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The secret of employee engagement (part 3)

January 20, 2015

This is the final installment of our three-part series on improving employee engagement. Click here to start from the beginning.—Ed.

We’ve talked about encouraging employee growth, development, and engagement by conducting “stay interviews” and providing feedback, but it’s also critical to involve your employees in their development as well. To do that you should:

Involve Your Team!

Meet with your team and go over the latest customer satisfaction scores. Ask them to suggest things they can do individually and collectively to create a better customer service experience. Make sure they suggest things that are within their control. Write these suggestions down, send them back out to the team to show commitment, and start implementing them right away.  Continue to meet on this topic and work with your team to track and monitor these suggestions to see how they are positively impacting customer service.

Make a list of problems needing to be solved and pick one you think the team can address. Rather than you alone responding to upper management’s request to cut costs, involve your team in the effort. They will think of many more creative ways to do this than you might have come up with on your own.

Host a 10-minute kickoff meeting explaining the problem and invite the team’s involvement in coming up with a solution. Post the problem on a flip chart in a central location for people to list solutions as they think of them over the coming days. When ready, bring the team back together to discuss the different solutions in terms of pros and cons, ease of implementation, etc. Then have each team member vote on their top three. Host a 10-minute wrap-up meeting to explain the results of the vote and share which solution you’ll implement on behalf of the team. Not only will you be involving your team in solving problems, you’ll also be teaching them new skills such as critical thinking.

And last but not least…

Recognize Your Employees!

Most managers know it is important to recognize employee effort and contribution. However, knowing is not the same as doing. Try this simple exercise taken from the book 42 Rules of Engagement by Susan Stamm to practice giving more praise.

For the next three days, come to work with ten pennies in your left pocket. Each time you express appreciation to one of your employees, move one penny from the left pocket to the right pocket. At the end of the day, you have a concrete measure of how much praise you are really giving out. Try to increase your “score” by at least one penny each day. And remember, bosses and peers are also hungry for some positive words so include them in your efforts. After a while, you won’t need the pennies anymore. Giving praise will be a new behavior that comes easy and effortlessly to you.

If all managers in your organization employed these simple yet effective strategies for engaging employees, your organization would be seeing the business results that the Gallup organization has found when employees are highly engaged: 38% higher customer satisfaction scores, 22% higher productivity, and 27% higher profits for their companies.

Pretty good return on your investment if you ask me.

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