It’s not uncommon to occasionally feel disengaged at work – we know from Gallup that a majority of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. For millennials in particular, the numbers are troubling; 70% of millennials are either not engaged or are actively disengaged.

What’s a major reason why employee engagement is so low? Because new leaders on the front lines are not equipped to lead. New leaders on the front lines lead the biggest population of workers in organizations, yet many workers feel unhappy, uninspired, and lack empowerment. Data supports this:

  • Approximately 60% of employees report a loss of engagement, productivity, and turnover with poor frontline leadership, and
  • 25% of organizations experience profit loss due to ineffective frontline leaders.1

So, what can leaders do to help employees become more engaged at work?

4 Areas of Employee Engagement

We recommend a simple and intuitive framework. We believe these are the 4 factors that drive employee engagement:

  • Manager engagement,
  • Job engagement,
  • Team engagement, and
  • Organizational engagement.

By focusing on these 4 key areas, leaders have the power to increase the engagement of the people they lead and serve in a more targeted way.

Infographic: 4 factors that drive employee engagement

How Frontline Leaders Can Improve Employee Engagement

Here are steps that frontline leaders (and really, leaders at all levels of an organization) can take to increase employee engagement in these 4 areas:

  • Manager Engagement: Engaged employees feel energized and connected to their boss. To increase manager engagement, frontline leaders can provide routine coaching, development, and feedback. Improving manager engagement builds trust and loyalty to one’s boss. Build trust on your team by delegating.
  • Job Engagement: Employees are more engaged when they are actively involved and dedicated to their job. Frontline leaders can increase job engagement by bringing in internal or external stakeholders who have directly benefited from the work their employees have done, and by not micromanaging. Increased job engagement is associated with better work performance. Work on increasing accountability.
  • Team Engagement: Employees are more engaged when they are motivated and excited by their coworkers. Frontline leaders can increase team engagement by providing direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC). Increasing team engagement enhances team effectiveness. Here’s how to make good leadership happen with DAC.
  • Organizational Engagement: Engaged employees are devoted to their organization and feel passionately about its mission. Frontline leaders can increase organizational engagement by advocating for training and development opportunities for their direct reports. Increased organizational engagement is associated with lower employee turnover and better customer satisfaction. This checklist gives managers 4 ways to develop their people.

Our Process for Building Engagement

Organizations are more likely to invest in improvement efforts that have a measurable business impact. By better understanding employee engagement across these 4 key areas, leaders can more quickly and efficiently target interventions to increase low-scoring engagement areas.

For example, if employee engagement data shows workers have high engagement with their jobs, organization, and teams, but less so with their managers, interventions should be directed specifically toward increasing manager engagement. Such an intervention would have a greater return on investment and could include teaching leaders how to coach, develop, and provide feedback to others.

At CCL, with this data-driven framework as a foundation, we’ve developed a process that enables companies to identify what changes their leaders can make to improve employee engagement — and reap the benefits that come with it.

We’re not suggesting that improving employee engagement is simple or even easy, but it is possible. And it can transform your organization’s ability to get results. Our process provides a systematic, data-driven, measurable process to give your employee engagement a sustainable shot in the arm.

Managers can become one of the organization’s greatest assets if they are taught to understand and manage employee engagement. It’s time to take a new, directed approach to measuring and managing employee engagement, especially with new and frontline leaders who struggle the most to solve the engagement conundrum.

Learn more about CCL Fusion: Fusing leadership actions to drive business outcomes.

Learn more about how this 4-pronged approach to leader analytics feeds into our CCL Fusion solution, which can improve employee engagement at your organization.

1 Wellins, R. S., Selkovits, A., & McGrath, D. (2013). Be better than average: A study on the state of frontline leadership. Development Dimensions International.

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