How Leaders Can Increase Employee Engagement and Energize Their Organization

By Bob Weiler

Leaders need to prioritize engaging and energizing their organization.

If it feels like your organization is unengaged, you are not alone. For the first time in more than a decade, the percent of engaged workers has declined. In 2021, the percentage of engaged employees declined by 5.5% to 34%, while the percentage of actively disengaged employees increased by 14.2% to 16%.

Given that engaged employees perform better, experience less burnout, and stay in organizations longer, leaders must prioritize re-engaging and energizing their organization. But how?

Recent research finds that the three most important levers leaders have at their disposal to increase employee engagement and energize their organization are to (a) help employees connect what they do to what they care about, (b) make the work itself less stressful and more enjoyable, and (c) reward employees with additional time off, in addition to financial incentives.

Where to start?

In our work with clients, we begin by conducting a Discovery, Diagnosis, and Assessment. This evaluation of the organization from strategy and process to interpersonal dynamics yields insights that can help identify which lever, or levers, should be prioritized to increase employee engagement, and what opportunities and barriers there are to energizing the organization. Critical here is asking the right questions. Too often, there is a perception gap between leaders and their organization. By asking the right questions, leaders can gain better understanding of what is really happening within the organization, and better understand how to engage and energize the organization.

Using the information gained in the Discovery, Diagnosis, and Assessment, we bring together the senior leadership team and involve the team in a process we call Senior Team Strategy and Alignment. Leaders and the senior leadership team are the forces that bring discipline and structure to the organization while simultaneously energizing the people. Senior Team Strategy and Alignment is designed to engage the team in open and honest conversations about the organization and the case for change. Further, the process aligns the team around goals, priorities, accountability, and drives engagement and high-performance.

Business Acceleration Teams can play a key role in giving people a voice and increasing engagement and energy within the organization. Business Acceleration Teams engage top talent in a project team process to develop recommendations for key strategic initiatives, promote cross-functional relationships and accountability, develop leadership capabilities, and in turn, energize the organization.

We know the levers that are at our disposal for energizing and engaging our employees and the organization. What we don’t know, is which levers to prioritize, and the barriers and opportunities unique to the organization. This is where you as a leader need to do the work – where you need to connect with and engage your organization. When you do this, you will be able to help re-energize the organization.

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