‘Engage Your Employees’ | Daily News
Winning Mindset for Leadership

‘Engage Your Employees’

You, as a leader, cannot achieve every goal on your own, no matter how talented, experienced, or qualified you are. You must obtain the support of your team. As a result, the performance of your team is critical to the outcome. Even if you are capable, if your team fails to perform, you will fail as a leader. Employee motivation and engagement are two of the many factors that influence employee performance. Even if you have exceptionally talented employees, if they are not sufficiently engaged, there will be performance issues. When it comes to employee performance, employee motivation and engagement are critical factors that will determine whether you are a great leader, a good leader, or a failed leader.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the strength of an employee's mental and emotional attachment to their workplace. In other words, employee engagement is the extent to which employees invest their cognitive (mental energy or working memory or brain space), emotional (how you feel about your work, team, and yourself), and behavioral energies (positive habits and actions) in the direction of positive organisational outcomes. Employee engagement is shown by employees who come to work with a sense of purpose, a deep commitment to the organisation, a commitment to doing a good job, a collaborative attitude, good communication with coworkers and leaders, and the ability to give and receive positive feedback.

When you analyze your employees, you will notice three types: "actively engaged," "not engaged," and "actively disengaged." Employees who are actively engaged are enthusiastic about their jobs and fully committed to the company's mission. Employees who fall in the middle in terms of levels of engagement are not engaged. At the same time, employees may be actively disengaged. Employees who are actively disengaged aren't just unhappy at work; they're also busy acting it out. Every day, these employees undermine the efforts of their engaged coworkers. They make no attempt to deliver. In my experience as a trainer and consultant, the majority of high-performing organisations have a good percentage of actively engaged employees. Most employees in organisations that do about average work are "not engaged," and only a few are "actively engaged."

Factors that affect employee engagement

Working as a trainer to engage employees with hundreds of organisations in diverse industries, both private and public, some of the factors that affect employee engagement, in my opinion, are clear communication from top leaders; managers' leadership styles; the level of strategic and operational planning; communication strategy and methods within the organisation; the organisation's values and culture; the work environment; and performance evaluation. Furthermore, the meaning and purpose of the job, the organisation's feedback system, coaching and training opportunities, career development opportunities, financial and other motivators available, the availability of infrastructure and tools, and motivation for teamwork all have an impact on employee engagement. Employee engagement is affected by more chances for employees to use their strengths, the availability of technology, the flexibility given to employees, and the chances for work-life balance, happiness, freedom, and fulfillment.

Role of the top-level leaders

When I meet with top-level leaders, I notice that they are extremely goal-oriented and focused on the bottom line, which is fantastic. However, I believe that in most cases, they are underestimating the importance of employee engagement in delivering business results, most likely because they are accustomed to getting the profit they desire and are unaware that having more engaged employees can improve profitability, customer satisfaction, and sustainability. As a result, the vast majority are unaware of the importance of having an employee engagement strategy. During executive coaching sessions, I usually ask CEOs if they tell their employees how the company is doing. Then one of the newly appointed CEOs told me that the company had been losing money for four years and that the previous CEO had not informed the employees. Then I asked the new CEO to do so, and what happened is that managers and employees felt the gravity of the situation, their engagement grew significantly, and their union stopped asking for pay raises. As a result, if you are a top-level leader, you must share your vision and set goals. You should do so in such a way that everyone in the company understands what you're saying. You should plan your strategic and operational initiatives with great care and practicality. As a top-level manager, you should create a desirable office or factory environment for your employees to work in. You should understand that the environment is extremely important. You should keep employees updated on the company's progress, both good and bad. Most importantly, you should foster a positive culture in the organisation based on performance. You should make coaching and training mandatory tools for employee development.

You should embody the company's values and set a good example for others. You should encourage middle-level managers to contribute ideas and innovations. You should always encourage a growth mindset. Others must be inspired by you, your words, and your actions. You should set a good example by walking the walk. You should implement policies to assist people in achieving work-life balance, happiness, fulfillment, and advancement. You should discuss the difficulties with your employees and solicit their assistance. You should always encourage collaboration and teamwork. To reward your employees' efforts, you should make the decision to generously share a portion of the profits with them. You should ensure that employees feel like they are part of their own organisation.

Role of middle-level leaders

When I meet with middle-level leaders and managers, they always blame poor results on the team. What I always emphasize to them is that it is not the fault of the employees but of the middle-level managers. I always motivate and coach middle-level managers to change their mindset, skill set, and behaviors so that they can become catalysts for increasing employee engagement. Therefore, one of the strategies and tools you can use to activate employee engagement as a middle-level leader is to get to know them individually, their strengths and weaknesses, and their preferences. Then you must give them specific objectives and reasons for doing so. You must explain the consequences of failure to them. You must inquire about their issues and provide solutions. You must also equip them with the tools they need to succeed and delegate sufficient authority to them. You must acknowledge them in public when they perform. You must follow up and provide feedback to them on a regular basis, and you should program their vibration to receive and provide feedback. You should encourage them to grow, promote teamwork, and provide employees with the space they require to thrive. Most importantly, you should allow them to share their valuable ideas and encourage them to provide you with feedback.

(The writer is an Expert Trainer and Coach on Mindset Mastery, Motivation, Management, Leadership, and Organisational Transformation. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Project Management Professional, a Management Consultant and a Senior Lecturer attached to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Moratuwa)

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