How can business leaders play a pivotal role in employee engagement?

As working from home continues to be the choice of many, fewer opportunities for face-to-face meetings and those casual water cooler moments mean it’s more important than ever for business leaders to have a motivating digital presence.

There is growing evidence to support the idea that those in C-suite positions have a pivotal role to play in aligning their employees with a greater organisational purpose. It’s the responsibility of the leadership team to remind employees that, wherever they are in the world, they are all still working together towards a shared goal.

And it’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ – 86% of employees surveyed by Edelman in 2021 expected to hear CEOs speak out about wider societal issues. As discussed in our previous blog post on human leadership styles, employees are now looking to the heads of their organisation for more than just business strategy.

So, if you’re looking for ways to boost employee engagement in your business, there are three key questions that you should consider:

  1. How can I convince the leadership team that it’s important to be more visible to internal stakeholders?

It makes sense that engaged employees make for better business, but business leaders look to make decisions based on evidence. If you can show them that having a visible leadership presence will have a positive impact on the bottom line, then they are more likely to work with you to make it happen.

Present them with relevant stats on employee engagement like the ones below, and research successful leadership examples that are particularly focused on your sector or industry.

  • Gallup found that firms with high levels of engagement see 41% lower absenteeism rates and a 17% increase in productivity.
  • The same Gallup study also found that firms with high levels of employee engagement reported 21% higher profitability.
  • The Great Place to Work 2021 Global Employee Engagement Benchmark study found that employees at globally great workplaces report consistently positive experiences of leadership, purpose in their work and meaningful connections with their colleagues.
  1. What type of messaging should be coming from the leadership team?

To ensure that all employees are aligned with the company’s vision, it is important that business and strategy updates come from the top.

The leadership team should be the face and voice of the business, enthusing their staff about where the company is headed and encouraging them to be a part of it.

Other key messages that should come from the CEO include:

  • Big business news, e.g. significant business wins
  • The company’s approach to wider societal issues, e.g. sustainability commitments
  • Wellbeing news, e.g. the endorsement of mental health awareness
  1. What tools can I use to increase leadership visibility across the business once the C-suite are on board?

Key messages from the leadership team must be heard by all stakeholders and delivered in a way that is engaging and accessible. You want to be able to strike a balance so that the leadership team appear present, but don’t inundate employees.

The main thing is to keep messaging clear, relevant and regular. It’s also good to consider which medium or channel would be best for different messages. Aim to get a good mix of content formats, such as:

  • Short videos for a visual connection with leadership
  • Blog posts for more relaxed or insightful messages
  • E-newsletters which provide a space for regular updates or personal successes
  • Social media channels like Yammer to instantly broadcast news to all staff
  • Staff intranets which are good for hosting thought-leadership pieces

If you want support in implementing leadership communications that will engage employees right across the business, then talk to us about how we can help.