Opinion

Who drives employee engagement in an organisation?

Our aim is to support local organisations to source, develop and retain top talent which in turn contributes to organisational growth. Sharing employee engagement ideas further supports this. 

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) describes the achievement of employee engagement as organisations developing and nurturing engagement through a two-way relationship between the employer and employee. So, who is the biggest driver of employee engagement in this relationship?

Leaders

Engaging leaders foster strong internal communications, share plans in an open and transparent manner, inspire employees to come together in a collective vision and instil an individual sense of ownership about the role each employee plays. They also empower staff to share their views and influence innovation. Teams working under this type of leadership are likely to be more engaged as they have a clear understanding of the business direction and company goals.

Managers

Gallup reported that as much as 70% of the variance in the employee engagement of teams can be traced back to the influence of the manager. While strong leaders clearly communicate a vision, great managers take the end goal and provide the coaching, support and guidance needed for everyone to work together in achieving it. Engaging managers are approachable and give their teams the support, scope and coaching needed and ensure successes and achievements are acknowledged.

Teams

Some of the most inspiring examples we see of engaging workplaces are where it’s obvious that everyone really looks out for one another, where teams share a common goal and there is a culture of camaraderie. Fostering a culture of teamwork can be achieved by creating environments where people have time to build relationships and to collaborate, and by bringing people together through activities such as company social events or team fundraising.

Individual employees

Engaged employees spread optimism and enthusiasm while disengaged employees can bring others down. Employers committed to monitoring engagement levels will be in the best position to prevent any negativity spreading in the first place. They will know if they need to investigate any reasons for dissatisfaction and make positive changes where needed.

New recruits

Finding high calibre employees who are the right cultural fit for an organisation creates a solid foundation for their own employee engagement levels during their time in the business. New talent coming into an organisation can also bring fresh perspectives and new ideas which can be a boost to the entire team.

HR personnel

As well as recruiting the right people for the business, those in HR roles can help ensure employees have the right skills, tools and environment to do their jobs to their best. Being able to provide a robust and meaningful development plan with clear progression opportunities is a key enabler of employee engagement. People who are fully trained in all aspects of their role are more confident and motivated to go the extra mile. 

So, while everyone within a business does play a part in employee engagement, the real driving force keeps coming back to leadership. Leaders create and communicate the values of a business and build management teams who can guide and support teams to unite in a common goal. Engaged employees are likely to be those who have been empowered to do their jobs well, working in positive workplace environments with rewarding career plans.

Before employers make any changes to their employee engagement strategies it’s important they understand where they are now. Our Best Employers Eastern Region initiative provides organisations in the Eastern region with a completely free employee survey which provides feedback on leadership, values and culture and the impact this has on employee engagement.