Encouraging Employee Engagement
How can companies encourage employee engagement?
There are two primary forces that tend to drive employees’ engagement in supporting company goals: seeing the example set by their leadership team and being made to feel that there is a personal stake in achieving these goals. Employees are encouraged when members of management and leadership teams take the initiative to join them in various efforts, rather than assigning tasks and retreating behind glass walls. They are motivated when things that matter most to them become part of the landscape of companies for which they work.
At Executive Speakers Bureau, owners Richard and Angela Schelp are engaged at every level of securing top speakers and actively involved in day-to-day operations of the company. They are also present when Executive Speakers Bureau commits its time and resources to giving back. When top inspirational speaker and philantropist Manny Ohonme brought his Samaritan’s Feet organization to Memphis, Angela joined employees in helping to give away hundreds of pairs of shoes to children in need. It wasn’t difficult to convince the employees that this company event was worth their time: several of them are parents and meeting childrens’ basic needs falls high on their list of priorities.
When visionary speaker Chad Pregracke, CNN’s 2013 Hero of the Year,brought his company Living Lands & Waters to Memphis for a cleanup effort of McKellar Lake, Executive Speakers Bureau was there to lend its support. Richard, Angela and their team, having already devoted themselves to Pregracke’s professional speaking career, were now devoting themselves to the very cause that was the catalyst for Pregracke becoming an in-demand speaker. Employees wanted to be engaged because their leadership was engaged. They wanted to be engaged because cleaning up McKellar Lake mattered on a personal level: they would help clean up almost 10,000 pounds of trash per day in the city they called home.
Executive Speakers Bureau represents numerous speakers whose presentations include many concepts and ideals necessary to optimize employee engagement, including those mentioned here. Marcus Buckingham has explained, through both best selling books and speaking engagements, that employee happiness is directly related to customer satisfaction and thus a company’s bottom line. Ryan Estis, recently recognized as one of the “best keynote speakers ever heard” by Meetings & Conventions magazine, writes on his popular blog “Leadership isn’t about tenure or title. It’s about helping people achieve their full potential…it’s about humility, service, sacrifice and impact on others.” Best selling author and motivational speaker Chester Elton, one of the top thirty leadership gurus in 2013, analyzed the results of over 850,000 interviews and shared them in What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work. He writes that employees “who are happiest and most successful are engaged in work that aligns with what motivates them.”
As a company leader, if you want to encourage employees to become engaged in your company’s vision and overall success, be the person who shows the most enthusiasm for that vision and believes more than anyone else in its success. Also, become familiar with what your employees care about, those things in which they have a personal investment. When opportunities arise for both you and your employees to boost this investment, be present. Few things bolster engagement more than personal presence.