Leaders Impact Employee Engagement
Leaders impact employee engagement because they impact the work environment in a number of ways. Their actions can energize employees and enhance their engagement.
Examples of ways leaders impact employee engagement
- Leaders can promote engagement by frequently talking about the Purpose of the organization and the contribution that employees are making to society through their work. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of work enhances employee engagement. Additionally, employees must see how they individually–in their jobs–impact that Purpose. Talking about the importance of each person in supporting the Purpose of the organization nurtures engagement.
Trust and Competence
- Leaders must also build energy and excitement about a compelling vision for the organization–a big goal that all in the organization seek. The vision must be more than a description–it must be a picture that clearly includes a quantifiable result. When employees have a goal that they all share, they will be more energized about work and directed at a future that is positive for the organization and its employees. Employees are more engaged if they have confidence in the leadership and their ability to guide the organization to be successful. Having pride in the organization and feeling good about the future impacts employee engagement because the future of the organization is also the future of each person who works there.
Honesty, Integrity and Competence
- Leaders can also promote employee engagement by demonstrating honesty and integrity. Employees will be concerned about the future of the organization and will feel diminished status if the leaders of their organization are not trustworthy. Dishonest behavior or lack of integrity in one’s leaders diminishes confidence in the competence of leadership which can damage engagement.
- Fairness is a key driver of engagement. A workplace where leaders and managers are fair is a workplace that supports employee engagement. Fairness is a foundation for building trust, and the lack of fairness feels threatening. Fairness relates to many circumstances such as fairness in decision-making processes, fairness in decision outcomes, fairness in compensation and rewards, fairness in procedures, fairness is interactions, and fairness in the distribution of resources. Using one’s power in a fair way nurtures employee engagement.
Resources and Support
- Having resources and support are key drivers of engagement. Leaders can drive engagement by ensuring that employees have the resources they need to do their jobs well. Resources include a number of things such as materials, tools, equipment, software, access to information, feedback, development, and support. Specifically, opportunities for development through training, coaching, feedback, and stretch tasks build an employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities and can promote achievement and increase engagement.
Job Fit and Communication
- Ensuring job fit is a driver of employee engagement. Fit is achieved through proper selection and effective communication practices. Leaders should be vigilant about having employees selected for jobs that will be a fit with their skills, interests, and abilities. This harmony is critical to employee engagement. Additionally, leaders must also ensure that employees understand the requirements of their jobs, having clarity on roles, goals, and expectations. Hiring for fit and clearly communicating role expectations drive engagement.
- Leaders can also promote engagement by having workplaces where employees participate in designing how they do their work. By supporting flexible work practices that will bring out the best in each employee, leaders can help employees work and live a balanced life where they feel more in control and experience less stress. Additionally, increasing employees’ participation in decision making that impacts their work supports engagement.
- A caring workplace is one where leaders genuinely care about employees, managers and supervisors care about workers, and workers have friends at work. People are social beings. Human connection is a basic need; therefore, relationships matter. Because people spend so much of their time at work, an environment of understanding, caring, and community can nurture positive relationships. When leaders support this social aspect of work, they build a workplace where employees are engaged.
Leadership has a significant impact on employee engagement. By working to create a culture of engagement, leaders are nurturing the best in each employee and the health of the organization.