The concept of understanding that employee engagement is the key to drive productivity, reduce employee turnover and boost innovation is arguably one of the critical challenges most organizations face today.

A study conducted by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training explored key drivers of employee engagement out of which they found out that only 29% of employees are fully engaged while 26% employees remain disengaged. In addition, the study discovered that there are three key drivers that affect employee engagement amidst other factors.

1. Relationship with Supervisor/Manager:

As you might be familiar with the statement, ‘People don’t leave jobs, they leave their managers’. And, it is indeed a true saying. Something I can relate to myself. People grow wiser as their working years roll by. The study revealed that a “caring” manager is one of the key elements that drive employee engagement. Employees want a manager who will nurture a good relationship, get to know them, care about their personal lives and support their health and well-being. If a manager can build strong relationships with employees, create the right foundation for dedicated team interaction and lead in a human-centric manner – it creates an engaging environment where employees feel special and can perform at the highest level possible.

2. Belief in Leadership

Practice what you preach: Leaders set the tone and define goals for the organization. These behaviors and goals need to be clearly defined, realistic for employees to achieve and communicated throughout the organization. This will create a sense of shared sense of responsibility for the organization’s success.

Value who work by you and work for you: If you cannot appreciate what your employees do for you, and value their work for the organization, it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a leader. According to the Dale Carnegie India Employee Engagement Study 2014, feeling valued is one of the top emotional attributes of engagement.

Show sincere interest in others: According to the study, only 45% Indian employees were satisfied with their immediate supervisor, out of which 12% of the respondents were extremely happy with this relationship. Although most respondents said their immediate supervisor treats them with substantial respect, they still felt like he or she doesn’t really care about their personal life. It’s difficult to influence your employees effectively if you don’t focus on building meaningful relationships with them.

Take accountability when it’s truly needed: A true leader’s strength of character is demonstrated by being able to admit their own mistakes. People are inclined to respect and trust you more if you take ownership for wrong-doings from your part. Your employees will find it difficult to trust or respect you if you shy away from taking responsibility, make excuses or blame someone else for your mistakes.

Engage in a continuous quest for knowledge: The greatest leaders are those that never stop learning and take advice as and when it is required. Knowledge translates into power in order to transform your organization into a success story. It gives you the power to be more impactful and expand knowledge to adapt to every internal or external situation.

Listen to your employees: A great leader is required to put this at the top of his/her list and acknowledge that it’s a skill that’s important in his/her role. They focus on motivating and inspiring others by listening to their employees at individual meetings or at a group level. Your employees may have the ability to understand parts of your business that you never spend time on, understand its shortcomings and how it would impact the business. And, the worst thing you can do is to ask for input from your employees but ignore it. As much as it’s important to understand your own intellect, it’s also important to recognize that your employees are equally smart and might have something to say – something that can be a valuable addition to the organization’s growth.

3. Pride in Working for the Company:

This is a given! Having pride in where people work matters – a whole lot! It is important for your leadership to have meaningful engagement with employees. You will never be able to attain the next level of success if your people have no pride in their work. When you have pride in your employees, they will have pride in you, as well as your organization. It’s all about creating a positive workplace culture and setting standards for your employees to feel proud and standing tall.

If you as a leader can get the above critical drivers right, not only will your people achieve increased employee engagement, they will be happy to work in an environment where they will certainly thrive – professionally and personally.

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