The Link Between Leadership And Engagement
The remarkable changes around work over the last few years have left people working longer hours, working odd hours without true breaks, and constantly packing up their work gear as we adjust to flexible or temporary workspaces. Additionally, work is being offloaded from colleagues who have taken new jobs or been laid off. Without time to truly transition, we may feel unprepared to take this work on or may be doing tasks we aren’t interested in.
Working from home has meant the added stress of kids or pets underfoot with fewer boundaries between home and work. Flexing between hybrid work schedules and locations (where am I today?) has added more pressure. And now we’re calling on new personal energy reserves as we return to lives that are once again full of commutes, activities and social engagements.
With all this added stress, it's not surprising Gallup polls found that within the US, only 36% of employees were actively engaged at work.
Companies with high employee engagement experience higher productivity, lower turnover, and ultimately higher sales, profitability and customer satisfaction.
In contrast, disengaged employees report miserable experiences at work and are more likely to look for jobs elsewhere, contributing to attrition rates. The cost of replacing a mid-level employee is 150% of their salary. That jumps to 400% with a highly-skilled employee.
Employee engagement is a real concern that could cost your company millions of dollars. One of the biggest reasons employees feel disengaged at work is because of poor relationships with their immediate supervisors.
Leadership Is The Solution
Great leaders have a huge impact on employee engagement. And the effects can be felt throughout an entire organization. It’s one of the reasons we’re so focused on Leadership Development here at Lead Bee as there's a clear link between leadership and engagement.
Recently, we reviewed two programs we were running within one organization. The company has a great culture and fantastic benefits. The results were startling. The turnover rate within the two teams that were participating in the program was just under 5%, while the rest of the organization was experiencing a resignation rate of more than 15%.
In addition, we found that groups with a manager who was actively engaged in the leadership development program also had a lower turnover rate in their specific groups as they were able to create additional engagement and retention. These results show clearly that leadership and engagement are entwined.
The Power Of Leadership Development Programs
One of our favorite ways to increase employee engagement is through a six to nine-month leadership development program. Our program combines learning about individual and team relational preferences and strengths. We also explore overdone strengths and ways to better navigate conflict. You could design your own leadership development program with a similar or different design and with the same or adjusted topics (more on that below).
Time and again, we hear from leaders who have completed our leadership development or team acceleration programs that they learned so much about how to better communicate with people at work and at home! The more focused time the team spends together, the healthier norms they develop, and the focus on relationships inspires and motivates leaders to work together and with their teams. Leaders learn to be less tactical and operational and much more strategic.
If you’re considering launching your own program, we suggest you gather the team once every four to six weeks. Start with a self-assessment if you can (we prefer SDI 2.0 and DiSC, but MBTI and other tools can also work!). This way, folks are immediately engaged by learning more about themselves and curious to learn more about their peers.
Each month you can meet for part or all of a day. Focus on connection, discussion about progress and obstacles, and encourage the team to explore what is and isn’t working. Then introduce one or two training topics (depending on the time allotted).
You can focus on areas such as:
- emotional intelligence
- work prioritization and delegation
- situational leadership
- managing conflict
- having difficult discussions
- leading authentically
- hiring and managing inclusively
- performance management.
Ensure people make commitments as to what they will work on between sessions. And if possible, provide coaching time in between sessions, even if it’s peer or group coaching.
One of the most important relationships an employee has is with their individual manager, and numerous reports have underscored the role managers play in employee engagement and retention.
We hope you’ll take and implement at least one of the suggestions above. If you do, drop us a line. We’d love to celebrate your success because developing leaders is one of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement and profitability.
If you’d like to explore more about our leadership development programs and the tools we use or need support designing or implementing a program, we're here to help.