The engagement debate: Why leaders need to invest

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How can you be more engaging as a leader?
How can you be more engaging as a leader?

We know the business world is rife with buzzwords and not all of them have the magic effect they often claim. But every once in a while a concept comes along with truly transformative powers and it changes the way we look at our organisations.

Employee engagement is one of those things.

When you think about why, it's not surprising. A team of engaged employees are invested, motivated and passionate. They are the kinds of staff members you can rely on to produce good work and positive team contributions.

So it's concerning then that a 2017 study by Aon Hewitt found that less than 25 per cent of employees across the world consider themselves highly engaged.

Why should leaders care? And what can they do to improve? Let's explore.

Employee engagement drives business success

If you care about your business succeeding, you should care about whether your employees are engaged. If they've lost their passion for their positions, chances are they're not only unhappy but unmotivated. It's no wonder that when companies have engaged employees they perform better across the board.

According to Gallup research, companies with top quartile levels of employee engagement performed 22 per cent better in terms of profitability compared to companies in the bottom quartile. These engaged teams also had 21 per cent higher productivity, 10 per cent higher customer ratings and lower employee turnover rates than companies with low levels of employee engagement.

Investing in engaging your team means investing in business success. So where should leaders start?

Take the time to understand your team

You can't engage your team without knowing what they need first. Leaders need to take the time to understand what engagement looks like to different members of their staff. Are they keen on having more involvement in decision making? Would they find it engaging to learn more about other departments? Has a particular project caught their eye? Whatever it is, talking to your team will help you better understand.

Show your team their value

The Aon Hewitt study found that rewards and recognition have the most potential to improve engagement internally. When your team feels valued, they become more motivated to work at their full capacity. And it doesn't have to be a grand investment, something as simple as recognising a job well done shows your team their value and can have a major impact. 

Offer learning opportunities

Have you ever heard of someone being engaged without new learning opportunities? We haven't either. Creating professional development opportunities and career paths that account for your individual team member's interests and strengths is a surefire way to engage them in their position. Added bonus: You'll have a staff full of professionals that are constantly upskilling.

Where does Herrmann come in?

The better you understand your team, the better equipped you are to engage them. To learn more about how to leverage Whole Brain® Thinking to create effective strategies for engagement, check out our Whole Brain® Business Book. Register here to read the first two chapters for free.