Successful employee engagement starts at the top—the very top. Once leaders acknowledge the importance of engagement as a return-on-capital calculation, they quickly need to recognize that company culture and engagement should be high on their priority list.
Organizations that delegate employee engagement to human resources often fail quickly and painfully. Instead, the effort should start with executive sponsorship and, even more important, real-time executive engagement.
Employees constantly look to leadership to lead by example, bring clarity and focus, and reinforce the company’s higher purpose.
Executives can demonstrate their own engagement by:
- Establishing recurring communications that share strategy and goals to keep employees focused on what’s important
- Encouraging middle management to focus on cultural norms and promoting autonomy, mastery, connections, and purpose throughout the workforce
- Having an open-door policy to discuss strategy, challenges, feedback, and ideas
- Actively posting on the corporate intranet, opening the door for discussion with and comments from staff
- Responding in real time to staff celebrations, posts, and questions
- Participating in the same initiatives the employee is expected to participate in, such as volunteer activities, picnics, etc.
The success of the leadership team hinges on leadership understanding of employee motivation, rewards, and needs as well as the science behind employee engagement and the barriers to improvement.
An engagement strategy with the potential to produce change and increase employee productivity is developed with leadership involvement and input. It addresses the needs of the leaders in the organization, including training and resources, along with the tools to collaborate, communicate, and connect.