key to the success of any organisation as without an engaged workforce you do not have the key ingredient to drive a business forward. We need to guarantee all of our Leaders are focused on ensuring EVERY Employee feels valued, wanted, needed and respected and knows they play a key role in helping making their organisation a success – now more than ever. In SAP we take this very seriously by measuring our Employee Engagement annually along with our Leadership Trust score. Thereafter we support the growth of our Leaders with an extensive Leadership Training Programme designed around the different levels of Leadership.
In my view as a Leader, how to create or maintain an engaged workforce is not rocket science but instead something that can be broken down into basic actions for managers. The key however is making time for these actions continuously and keeping the focus on the engagement levels of your team at all times. Once you take your finger off the pulse my experience has been that you start to see the motivation and alignment between you and your team start to dip. This of course may only be slight to begin with, however without focus being returned to this key topic it could have a very negative impact on the team and the business results long term.
Arising from many discussions I have held with Leaders on the topic of Employee Engagement I have created a type of ‘cheat sheet’ for managers to highlight the key areas of focus as I see them:
- Protect their 1:1 meetings with you – Be it on the phone or in person, your team member needs to know that you are available to them to share information, support challenging topics, give advice and connect with them overall to find out what is happening in their world at regular intervals.
- Personal topics – Try and find topics which resonate with people, show an interest in their personal lives. It is important to engage with your team members on a common topic of interest. The topic may be work related or personal.
- Give autonomy – Be available to them in case advice or assistance is required but also give them the freedom to work on topics with full accountability. Don’t tell or instruct all the time, help them to figure out topics and think for themselves to aid learning.
- Listen to them – Truly distance yourself from all other distractions. Listen to what they are saying and fully engage yourself in your conversations with them.
- Follow through on actions – Prioritise returning to your team members with follow up on actions you gave commitments to. This I feel is a key ingredient to also building strong trust within your team.
- Be transparent and honest at all times!
- See potential in everyone – It is easy to identify the top talent in some teams, however never lose sight that everyone in the team has strengths and potential. It is your role as the Leader to help identify and grow the talent in everyone.
- Support through tough times – It is so important for all of us to know we have someone we can turn to in challenging times who will be there for us. Likewise in a work environment you need to feel you have that same element of trust and support from a Leader.
- Have fun – Encourage your team to get involved in volunteering or charity work together, arrange team lunches or for those of us in virtual teams arrange competitions on international sporting events as a way to connect everyone in a fun and interactive way!
A thought for us to consider as Leaders – What engages you in your place of work and drives you to your highest levels of success? Think about this when considering how best to engage your team and use this knowledge to help create that high performing organisation.
Remember: Employee Engagement is the key ingredient to the success of any organisation!
A quote from Richard Branson to leave you with “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
Moderator edit: also posted at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/employee-engagement-really-important-topic-leader-yvonne-mcardle