How to Engage Employees for Business Success

Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 09:15

Guest post by Gina Brooks 

We’ve been talking about employee engagement for a while now and in all the literature and research that is focused on this topic, the results are the same:

Engaged employees perform better.

Kip Tindall is CEO of The Container Store which has been voted in the top 10 of the best places to work in the US by Fortune Magazine for the last 14 years. I think he represents what a difference engaged employees can make when he says ‘1 Great Person = 3 Good People’.

So what does employee engagement really mean?

An engaged person is someone who is both able and willing to contribute maximum effort in their work. Both the organisation and the individual employee need to take responsibility and work on consistent engagement.


How willing are people to contribute at their maximum level if results aren’t being achieved?

Often, new employees are highly motivated in the beginning – a good on-boarding program will ensure they are up to speed with the organisation’s values, systems, policies and processes, and have the skills necessary to produce a quality job.

An ongoing individual development plan that is regularly completed and reviewed ensures that this employee’s skills are continuously developed, improving not only results, but also the self-confidence, job satisfaction and engagement of the person.

But the individual also needs to identify their own goals and paths that align with the workplace. This may include partaking in coaching and mentoring that further develops their skills and their confidence, which will help them to meet and exceed expectations.


Organisations need to allow their employees to feel like they can achieve the things that they want to, helping them realise their desire to acquire things that they value.

Current research shows that things workers value, include feeling like they are:

  • Part of a team
  • An important part of the organisation
  • Worth investing in training
  • Performing work that is meaningful and has a purpose

Find a way for them to achieve their personalised definition of success that mutually benefits all parties. Don’t forget – “The less appreciated we feel our work is, the more money we want to do it.”

Make it a daily activity. Promote shared responsibility by specifically recognising any discretionary efforts that align with both the business goal as well as the individual’s goal. Most importantly, leaders need to engage themselves with each individual, focusing on fostering trust and leading by example.

Leaders that share their authentic self with their team, by sharing their goals and values, help build a team’s trust and confidence, thereby increasing their willingness to contribute maximum effort in their work.

So next time you’re concerned that your employees are feeling disengaged, increase the frequency of your recognition strategies. Besides increasing engagement – it also just feels good.

This article originally appeared on the Training x Design website.

Gina Brooks has been helping businesses maximise their performance for over 20 years. As Director of Training x Design, she designs and delivers customised learning solutions that provide sustainable performance improvements while enhancing staff engagement. Gina loves challenging and changing attitudes towards people development and work. She believes that the best business strategies come second to having a skilled and motivated workforce.