Employee engagement is a great asset for any business, because workers who feel committed to an organisation and enthusiastic about the job they do are more likely to work hard and act in the interests of that organisation. Yet, according to a 2015 Gallup survey, fewer than a third of all employees are actually engaged.
Consequences of having a disengaged workforce include higher staff turnover rates and lower levels of productivity. For this reason, ensuring your employees are engaged at work should be a top priority and one of the most effective ways to promote employee engagement is through the right leadership development programme.
Relationships With Superiors
One of the key drivers of employee engagement is the relationship between an employee and their workplace superiors. In fact, not only do managers have the ability to impact upon employee morale and motivation, a study from Approved Index found that a whopping 42 percent of UK workers have left a job because of a bad boss.
Given that somewhere between 70 percent and 80 percent of the workforce reports to a line manager, rather than an executive, leadership training can play a key role in the relationship between employees and superiors and, therefore, in promoting overall employee engagement.
It is fair to say that one of the most simple and crucial steps towards increasing employee engagement is to put a leadership development programme in place. This programme should give the right level of focus towards teaching leaders how to communicate with employees and foster positive relationships with them.
Coaching and Feedback
In particular, feedback from superiors is a major contributor to engagement. Employees often see their career as a journey and they want to know how they are doing and where you see them going in the future. They also, on a more basic level, want to improve their own performance and receive thanks when they go the extra mile.
“Surveys show that, over and over, employees feel that they receive immediate feedback when their performance is poor or below expectations,” Dan Crim and Gerard Seijts write in The Ten Cs of Employee Engagement.” These same employees also report that praise and recognition for strong performance is much less common.”
Coaching and providing feedback is an absolutely essential component of leadership and your development programme needs to teach managers how to do this effectively. Leaders need to be trained to spot great work, give thanks for it and encourage employees to keep going, because their efforts are appreciated and worthwhile.
Opportunities For Progression
Ultimately, if you want employees to be engaged, they have to feel like the work they do actually matters and might get them somewhere. If your organisation functions in such a way that hard work is never actually tangibly rewarded, it stands to reason that workers will become despondent, or will start to look for another job.
With that in mind, one of the most important ways you can promote employee engagement through the right leadership training programme is by making sure the programme itself is open to the very best performers within your own organisation. Where possible, you should promote internally, rather than hiring externally.
To do this, you need to ensure you are identifying those with the most potential, with a view to developing them into leaders when you need to fill a leadership vacancy. Once employees see people from within the organisation progressing and becoming effective leaders, engagement will naturally increase.
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Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional sales training courses and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership skills training.
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