How leaders influence employee engagement
Leaders have different ways and strategies to engage their employees,depending on the size of each organization. Employees’ productivity is, most of the times, reflected in their commitment towards the organization. Therefore, every organization defines and has diverse approaches to make their workers engaged and, ultimately, more productive.
Employee engagement goes beyond motivation and % Retention rate, and organizations that manage it properly have a strong employer brand on the international market.When an employee is not pleased with the remuneration, a higher salary will give a boost of motivation that lasts around 6 months. Eventually, the individual will want more or will leave the organization. For this reason, companies have to adapt towards employee expectations.
The reasons behind it all
One of the major changes ocurred once the purpose-driven Generation Y entered the workforce, few years ago. Its representatives are characterized as challengers and explorers. When they enter the workforce, they tend to value experiences against financial benefits. Hence, the leadership body, together with HR Managers, have to constantly innovate their employee engagement strategies within the company. TED, for example, is show-casing leaders and organizations that stand out, that are front-runners leading change with a vizible impact on communities.
At the same time, women voiced out their concerns regarding unpaid maternity leave and, as scientists proved that many diseases arise from a faulty work-life balance, individuals began to value their health more. As a result, given benefits when hiring changed dramatically. People take into consideration the employer’s brand, the personal branding of their future managers/leaders and the contribution the company is making in the society.
Benefits and the organizational culture
According to FORTUNE, companies like Google, SAS or salesforce.com are known as some of the most valued employers, mainly because their employees receive benefits such as free meals, gym subscriptions, innovative and comfortable workplaces, paid maternity/paternity leaves, trainings, the possibility to work from home, on-site medical care, legal aid at no costs etc. Some of these benefits come with a package called believing in what the company is creating, which may be the main reason they have thousands of applicants for vacant jobs. Furthermore, the is an organizational culture surrounding the company makes people want to come to work without losing passion for what they do on a daily basis.
Leaders that create a safe environment
Employee engagement is created by the organization’s Leadership Body but organizational culture, also created by leaders, plays an important role for workers, as well. Simon Sinek mentioned a very important aspect of employee commitment: trusting the leader and fully cooperating with the person who creates a safe environment for everyone. Workers become productive, adaptable and easily set over-achieving goals because they work in a safe environment and trust their leaders. If and when workers make a mistake, they receive, instead of public criticism, support and coaching. Thus they are encouraged to make better decisions.
In Simon Sinek’s own words, “Great leaders would never sacrifice the people to save the numbers, instead they would sacrifice the numbers to save the people”. People will give nothing in return but their full engagement in something they truly believe in. They would sacrifice their well-being, because they know their leaders would also, in return, do the same for them.
In such a tech savvy and fast-paced world that offers plenty of opportunities, people choose to follow leaders that are aware of the impact their leadership style has and decide to do something meaningful with it.
The main question remains: Is employee engagement done because of business reasons or because their leaders actually care about their employees?
- Simon Sinek (2014), Why good leaders make you feel safe, TED
- Josh Bersin (2014), It’s time to re-think the employee engagement issue, Forbes
- Google (2014), Careers
- FORTUNE (2014), Best companies 2014