Senior Leaders: Are Your Employees Engaged?

Jeff Aplin Seminar
Jeff Aplin, President of David Aplin Group, chats with a guest speaker at a breakfast seminar on employee engagement held recently in Toronto.

How well do your employees connect with your company emotionally and intellectually?  Are they loyal?  Are they satisfied?  Are they contributing to your company’s success?  The answers to these important questions can provide some valuable insights regarding the level of employee engagement in your company.

David Aplin Group and the Canadian Management Centre (CMC) recently held breakfast seminars and panel discussions across the country to discuss how lack of trust and confidence in business leaders can destroy employee engagement.

A CMC-conducted survey in 2012 asked more than 1,200 Canadian full-time employees from over 500 different organizations about their workplace engagement. Those survey results revealed the following interesting facts:

  • Only 27% of employees consider themselves highly engaged and 39% actually have trust and confidence in their company’s leadership.
  • GenXers have the lowest level of engagement at 22%.
  • GenXers also have the lowest confidence in leadership at 38%. What is most interesting about this fact is that in today’s workforce, GenXers predominantly make up senior level leadership.

The CMC survey identified the following as important engagement factors:

  1. Communication Transparency
    Senior leaders can start to reverse employee disengagement by ensuring a consistent flow of communication from the top.  It’s important to ensure that all employees at all levels understand the company’s current plans, goals, achievements and hierarchical changes.  Often this kind of information doesn’t reach everyone in a company.

  2. Be Approachable
    Management should try to close the gap between senior level leadership and employees.  Leaders should be willing to get down in the trenches and work with their teams.  In addition, maintaining an open-door policy builds trust between leadership and staff.

  3. Implement a Strategy
    After setting goals and objectives, everyone needs to be included in changes and updates. People like hearing about progress! Make your strategy memorable by using humour, props, custom screen savers or printed 1-pagers for staff to keep visible at their desks.

The seminar concluded with a golden nugget:  Senior leaders should accept responsibility for establishing employee engagement.  Every organization has a mission or purpose tied to its culture.  Ensuring your employees make an emotional and intellectual connection to that purpose keeps them engaged.  People want to come to work every day believing in what they do.  Leaders must make clear what the purpose of their organization is and how it affects their customers.  When employees stand behind your company’s purpose, they won’t just be engaged, they will go the extra mile!