Employee Engagement and What Leaders Can Do

For five years my family and I lived and worked in South India. It was an amazing experience with many cross-cultural challenges. As someone who delivers training, I am on the look out for how engaged participants are with the content. In my own culture I know what disengaged generally looks like. Initially I took the folded arms as disengagement in India, but in fact this was not the way to read this body language. Nonetheless, engagement is a critical factor in performance for anyone on your team including yourself.

How engaged are you with your work?

In the last two weeks the global study done annually by Gallup on the state of the workplace was released. Looking at the findings from the research, one thing stands out on employee engagement in Europe: it is shockingly low. Active engagement is at 13%, unchanged from last year. 72% are not engaged and 15% are actively disengaged. As a leader what does this say about the culture of the workplace in Europe?

 “People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.” – Pamela Stroko 

This has to be a wake up call. People should know they matter to you and your company; to be treated as human beings who have a valuable contribution to make. After all you spend a lot of your life at work, enjoying what you do will mean greater engagement.

5 Things Which Build Employee Engagement

As a leader there are several key factors that can help build engagement in the workplace. Here are five important things you can do:

  1. Effective Communication: Regular and transparent communication is crucial to fostering engagement with your team. Keep your team informed about company goals, progress, and any changes that may impact them. Encourage open dialogue, actively listen to your employees, and provide constructive feedback. Make your expectations as clear as possible. Clear communication will help your employees feel valued and engaged in the organization.
  1. Empowerment: Give your employees a sense of ownership over their work by empowering them and providing autonomy whenever possible. Trust your team members to make decisions and take on responsibilities. Different team members will want more or less involvement from you. Welcome new ideas, offered suggestions, and contributions to the decision-making processes. When employees feel trusted and empowered their engagement and motivation increase.
  1. Recognition and Rewards: Acknowledge and appreciate your employees’ efforts and achievements. Recognize their hard work, both privately and publicly, and provide meaningful rewards and incentives. Ask each of your team – ‘how do you like to be recognised or celebrated?’ Recognise and reward contributions this creates a positive work environment which helps increase engagement and continue performing at their best.
  1. Opportunities for Development: Your employees want to know how they can grow and develop, so offer opportunities for learning and advancement. Provide training programmes, mentorship, coaching, and ongoing feedback to help them enhance their skills and knowledge. Show a genuine interest in their career aspirations and where possible offer challenging assignments or projects that align with their goals. When employees see a clear path for growth and development, they become more engaged and committed to their work.
  1. Positive Work Culture: Create a workplace culture that promotes collaboration, teamwork, and respect. Encourage and model a healthy work-life balance and prioritise employee well-being. Foster a positive and inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone feels valued and respected. Encourage social interactions, team-building activities, and opportunities for employees to connect on a personal level. A positive work culture boosts employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity.


Building engagement is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and adaptation to individual and team needs. By focusing on effective communication, empowerment, recognition, development opportunities, and a positive work culture, you will begin to create a highly engaged and motivated workforce.

To build a roadmap with the above in mind you can reach me at mark@smartculture.uk.

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Mark Billage

Mark Billage

Mark’s passion is to help realise individuals’ potential, be they leaders or team members, through empowering organisational culture. He has spent 7 years leading an organisation based in the non profit sector. In that time, he focused on creating a culture that enabled and empowered individuals, with the aim of seeing a high performing team better able to achieve the organisation’s mission.

Our Vision

To train and equip leaders to transform culture, build successful teams and organisations where everyone is seen, heard and valued for their unique contribution.

Scroll to Top