As a manager, it is vastly your responsibility to keep the team happy. A high level of employee engagement brings many advantages, such as a better working atmosphere and a higher return on investment, because motivated employees perform better. So a lot of responsibility, because as a leader you are automatically a role model!

You will learn how a good leader defines strategies to include all team members, gives the team recognition and feedback and how emotional intelligence affects the leadership style.

In this article, we will go into more detail about how a manager can strengthen employee engagement. Before we use a best practice example to show how management succeeds even during difficult times such as the corona pandemic, we first clarify the question: What is employee engagement? Then we list four ways to show more leadership and turn your employees into brand ambassadors on the side.

 By working on employee satisfaction, you generate many other positive effects that ultimately positively impact the company’s success. 

What Is Employee Engagement?

For many, this is a fair question! Employee engagement is generally understood to mean the employees’ emotional connection to their job, company, or assignment. It uses to make statements about the quality of the corporate culture of a company. A higher level of employee engagement leads to more advantages for the company!

Best Practice Example: Hilton Hotel Chain

Employee satisfaction fell in many places, especially during the corona pandemic. It is, therefore, all the more critical for managers to know how to motivate their team even in difficult times. The Hilton hotel chain, for example, has achieved this optimally.

In the “Hilton Senior Leadership Business Immersion Program“, employees in management positions are deployed in the heart of the hotel for three days, for example, in cleaning, food preparation or building services. It is how employees and managers get into conversation with one another. Managers show that they are not too good to do practical, physically demanding work, which 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, the executives have suggested many small and significant changes in the Hilton hotel chain. All employees know that they are heard and respected – this is what leadership is all about, in the spirit of “walk a mile in your employee’s shoes!”

Four Ways To Show Leadership And Promote Employee Satisfaction

An essential part of your brand is what is known as employer branding. It states that the products and the characteristics of the brand are necessary as an employer. By promoting good leadership and a good work atmosphere, your brand will get the reputation you want as an attractive employer. It motivates employees and also leads to highly qualified people applying with the right attitude.

To improve the engagement of your team, it is imperative to listen. Instead of implementing changes from above (top-down), you should listen to what your employees want and then implement this together with them ( bottom-up ).

The following three steps will 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, utilizing anonymous questionnaires.

2) Next, it is important to discuss specific challenges or dissatisfactions within the working groups.

3) You should share the results of these measurements with the team in a casual manner. It is how the conversation about improving engagement and measures that lead to more satisfaction can begin.

Share And Maintain Motivation.

As a manager, an essential role model function. This “why” helps to create trust and to infect the team with your enthusiasm. It also includes conveying to your team why you believe in the brand. So don’t be afraid to share your motivation – even if it is very personal.

It includes open and honest communication. Because only if you can inspire your team with the brand will you also succeed with customers. A good example is Google: Employees are proud to be part of the team and convey this attitude to the outside world.

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The following steps will help Google keep the team engaged:

  •  Regular employee satisfaction surveys
  • Creative work opportunities and leisure activities on campus
  • Events such as “online campfires”, in which managers and employees brainstorm and exchange stories together
  • An open, often funny work culture that puts employees in the foreground
  • Successful team members are publicly praised, receive a bonus or some other kind of appreciation.
  • Support of further training

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. Part of the confidence that you listen to your team that it can be honest and that you’re willing to learn and adaptable show.

Mutual trust is an area that is a little neglected in many companies. By letting your team have their say more often and giving them more creative options, similar to Google, you show that you have confidence.

As a manager, you often have to make yourself vulnerable. It means that you have to admit if you don’t know what to do next, if you have no ideas or if you know that a particular decision was wrong. So work on speaking honestly and openly and proactively with your team about the brand and the business.

Authenticity is another critical buzzword when it comes to trust. By talking to your employees at eye level and showing that you are not too good at your work, you gain many trusts. The example of the Hilton hotel chain shows that courage pays off: Managers who work side by side with their team and listen can make a difference and the team gives them value.

Invest In The Work Culture

The work culture is an essential indicator of how things work in a company. It is therefore closely related to employer branding and employee satisfaction. Google shows how employees can retain in the long term. However, the work culture in every company looks a little different.

As a new brand, you have the opportunity to build a good work culture together with your team from the start. With the help of surveys and participatory workshops, you can answer the following questions and put appropriate measures into practice:

  • What are the values ​​that characterize 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?
  • Which leisure activities or other bonuses distinguish us from other employers?
  • Do we offer enough opportunities for disadvantaged groups? Are we a diverse team?
  • Do we learn from and with one another? How do we deal with failure?
  • Do we have the opportunity to get to know each other outside of the desk?

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Creating Social Added Value As A Social Business

Corporate social responsibility is a crucial topic because more and more people want a job to bring about positive change. By conceiving your brand as a social business or developing opportunities within the company to implement social and ecological values, you offer your team this vital opportunity.

It does not mean you have to turn your business model upside down. Instead, it’s about working with the team <span data-preserver-spaces=”true”>to find ways to make the brand more sustainable and social. Indeed, some employees would like to deal specifically with these values. Perhaps you can even set up a start-up within the brand as an entrepreneur? 

Conclusion: Employer Branding As The Key To Employee Satisfaction

A good, modern leader manages to create a pleasant work culture, satisfy employees and recruit new talent repeatedly. It is all the more critical that you, as a leader lead by example. Put your employees and their satisfaction in the foreground. It also automatically improves your employer branding.

A crisis like Corona shows how important leadership is. Take advantage of the current challenges to listen to your employees particularly well to be well prepared for the post-COVID period and any future crises. By communicating honestly and authentically about your goals as a leader, you will build trust and infect the team with your motivation.

Peter High
I've written for the Wall Street Journal, CIO Magazine, CIO Insight, Information Week and several other periodicals. I am also the author of Implementing World Class IT Strategy: How IT Can Drive Organizational Innovation.

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