Employee Engagement: Is It Important For Leaders?

Yvonne McArdle

Employee engagement is key to the success of any organisation. Without an engaged workforce, you do not have the key ingredient to drive your business forward. Now more than ever, we need to guarantee that all business leaders are focused on ensuring that every employee feels valued, needed, and respected, and that everyone understands that they play a key role in helping making their organisation a success.

In my view as a leader, creating and maintaining an engaged workforce is not rocket science—in fact, it can be broken down into basic actions for managers. The key is making time for these actions while also keeping the focus on your team’s engagement level at all times. Once you take your finger off the pulse, you will likely start to see a dip in the motivation and alignment between you and your team. This decline may be slight at first. But if you do not address it early enough, it could have a very negative impact on your team and even your long-term business results.

Based on many discussions with leaders on the topic of employee engagement, I’ve created a “cheat sheet” for managers that highlights the key areas of focus as I see them:

  1. Protect their one-on-one meetings with you. Be it on the phone or in person, your team members need to know that you are available to share information, support challenging topics, give advice, and connect to find out what is happening in their world at regular intervals.
  1. Personal topics. Find topics that resonate with your employees and show an interest in their personal lives. It is important to engage with your team members on common topics of interest. The topic could be work-related or personal.
  1. Give autonomy. Be available to offer advice or assistance, but also give them the freedom to work on topics with full accountability. Don’t tell or instruct all the time; help them figure out topics and think for themselves to aid learning.
  1. Listen. Distance yourself from all other distractions. Listen to what your employees are saying and fully engage yourself in your conversations with them.
  1. Follow through on actions. Prioritise your team members by following up on actions you have committed to. This is key to building strong trust within your team.
  1. Be transparent and honest always.
  1. See potential in everyone. It is easy to identify the top talent in some teams, but never lose sight of the fact 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.
  1. Support through tough times. It is important for all of us to know that there is someone we can turn to in challenging times. Likewise, in a work environment, employees need to feel that they have that same element of trust and support from a leader.
  1. Have fun. Encourage your team to get involved in volunteering or charity work together. Schedule team lunches, or, for virtual teams, arrange competitions or sporting events to connect everyone in a fun and interactive way.

Here’s a thought for all leaders to consider: 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 create a high-performing organisation.

Remember: Employee engagement is the key ingredient to the success of any organisation!

I’ll leave you with this quote from Richard Branson: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

For more insight on employee engagement, see Five Powerful HR Resolutions To Implement In 2017.

Yvonne McArdle

About Yvonne McArdle

Yvonne McArdle, a seasoned all round HR professional with over 18 years’ experience in the field of HR spreading across recruitment, total rewards, employee relations, organizational design, and strategic HR business partner. Yvonne currently holds the role of HR Director with SAP Ireland where she has a strong passion for employee engagement and leadership development in the pursuit for company success and growth . As a working mother Yvonne strives for continuous learning and career development balanced with her home life.