3 ways you can improve your employee engagement

When it comes to your employees, better engagement means better performance. But how do you actually improve engagement throughout your organisation? Kavita Singh spoke with Teams, Resourcing and D&I Hive expert Maria Cameron.

First things, first: what is employee engagement? 

Employee engagement is a workplace approach to give employee members the motivation to do their best everyday. This can be achieved through shared goals and values, an enhanced sense of belonging and through team bonding activities in the workplace. Here we share three tips on improving engagement.

1) Take on the role as a coach position

Many businesses will have annual surveys asking about employee satisfaction. Managers and leaders then use those forms to evaluate how they’re running their business. Maria says that while some good quality surveys might be helpful, a lot of them don’t address the behavioural elements that the leaders in the business are exhibiting. Change always starts from the top, especially in employee engagement.

Maria says: “For me, one of the most powerful ways to drive employee engagement is to take a leader coach position. We sometimes have this superhero complex where we think as leaders, need to provide all the answers when, in actuality, we need people to get more engaged.”

That means asking them the questions and allowing them the space and opportunity to come up with solutions themselves. As a leader, you should be assimilating all that information and simply setting the direction.

She continues: “One of the things I struggle with is that I’m a high energy person and always want to talk too much, rather than posing a question at a team meeting and letting others start the conversation and being comfortable with the silence. There needs to be that piece about drawing in that engagement and giving people permission to openly share their truth. Sometimes as a leader, we haven’t given people permission to share with us some kind of unsavoury ideas. Sometimes, they’ll just mirror what we want to hear, so you need to challenge them.”

This type of self-awareness will allow you to act as a coach rather than a director. You’ll need to ask people for opinions, get feedback consistently and develop a sense of self awareness of your own leadership style.

Maria recalls one of her old bosses who would come into the office with his coffee and go straight into his office. He would often tell people he was always too busy and under pressure to speak with them.

She says: “What he didn’t realise is that he was giving off that vibe. He was creating a ripple for people in the room. That’s what I mean about self-awareness.”