Leadership And Engagement

How Leadership Inspires Employee Engagement

5 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

When your team is disengaged, has low morale and feels demotivated, it’s pretty easy to blame the different tools you use, the processes that could probably do with a refresh or even the culture. But have you ever taken the time to consider how leadership can affect engagement?

What are the benefits of employee engagement? 

When your employees are engaged, it will boost their motivation and overall wellbeing. Employees reap the benefits of feeling engaged, and businesses do too. 

According to Gallup research, engaged employees lead to about 23% more profitability, 81% difference in absences, 14% increase in productivity and up to 43% reduction in employee turnover, meaning you will hold on to your top talent. 

Key drivers of employee engagement 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for employee engagement, every business and every person is different. 

But a few key drivers make a big difference, including a strong sense of community, the feeling that hard work is recognised and the belief that leaders and managers are working with everybody’s best interests in mind. Instilling these values through your leadership might sound tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.  

How does leadership influence employee engagement? 

So how does your leadership affect those all-important feelings of engagement? The truth is that when it comes to creating a healthy and happy working environment, strong leadership is essential. 

When leaders are ineffectual, uncaring or absent, it is almost impossible to create an environment where employees feel their contributions have real value. So how do you create a workplace where you are not only present, but your employees feel engaged?

Employee Engagement Guide

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Leadership practices to improve employee engagement

Build trust

Wondering what should be at the top of your to-do list for improving engagement? Building trust. 

Engagement is about nurturing those relationships with your employees, motivating them to do their best work and celebrating progress together.

Employees are more likely to trust leaders who ask, listen, and act on their feedback. Showing intentionality and transparency helps your team feel comfortable and confident, which builds trust.

Listen to your team

By keeping an open line of communication, your employees will feel like they can approach you with any questions or concerns.

Good leaders understand that they need employee feedback if they want to improve efficiency and performance. They also know that not following through on employee feedback can be a reason for losing top talent.

Advocating for your team

Employee engagement is all about having a people-first culture that supports your employees’ needs. To do this, you need to know each employee’s interests, values, strengths and weaknesses. 

Adjusting job roles, switching up the teams or introducing new technology to make their work easier are all great ways to advocate for your team. 

Create a healthy and respectful atmosphere

There is nothing like knowing that your leader has your back – wanting what’s best for your company also means wanting what’s best for your employees.

You can help create a healthy and collaborative workplace by introducing the kind of wellbeing initiatives that make a real difference. From making it clear that sick days for mental health reasons are understood and encouraged to discouraging excessive overtime hours, there are lots of ways to prioritise employee wellbeing

Gallup’s 2022 State of the Workplace report found that only 33% of employees felt they were thriving in their overall wellbeing, which suggests there’s still a long way to go.

Have a passion for developing employee skills 

Looking ahead is an essential part of being a good leader – but it shouldn’t be limited to business forecasting or planning. It should incorporate the development of individuals too. 

A lack of opportunities for career development is one of the top reasons that employees give for leaving. Put training and improvement structures in place so your talent can grow and develop alongside your business, and you’ll be well on your way to being the kind of leader who makes a real difference.  

Lay out expectations clearly

You may want your team members to feel that the sky’s the limit, but it’s much easier to feel satisfied at work when you know what is expected of you. 

Laying out roles and responsibilities means that employees can feel comfortable that they are taking steps to meet their targets – and that nothing unexpected is coming their way. 

This, in turn, makes them feel invested and more engaged in work. A study by Mercer found that 65% of employees prefer to have their responsibilities mapped out. 

Recognise, reward and bolster employees

You may think that your team know just how much you appreciate them, but the truth is that unless you’re telling them regularly, there’s a good chance they don’t.

Consistent feedback, praise and recognition from leaders are all essential for driving engagement. Implementing a recognition and rewards program can give you the structure you need to share how much you value your employees.

It’s also a great idea to work in ways to help your team implement healthy feedback channels too. While recognition and feedback from managers and leaders can be invaluable, there’s also a ton to be said for encouraging peer-to-peer feedback

It allows greater sharing and reciprocity between teams and can help create stronger social bonds. Peer-to-peer feedback doesn’t have to be extensive or highly structured. Our digital method of sharing important Moments allows teams to connect quickly and easily. 

Transform your culture with Mo

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Book a free demo to learn how Mo can help you:
  • Improve employee engagement scores
  • Reduce employee churn
  • Build a collaborative culture
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Mo is a new kind of reward and recognition platform that makes it easy for busy managers to meaningfully recognise, engage and connect with their teams.

We equip managers with weekly suggestions to energise and connect with their people, help teams build habits of recognition into their day-to-day rhythms and go beyond simple rewards as a way to motivate staff.

Join companies like SHL, OVO Energy and William Hill in delivering meaningful improvement on engagement results with Mo. Book a free demo today!

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