Skip to content

Intentionally Engage Employees

business meeting

May 10, 2023

Ever get the sense your employees don’t care and just go through the motions? They show up on time and put in their hours, but your productivity’s flat and morale feels kind of blah. Assuming you’ve hired people competent for their roles and given them the tools to succeed, what gives? If you want your people to buy into your company mission and vision, you can’t expect it to just happen.  You have to intentionally engage employees. 


Why Should You Care If They Care?

Everyone talks about intrinsic motivation and a job well done serving as its own reward. Sure, that plays a part, but other factors come into play (why do you pay them to do stuff?). 


Engagement doesn’t mean job satisfaction. Employees usually feel both satisfied and unsatisfied with portions of their work all the time. Instead, you want to instill motivation and passion for their role in your company. To do that, you must create a work environment where the employees truly care about your business and its success. 


This sort of environment helps you retain employees and customers. Did you know you can retain 36% more customers if you build alignment between your management and your employee teams? And you’ve probably heard that up to 82% of employees said they’d quit a job because of a bad manager. 


Build from the Bottom

A common problem revolves around leaders making decisions without frontline worker input. Individual contributors complain that as the ones doing the work, leaders should involve them in decisions impacting their roles. Whenever possible, leaders absolutely should ask their employees for feedback.


However, sometimes leaders have to make decisions for the greater good of the organization that can’t go up for debate. These could result from industry regulation changes, business health analyses, or even from new competition pressures.


Regardless of the scenario, leaders must keep communication lines open, treating them as a two-way street. They should explain changes, whether they’re accepting input, and offer multiple ways to ask questions or submit comments. They should also expect to communicate early and often.


Great Expectations 

More than a century ago, Charles M. Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel solved an issue with steel productivity at his plant. It involved writing a number in chalk on the shop floor at the end of a shift. 


Long story short, without any fanfare, Mr. Schwab wrote down the number of “heats” a particular shift had made. Upon discovering the meaning of the number, when the next shift ended, they smudged it out, replacing it with their (higher) number of heats. This went on and on until a once-struggling plant became the most productive one.


The point? By setting a clear expectation, employees know what they are aiming for. Good workers will nearly always hit or exceed expectations… especially if you make it a friendly competition. 


Recognize Results

In the spirit of friendly competition, reward results, not just effort. Effort without results doesn’t help a company or a team. Someone could work really hard on making spreadsheets, but if they don’t offer valuable information that moves the needle on company goals, what was the point? 


Likewise, ensure you acknowledge and reward employees who go the extra mile when their contributions do create value. Those high-performing employees can burn out if left unchecked.

These suggestions provide just a few ways to intentionally engage your employees. If you’re looking for additional resources, consider reaching out to fellow Chamber members in our business coaches and consultants directory.



Scroll To Top