5 steps to Improving Employee Engagement: Leadership, Employee Engagement & Coaching.

Kaidi Bowen – Skylite Executive ICF Career Coach

As I’ve studied employee surveys and results, it’s astounded me how many people would trade their next pay rise for their immediate line manager to be replaced. (Even for them to be sacked!)

Employee engagement is a topic I thought I’d never have to think much about. As a manager or leader it can be difficult to feel you can impact the results when so many areas are outside of your sphere of control.

It is for the people at the very top of big companies right? 

In any leadership role we have a fundamental responsibility to influence employee survey outcomes. It matters what our teams feel, what they are thinking, because wherever you work and whatever you do, each person can influence the engagement of the people around you. We all have a responsibility where we work.

It’s not just your chance to influence the hearts and minds of your team when it’s the survey time of the year. Their voice should echo your company’s mission and values without intervention. The survey is your opportunity to understand how you can make where you work better. It’s not just about briefing your team beforehand, about all the good things  that are happening either, it goes much deeper. 

Engaged employees are happier

There is a lower chance of them leaving their company. They are more satisfied with their jobs, and perform better.

The key to employee engagement for the leadership team is capturing the hearts and minds of the employees, so they are willing to offer more of their capability and potential. If, right now, the employees are doing that anyway because they are forced into it by staff shortages and increased workload, the workforce will inevitably become stressed or want to leave. This impacts businesses much more quickly, with loss of experience, increasing overall costs, making the company less profitable due to turnover costs and sickness absence.

If you manage anyone or lead a team, ask yourself, are you being the boss that people want to work for or more importantly are you being the person you want to be? You can really be the catalyst for change. Even if you are not a senior manager, as a member of a team, the way you interact will impact on people’s lives. Perhaps you could even be a better colleague to your peers, collaborating more.

Martin Luther King said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a moulder of consensus”. All of us can be leaders in our own way.

Real Leadership

Real leadership can be the catalyst for change in your team which then has a ripple effect. If you aren’t sure how to make a difference starting today, start with knowing yourself better, then you can better support those around you.

Here are 5 thoughts around improving engagement where you work:

Step 1

If you haven’t already, invest in a coach to help you discover your life purpose, your passion. Get to know your values and limiting beliefs. Once you understand yourself, you will be able to influence the lives of the people who work around you. Being the best version of yourself will uplift everyone.

Step 2

If you don’t do it already, learn to coach.

(ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires others to maximise their personal and professional potential – https://foundationoficf.org/)

If Managers are great at telling people what to do, then the job gets done. However, staff are often demotivated, undervalued and lack creativity and inspiration. By coaching, staff become empowered. You are enabling them to think for themselves, taking responsibility for their actions. Coaching builds confidence, making change easier to embed. When you coach others, you trust people to choose their own goals and people can surprise you. They will challenge themselves more than you would ask them to do. This is especially important, post Covid.

Step 3

Be the leader that leads by example. Once embedded, coaching will free up more time and it will prevent “Groundhog Day” conversations. Through coaching, you will learn to ask powerful questions, to elicit personal growth within your team. By doing this, you will be encouraging and developing them. You will be helping them experience the greatest motivators, which are shown on surveys to be above money. They are self-development and positive feedback “recognition”.

Step 4

Be flexible. Technology has changed the way we work. Mobiles and emails are with us 24/7. We often answer emails on our days off, make calls out of hours. I’ve even been skiing on the top of a freezing mountain where guys have stopped to take a business call! Is this you? This shift in work-life balance means, as leaders, we are all giving and asking more. But are we managing the effects of this in return? Little things like providing WIFI so people can manage their lives at work, access to healthy snacks, exercise facilities, use of office equipment to name a few. What could make a difference for your team?

Lastly, I want to leave you with this thought:

If we do nothing, everything doesn’t stay the same” 

It’s just another way of saying, people always need support and development, because the workplace is constantly changing, so we can’t just keep doing what we have always done.

Has this got you thinking What difference could you make today?

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