Leaders influence employee engagement

THE COLLEGE OF ST. CATHERINE

Employee engagement. Difficult to describe, yet most know it when they feel it.

Lynae Steinhagen, founding managing partner of Madd-Steiny Productions, an organizational development consulting firm, says, “Employee engagement is the feeling of being connected in more than one way — body, mind and heart.”

She outlines four key components of employee engagement:

1. Connection to leaders. Employees don’t have to be friends with their leaders, but they do need a feeling of connectedness.

2. Meaningful work. Meaning may come from the employee’s internal compass or from the knowledge that he or she is contributing to the mission and vision of the organization.

3. Recognition for efforts. Praise for a job well done doesn’t need to be anything formal. Just a simple, specific thank you will do.

4. Tools and resources available to perform the job. Access to technical tools, training and clear policies and procedures is crucial for engagement.

Steinhagen describes one major mistake leaders today make when it comes to employee engagement. “Leaders fail to recognize the impact they have. It’s the things they do — or don’t do — on a daily basis that can add to or subtract from employee engagement.”

In addition to formal performance management strategies, Steinhagen advises leaders not to lose sight of how much they can influence employees with less formal, day-to-day interactions.

“If a leader chooses to do just one thing this year to positively influence employee engagement, it would be to communicate clearly and frequently,” says Steinhagen. “Let your employees know what’s going on.”

There is growing body of evidence that employee engagement is crucial and has a direct relationship with a company’s bottom line through greater productivity and profitability, she adds.

Steinhagen will present “Elements of Employee Engagement” on Jan. 22 at the College of St. Catherine’s Leadership Challenge conference. The day-long conference will be held on the College’s St. Paul campus at 2004 Randolph Ave. For more information or to register visit the Leadership Institute.

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