As a leader, it is largely your responsibility to keep the team happy. A high level of employee satisfaction brings many advantages, such as a better working atmosphere and a higher return on investment, because motivated employees perform better. Module 4 of the Squared Online Course also focuses on leadership, especially: involving others. You will learn how a good leader sets strategies to involve all team members, gives the team recognition and feedback and how emotional intelligence affects leadership style. So a lot of responsibility, because as a leader you are automatically a role model!
In this post, we take a closer look at ways a leader can increase employee engagement. Before we use a best practice example to show how management succeeds even during a difficult time like the corona pandemic, let us first clarify the question: What is employee commitment? Then we list four ways you can show more leadership and turn your employees into brand ambassadors.
What is employee engagement? For many, this is a valid question! Employee engagement is generally understood as the emotional attachment of employees to their job, to the company or to their mission. This indicator can be used to make statements about the quality of the corporate culture of a company. It’s safe to say that higher employee engagement translates into more benefits for companies!
Best practice example: Hilton hotel chain
Especially during the corona pandemic, employee satisfaction has fallen in many places. It is therefore all the more important for managers to know how they can motivate their team even in difficult times . The Hilton hotel chain, for example, has done this perfectly.
In the Hilton Senior Leadership Business Immersion Program , employees in management positions spend three days in the heart of the hotel, for example in cleaning, food preparation or building services. This is how employees and managers can talk to each other . Managers show that they are not above doing practical, physically demanding work, which in turn has significantly increased the motivation of other employees.
The program was expanded during the Corona period, as the lower number of guests left more time for such experiments. Based on their experience, executives have suggested many minor and major changes in the Hilton hotel chain. All employees know that they are heard and respected – that is what leadership is all about, in the spirit of “walk a mile in your employees shoes!”
Four ways to demonstrate leadership and boost employee satisfaction
An important part of your brand is the so-called employer branding . This states that not only the products, but also the characteristics of the brand as an employer are very important. By promoting good leadership and a good working atmosphere, your brand will gain the desired reputation as an attractive employer . This motivates employees and also leads to the application of highly qualified people with the right attitude.
To increase your team’s engagement, it’s especially important to listen . Instead of implementing changes from above (top-down), you should listen to what your employees want and then implement it together with them ( bottom-up ).
Here are three steps to help you improve employee satisfaction and engagement :
1) First of all, the current commitment of the team and the satisfaction of the employees must be measured, for example using anonymous questionnaires.
2) Next, it is important to talk about specific challenges or dissatisfaction within the working groups.
3) You should share the results of these measurements with the team in a casual way. This is how the conversation about improved engagement and actions leading to greater happiness can begin.
Sharing and maintaining motivation
As a manager, you have an important role model function . This also includes communicating to your team why you believe in the brand. This “why” helps to create trust and to infect the team with your enthusiasm. So don’t be afraid to share your motivation, even if it’s very personal.
This includes open and honest communication . Because only if you can get your team enthusiastic about the brand will you be able to do the same with customers. A good example is Google : employees are proud to be part of the team and also show this attitude to the outside world.
The following actions help Google keep the team motivated:
- Regular employee satisfaction surveys
- Creative work opportunities and leisure activities on campus
- Events like “Online Campfires” where managers and employees brainstorm and share stories together
- Open, often fun work culture that puts the employees in the foreground
- Successful team members receive public praise, a bonus, or some other form of recognition
- Support for further education
Build trust through authenticity
Trust is a very personal matter. Here too, as a manager, you have to take the first step, overcome your shyness and position yourself accordingly. Trust involves listening to your team, allowing them to be honest with you, and being willing to learn and adapt.
Mutual trust is an area that is somewhat neglected in many companies. Because many employees have the feeling that their boss does not trust or listen to them. Similar to Google, by letting your team have their say more often and giving them more creative options , you show that you have trust.
As a manager, you often have to make yourself vulnerable . That means being able to admit when you’re at a loss, when you’re out of ideas, or when you know that a particular decision was wrong. So work on not only being honest, but also being open and proactive with your team about the brand and the business.
Authenticity is another important buzzword when it comes to trust. By speaking to your employees at eye level and showing that you are not above your work, you gain a lot of trust. The example of the Hilton hotel chain shows that courage pays off : leaders who work side by side with their team and really listen can make a difference and are valued by the team.
Invest in work culture
Work culture is an important indicator of how things are really going in a company. Therefore, it is closely related to employer branding and employee satisfaction. Google shows how employees can be retained in the long term . However, the work culture is slightly different in every company.
As a new brand, you have the opportunity to build a good working culture together with your team right from the start . With the help of surveys and participatory workshops, you can answer the following questions and put corresponding measures into practice:
- What values define this brand? How can we live the values in everyday work?
- How do we work together best and most efficiently?
- How can we stimulate creative, out-of-the-box thinking?
- What leisure activities or other bonuses set us apart from other employers?
- Do we provide sufficient opportunities for disadvantaged groups? Are we really a diverse team?
- Do we learn from and with each other? How do we deal with failures?
- Do we have the opportunity to get to know each other outside of the desk?
Create social added value as a social business
Corporate Social Responsibility is an important issue as more and more people want a job that allows them to make positive changes . By designing your brand as a social business or developing ways within the company to implement social and environmental values, you offer your team this important opportunity.
This does not mean that you have to change your business model. Rather, it is about looking for ways to make the brand more sustainable and social together with the team . Certainly there are employees who would like to deal specifically with these values. Maybe they can even build up a start-up within the brand as intrapreneurs ?
Conclusion: Employer branding as the key to employee satisfaction
A good, modern leader manages to create a pleasant work culture, to keep employees happy and to constantly recruit new talent. It is therefore all the more important that you as a leader set a good example and put your employees and their satisfaction in the foreground . This will automatically improve your employer branding.
Especially in a crisis like Corona, it shows how important leadership is. Therefore, use the current challenges to listen to your employees particularly well in order to be well prepared for the post-COVID period and for any future crises. By communicating honestly and authentically about your goals as a leader, you will be able to build trust and infect the team with your own motivation .