Engaged employee are psychological “owners”. They are highly involved in and enthusiastic and committed to their work and workplace. They drive high performance, innovation and move the organization forward.

You can find out if your employees are actively engaged with their work or if they’re simply putting in their time. You can discover if your team building activities and human resources practices influence positive business outcomes or if there’s room to grow. And with the right approach, you can learn what to do to improve your employees’ connection to their work and your company.

Associate Certified Coach training

Engaged employees perform and differentiate you from your competitors. We know from research that engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees — across all industry, company size and nationality, and in good economic times and bad.

Simply measuring employee engagement is not enough. Employee engagement helps you measure AND manage employees’ perspectives on the crucial elements of your workplace culture. The way your company treats employees and how employees treat one another can positively affect their actions — or can place your organization at risk.

One of the most common mistakes companies make is to approach engagement as a sporadic exercise in making their employees feel happy — usually around the time when a survey is coming up.

It’s true that we describe engaged employees as “enthusiastic” and surveys play a big role in measuring employee engagement. But it’s not that simple. People need purpose and meaning from their work. They need to be known what they’re good at.

Employees need more than a fleeting warm-fuzzy feeling and a good paycheck (even if it helps them respond positively on a survey) to invest in their work and achieve more for your company.

People need to be known for what makes them unique. And they need relationships, particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next level. These needs drive employee engagement and the managers play a significant role in driving up employee engagement.

Managers can take charge of engagement by asking and evaluating their employees’ responses to some specific employee engagement questions to create a framework for their interactions with employees — casual conversations, meeting agendas, performance evaluations and team goal setting.

“Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores”

Gallup research.

These questions are divided into four levels covering the employee performance development needs and are used to understand how to best support employees, determine barriers to success and then adjust accordingly.

The four levels include:

  1. their basic needs (e.g. understanding what is expected of them at work),
  2. individual needs (e.g. giving recognition for what they have done at work),
  3. team needs (e.g. relying on fellow team members to do a quality job) and
  4. growth needs (e.g. opportunities to learn and grow at work).

Paying attention to each level and understanding each individual is essential as everyone is different and the manager’s role is to facilitate and connect the team in such a way that drives the individual, team and the organization towards an aligned outcome.

Using the competency framework of International Coaching Federation (ICF), – both the eight competences and the latest team coaching competencies – the managers can learn the necessary skills and by working with a coach create a new mindset that supports them in having more frequent, consistent and more effective conversations with each member of their team keeping their needs high up in their mind.

What is clear from the research is that employees do not want a Boss, they want a Coach. Employee engagement should be a manager’s primary role responsibility. Managers are in charge of ensuring that employees know what work is required to be done, supporting and advocating for them when necessary, and explaining how their work connects to organizational success.

“Only 15% of employees worldwide and 35% in the U.S. fall in the “engaged” category”

Gallup research.

To succeed in that responsibility, managers need to be equipped to have ongoing coaching conversations with employees. Unfortunately, most managers don’t know how to make frequent conversations meaningful, so their actions are more likely to be interpreted as micromanaging without providing the right tools and direction.

So, it’s not enough for leaders to simply tell managers to own engagement and coach their teams. Leaders must:

  1. Redefine managers’ roles and expectations
  2. Provide the training tools, resources and development that managers need to coach and meet those expectations
  3. Create evaluation practices that help managers accurately measure performance, hold employees accountable and coach to the future

“Employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are 3X more likely to be engaged, compared to those who receive feedback once a year or less”

Gallup research.

The ultimate goal of engagement is the growth and development of the individual. In various studies of the world’s most successful organizations, we’ve learned that a culture of high employee development is the most productive environment for both the business and the employees

The expectations of the current workforce indicates that the No. 1 reason people go for a job change is “career growth opportunities.”

What’s the secret of the top performing companies who create exceptional levels of engagement in the workplace and have high performance across almost all key success measures?

Organizations that make employee engagement a central part of their corporate strategy take a different approach. They incorporate aspects of engagement into all elements of their employee experience so that each feed into and amplifies the other. This includes attracting talent, to hiring and onboarding the talent and engaging and performance of the individual, developing them and finally to the exit from the company.

They are committed to development-focused engagement programs — they meet their employees’ needs therefore unleashing human potential and as result organizations become more productive, more competitive and more profitable.

In summary, paying attention to the main drivers or needs of the employees through the employee engagement framework leads to individuals who are more committed to their work and workplace.

Talented and trained managers play an essential role in high employee engagement. Talented in that they see each employee as a unique individual with unlimited potential. Trained in that the manager can continuously coach and have effective conversations driving accountability from the team members.

Leaders of the organization need to create the structures, practices and budgets to support the manager’s focus in this key area of responsibility, and to keep the managers engagement levels up. The organisation at all levels becoming more aligned starting from the purpose and values through to the key performance outcomes and impact the organisation has on the market place and its customers.

By Taymour Miri (MCC, Gallup certified Strengths Coach)

Taymour Miri is an ICF master coach and a Gallup certified strengths coach and more recently one of the first 136 coaches world wide to be awarded an Advanced Certificate in Team Coaching. He has 30 years’ experience in leadership roles and 20 years of experince in coaching. Taymour has trained over 1,500 coaches across five continents and is the founder of International Coaching Education (ICE)