Senior Leadership Sets the Tone for Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is gaining momentum in the corporate world, and for good reason: employees can make or break your business. At their best, engaged employees are better producers, are committed to the organization and more likely to stay with your company for the long haul. Tapping into this potential is essential to the health of any organization, and it’s up to senior leadership to lead the charge.

It’s important for leaders to understand why their employees become disengaged – often, it’s because they don’t feel valued. Feeling undervalued is an all too common motivator for good employees to quit. If your company is losing its star players, chances are it’s not the organization that’s pushing them out the door – it’s their leaders.

There’s a strong correlation between engaged senior leadership and employee engagement. While managers play a significant role in the everyday experience of their direct reports, the importance of engaged senior leadership on employee engagement shouldn’t be underestimated. According to the International Journal of Business and Management: “Unless the people at the top believe in it, own it, pass it down to managers and employees, and enhance their leadership, employee engagement will never be more than just a ‘corporate fad’ or ‘another HR thing’.”

Engaged leaders are both visible and present in an engagement mandate. They ensure employees are heard and feel valued by prioritizing effective and frequent communication. Senior leadership engagement demonstrates the company’s commitment to its employees and brings internal engagement initiatives to life.

Engaged Senior Leadership + Employee Engagement = Employee Retention

Investing in initiatives designed to drive employee engagement yields high return – allowing you to keep those star players for enhanced engagement at every level.

Here are three important tips to follow before embarking on a company engagement plan:

  1. Start at the top level. To generate great employee engagement, start with engaging senior leadership. Many mistakenly look to fix their ‘employee morale’ issues first with temporary fixes before addressing leadership concerns. Executive leaders are key players in inspiring employees from the very beginning of their employment, and should be fully integrated into engagement initiatives.
  2. Don’t delegate engagement solely to the HR leader. Make this one of the CEO’s priorities to drive forward. While well intentioned, a common blunder executive leaders make is giving the responsibility of employee engagement entirely to HR, as if it were another talent task. Engagement is not simply an HR activity – it’s company wide.
  3. Keep efforts consistent. It requires ongoing commitment to maintain an engaged body of employees. Strong leaders know that the pursuit of employee engagement shouldn’t just be a single end goal – they make it a strategic, ongoing activity.      

People seek inspiration and direction from their leaders, so it’s best to start improving engagement at the top. Without engaged senior leadership, companies aren’t capable of engaging the hearts and minds of their employees.

Curious about our predictions for the future of employee engagement? Visit the NATIONAL Bold Thinking Blog for more, including our Top 5 Trends in Employee Engagement