How to Create Employee Engagement: 4 Leadership Methods That Work

Everyone is talking about employee engagement today. Most companies do an employee engagement survey once a year or every two years. However, according to recent research by Gallup, Dale Carnegie and the Consumer Board, employee dissatisfaction is at all-time highs. Few companies and managers know how to significantly change this.

Most employees think they are performing better than they are, and most employees can perform significantly better than they are. For example, a client had a poor performing division. The management was trained to engage their employees with a variety of strategies: a survey, interviews, feedback sessions, written goals, training and coaching. After executing an updated plan the same division improved results over 40% and became the talk of the company. As a leader you have a larger impact on the performance of your team than anyone else. Try these four methods to engage, if not inspire your team.


Employee engagement should be defined as ownership. How to you get that? You ask employees and involve them in fixing problems. You can start to do this through surveys, interviews, one on one sessions and evaluations. Collate your information and summarize it into what you can do, what you can not do and why. Then report it back to your teams.


Identify the top 3-5 issues and organize employees onto teams or assignments to research and work on a priority problem. One client created 22 action teams (they were a bigger company.) As a result they achieved record-breaking customer service results. As a manager you need to stay involved as well, and do your best to alleviate obstacles and obtain resources. Through these first two methods employee begin to gain ownership.


One manager asked, is it okay to do a team meeting? He had about fifteen people in an engineering company. Yes it is. Hold weekly meetings for on-going communication, updates and information sharing about progress and problems. In addition, use the meetings as a convenient time to give recognition.

Also, start coaching employees. For example, an employee was performing poorly and the manager wanted to let him go. The manager was encouraged to interact with this person in a coaching session. He found out the employee was married and had two young girls. He was also living with the father-in-law. Thus, he was working a part-time job to make more money to rent his own place. His current job had opportunities for commission. The manager counseled and planned with the employee, and his outstanding performance soared. (Note: He quit the other job which was better for his family and within a few months, found a new place to live.)


Cultivate a culture of continuous improvement. You do not have to get certified through a course that has seventeen levels and six months of instruction. You do need to ask questions regularly, for example:

  • How can we improve?
  • What can we do better?
  • What can we differently or more effectively?

Then, establish quarterly planning meeting of 1-3 days to review progress and make adjustments to your plans.

People want to be great and if they are not management is the roadblock. Effective leaders use the types of methods described above to increase employee engagement and productivity.

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