How Great Managers Can Drive Employee Engagement

Are your employees underperforming? This happens even to star employees when they don’t feel motivated to do their job anymore. Luckily, great managers can drive employee engagement by reconnecting with their workers. To boost engagement, you must find out what drives the people to do their best job every day.

Great company culture can skyrocket productivity and retention rates, and here’s how to achieve it.

1. Communicate with Your Employees

Employees who don’t communicate with their managers either face-to-face or over the phone are much more likely to be disengaged. And by communicating, we don’t mean throw tasks at them and bug them until it’s done. Spend a few minutes getting to know your employees on a personal level. Talk about family, values, or aspirations. Create a relaxed and safe environment. Encourage them to ask questions, give honest feedback and suggestions, and share their concerns. If employees dread talking to theirs managers and are not encouraged to share their insight, projects can drag on and give poor results.

No two employees are the same. Great managers know how to motivate each individual. Some people give their best results when under pressure, while others will break down. Some are driven by the results, money, and praise while others are more interested in the purpose of what they’re doing. The best managers are the ones that figure out how to approach and motivate each employee individually. You don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure things out. Ask the right questions, and your employees will be more than happy to tell you what drives them.

2. Lead by Example

If you expect your employees to be enthusiastic about their work, you need to show your enthusiasm! Do your best not to get upset by setbacks and stay focused on the goal. Always be there to answer questions and provide guidance, no matter how busy you are. Be open in communication and always arrive to work on time and with a positive attitude. This is a lot to ask. But if you’re constantly late, grumpy and too busy for anything, your employees will pick up on that.

As a manager, you have to be a leader in the workplace. Your employees are looking up to you so always do your best and be accountable. If you make a mistake, admit it. This will show everyone that it’s okay to make mistakes. Also, it will encourage taking responsibility. Don’t show your employees that making a mistake is a disaster. Don’t cover it up or shift the blame. If there’s something wrong with your projects, you need to know so you and your team can take action.

3. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

If you don’t set clear goals and expectations for your employees, they will end up frustrated. They won’t know what’s expected and what they need to do. This is one of the most common reasons employees don’t feel engaged in the workplace. You must set expectations early on. Outline what they need to achieve, how to achieve it, and when it needs to be done. Be open to answer any questions and receive feedback. Your employees will know some of the processes better than you do, so their insight can be invaluable.

Other than answering questions, make sure your team has the resources to achieve the goal. Don’t just give them the task and consider it done. Note their concerns and suggested solutions. Ask them if they think they have everything they need to complete the project on time. If they don’t, consider providing additional resources, manpower, or extending the deadline. Also set expectations regarding communication. Tell them when you expect updates on the progress and break things down by role.

4. Focus on Strengths

Each employee has their unique strengths. Great managers focus on strengths and allow their employees to excel in their role. Give each employee the tasks they enjoy doing and they’re good at. Let them become experts in their field through experience. Rely on their specific knowledge and let them know they’re appreciated and valuable. And it’s okay to shift tasks every once in a while to see if your employees can ‘swim’. Just don’t make it a standard practice.

5. Provide Opportunities for Growth

Most employees, especially younger generations, want to grow professionally. If you don’t provide opportunities for growth, they will start looking for new opportunities on their own. Other than that, they won’t be up-to-date with the industry trends, and performance rates will drop. Whenever you can, provide coaching and e-learning for employees to help them do their job better. Send them to seminars and let them apply the new knowledge in their workplace. For some employees, even a workshop on emotional intelligence, or managing their work-life balance will do wonders for engagement.

6. Let Employees Make Decisions

Employees can get frustrated if they have to wait for approval on every decision they have to make. Also, your employees might know your organization’s processes better than you. They see every day what can go wrong and what has gone wrong in the past. And they have probably already thought about potential solutions. If they have to go through the too much red tape, chances are they will get frustrated and disengaged along the way. Let your employees make some of the decisions on their own. This will take some of the burdens off your back, and your workers will feel more empowered and motivated. Of course, there are some decisions you have to make but don’t micromanage.

If you want to boost engagement, give your team some authority and let them feel accountable. Don’t back away completely. Be there for discussions and consultation, but also empower your employees.

7. Celebrate Success

Engaged employees feel appreciated for their work. If an employee or a team has contributed to the organization’s success, make sure to call them up on it. Explain what they have helped achieve and why it’s important for the company’s bottom line. This will engage high-performers and motivate the others to work harder. Other than praise, show appreciation with bonuses and promotions whenever possible. People want to feel appreciated and to know that their work is making a difference. If their hard work goes unnoticed, their enthusiasm and engagement will drop.


According to Gallup’s reports, only 30% of employees in the US are engaged in the workplace. Worldwide, the engagement levels are at 13% overall. These statistics can only improve with great managers who are also leaders in their workplace. Employees want to be recognized, empowered, and appreciated. But above all, they want their manages to set clear goals and expectations.

Here’s a recap of how great managers can drive employee engagement:

  • Communicate effectively

  • Lead by example

  • Set clear goals and expectations

  • Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses

  • Provide opportunities for growth

  • Let employees make decisions

  • Celebrate successes

About the author

Lucy Benton is a writing coach, an editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently works at She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on Twitter.