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How Great Managers Can Drive Employee Engagement


Minyang Jiang

What is your favorite employee engagement method? Does it involve giving them a special paycheck for their performance? If it does, you may want to reconsider your methods.

While this may sound surprising, financial rewards are not as high on the list of effective employee engagement tools. Being happy with a job now depends on a wide range of factors, including feeling valued and appreciated and taking part in decision-making.

Meeting these needs presents a huge challenge for managers because many employees in the modern job market feel uninspired by their work and get bored within a year. This trend is supported by the findings of a Gallup study that found that only 25 percent of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs.

So how do the managers of these 25 percent of employees drive engagement?

Improve Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance means different things for each employee, but one thing is for sure: it’s an impossible struggle for many. Great managers understand that an outcome of the work-life balance defines overall job satisfaction in a great way, so they try a personalized approach to each employee. This approach helps to define what’s important for them in terms of work-life balance.

Here are the ways that employers use to encourage a healthy work-life balance:

  • Provide access to exercise. An average adult should be getting at least 30 minutes per day to reduce the risk of getting sick and developing mental health conditions, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Encourage breaks throughout the working day. Sitting all day at the desk is the worst, right? Moreover, it’s simply unnatural for the human body to sit and stare at a computer screen for hours, because doing so leads to a number of health issues.
  • Allow time off for significant life events. “Being considerate of your employees’ lives is something that people will appreciate a lot,” says Leslie White, a talent acquisition expert from essay company Assignment Helper. “For example, if someone from your office has a family emergency, it’s your responsibility as a manager to allow unpaid time off to help them deal with it.”


Promote Physical and Mental Well-Being

There are so many perks that managers can offer to their employees to make them happier, therefore more engaged at work, including:

  • Pack fridges in the office with healthy snacks.
  • Allow working from home once a week if the work can be done from home
  • Arrange on-site yoga sessions conducted by an expert
  • Invite employees participate in various kinds of charities

These things may seem insignificant, but they greatly enhance job satisfaction by:

  • making an office day full of events
  • reducing work-associated anxiety
  • nurturing a culture of humor, transparency, and kindness.


Recognize and Reward Your Workforce

Recognition and reward are basic tools for reminding employees that they are valued and appreciated. If an employee achieves something they should be praised for, then you should definitely do it.

For example, you can reward your employees by making them employees of the month, giving them more responsibilities that’ll enhance their expertise (we’ll talk about it a bit later), allow to work from home, giving them a better parking spot, and so on. As for simple things like “thank you,” then leaders should use them to praise and encourage best efforts on a daily basis.

They Offer Employees Unlimited Annual Leave Days

Great leaders show their appreciation of employees by allowing them to have unlimited annual leave days. For example, Sir Richard Branson does the same. In his book The Virgin Way, he wrote that leaders should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours they worked in the office.

According to Branson’s approach, a company doesn’t need a typical nine-to-five policy as well as a vacation policy. Naturally, a leader doesn’t expect supervisors and managers to track hours or even days away from the office. As Branson writes:

“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off… the assumption being that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers.”

When Virgin introduced this policy, the staff was more than satisfied, and their motivation, creativity, and performance increased.

Great Leaders Give More Responsibility, not just More Tasks to Do

We’ve mentioned this one before, but it certainly deserves more attention to make sure that you understand the difference between giving more responsibility and more tasks. Giving responsibility involves assigning important projects and allowing to take ownership of them. On the other hand, giving tasks means assigning a bunch of random routine tasks that don’t do much to improve the company.

This strategy takes advantage of the fact that humans are inherently goal-oriented, so if they realize that achieving a certain goal will help them to enhance their skills and help the company, they’ll be glad to take on the challenge. So, try assigning your employees projects that are important for your company, and help them grow.

As you can see, money isn’t the only thing that improves engagement in the workplace. In fact, there are lots of things that you can try. So, it’s now your turn to take these simple ideas and put them into practice.

Author Bio

Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist and business consultant that helps people turn their dreams into the profitable business. Lucy has her own blog Prowritingpartner.com where you can check her last publications. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on Twitter.