Employee engagement is a major human capital management challenge for companies. Your company's leadership plays a critical role in helping set the tone for how employees approach their work, establish employment mindsets, and find satisfaction in their work. Can you create a culture of employee engagement from the top down? Absolutely you can, as long as executives and managers are mentored on how to strategically promote engagement. Consider these three ways that leaders can build employee engagement by modeling the right behavior.
Model What Engagement Looks Like
What does an engaged employee look like for your business? Surprisingly, this can vary between companies. It's important that expectations are defined and communicated. Once that's clear, your management should be taking active steps to represent that behavior. For example, is an engaged employee one who contributes new ideas, travels for business, or hits certain productivity metrics? If the focus is on sharing ideas, managers are ideally brainstorming at meetings and actively inviting others to take part.
However your company defines engagement, you should ensure that workers see that coming from the top down and reflected with integrity in the way that managers and executives behave. When leaders set the right tone, workers are more likely to follow. The way leaders approach their work life can change the energy of an entire company.
Keep a Pulse on Employee Engagement
Leaders need to make employee engagement an HCM priority. By establishing employee engagement as a critical KPI and measuring it on an ongoing basis, it demonstrates that you care. Improvements or declines over time–or in specific departments–can help you better understand where you need to focus.
How can leaders learn more? The first way is by explicitly communicating the importance of engagement in the workplace. The second can be by conducting periodic assessments of engagement levels through surveys, forums, and other platforms. Leaders should also consider talking to their teams and individual employees about engagement on an ongoing basis to show that it's a priority. Open lines of communication make it easier for your team to keep you informed when things aren't going well.
Proactively Manage for Engagement
How involved are your managers with employees? Does each employee have a clear understanding of the expectations for his or her performance? Do they have a clear picture of how they're performing day to day? An engaged manager takes the time to provide that level of clarity and create feedback loops that make it easy for employees to stay aligned with the company vision.
Managers should always be on the lookout for signs of disengagement, and actively addresses those signs before they become sweeping problems. By remaining involved with individual employees and teams, many of the problems of employee disengagement can be avoided and solved.
Employees who are disengaged can hurt your business in multiple ways. By working with your leaders to show what an engaged employee looks like and proactively addressing the issues that contribute to the problem, you can lay the foundation for a positive culture of engagement.