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6 Ways Executives Can Advance Employee Engagement

Apr 07, 2022
Six Ways Executives Can Advance Employee Engagement
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Today, organizations depend on the commitment and engagement of their teams to thrive more than ever. A fully engaged workforce can take the company to unprecedented levels by boosting productivity, limiting employee turnover, supporting the company’s strategy, and lifting the employer’s brand.

Recent reports indicate that 60% of employees are not engaged, 15% are actively disengaged at work and only 25% are actively engaged. As a result, leaders should strive to improve employee engagement at all costs and settle for nothing less than a highly engaged workforce.

Sadly, achieving this is easier said than done, whether in a corporation or a nonprofit organization. It requires a laid-out strategy to succeed. Here are a few recommendations for bolstering employee engagement in an organization.

1. Nonprofit executive search

There are several ingredients to successful nonprofit organizations, but strong leadership often gets underestimated. Nonprofit executive search concerns the organization board’s efforts to identify and attract competent top-level leadership.

Usually, it involves the recruiting activities of defining the core responsibilities of the leader, formulating the job description, identifying the qualifications for the role, attracting a pool of candidates, and matching the candidates’ qualifications. In addition, organizations can conduct the executive search themselves or hire a professional executive search firm for assistance.

Providing exemplary leadership plays a critical role in enhancing employee engagement by integrating engagement drivers like articulating the vision and providing support. In addition, it goes beyond the organization’s short-term goals because good leaders help make employees satisfied with their jobs, more committed, and more confident about the nonprofit’s future.

Leaders need to demonstrate to their teams that they are the most engaged people to provide a shining example. However, many leaders focus mainly on employee improvement and forget the critical area of increasing their performance. As a result, these leaders do not portray the same level of enthusiasm they expect from the team.

Great leaders will know there is a need to review their performance constantly. When it comes to engagement, they need to reflect the standards they expect from the workforce.

2. Set realistic goals


Every organization has a set of objectives the team wants to achieve within specified timelines. The goals increase productivity and encourage employees to commit to achieving them.

However, many nonprofit employees do not love their quantitative nature, and often, even the most productive employees dread performance reviews.

Leaders can change the general feel about performance measurements by changing their organizational goals approach. But first, every leader must understand that rigid and unrealistic goals are more likely to demoralize employees and reduce productivity while leading to higher turnover.

They can engage their teams in the goal-setting process. The goals directly affect the employees, so engaging them in the entire process makes much sense. Leaders should take charge and lead the team in developing specific, measurable, actionable, result-oriented, and time-conscious goals. That way, they increase the likelihood of achieving them and bring a sense of ownership and commitment to the plans.

Commitment is incredibly high when employees’ individual goals link to the organization’s bigger picture. When they can directly see the impacts of their performance on organizational objectives, this encourages them to perform better and become more accountable for their progress.

Also, they can constantly review the goals based on actual seasons. It should not mean that the organization’s targets will always be flexible, but revisiting the objectives and making adjustments are necessary as the realities of events and needs change.

3.Encourage interaction among employees


While it can be difficult for leaders to make friends with their employees, creating an organizational culture that encourages healthy interpersonal interactions among teams is still helpful. These exchanges can include the leaders, workers, and even the public.

Good personal interactions improve employees’ morale by bringing positive feelings, job satisfaction, increased productivity, and the public can also develop positive attitudes towards the organization.

Leaders need to understand that employees can recognize when leadership cares about them and understands their interests, challenges, and hopes. For example, when employees know the leader cares about their wellbeing, they may open up about their challenges and become more caring for other colleagues. 

Leaders can also encourage positive employee interactions by pairing workers with different demographics to collaborate on projects and encourage cross-team collaboration.

Open relations with the team members will also help the leader identify potential issues before they become significant and impactful. At the same time, these consultations can allow employees to open up and help each other and promote positive relationships.

4. Provide regular constructive feedback

Most workers crave feedback after they lead an event or accomplish an important task, and the leader’s response significantly affects their engagement level. Positive feedback is more desirable and is most likely to impact positively. On the other hand, negative feedback is also essential but may not inspire the employee. Even leaders tend to feel some discomfort and awkwardness when giving negative feedback.

In any case, leaders need to learn to give constructive feedback to help improve employee performance. Constructive feedback falls between negative and positive feedback, and is meant to correct, inspire, and lead to positive change.

When giving constructive feedback, leaders can start by commending positive behavior or work and then point out problematic issues they want to be changed. They can then recommend some tips that can help the employee improve next time.

Typically, the feedback is corrective and future-oriented and helps to motivate continuous learning and positive change.

5. Learn to honor individual differences


People differ in many aspects, so it may not be helpful to adopt any one-size-fits-all solutions and policies in an organization. Instead, leaders need to understand employee differences in terms of their age, gender, religion, race, departments they work in, opinions, level of education, and preferences, to name just a few areas.

Leaders of smaller organizations should know each employee personally and professionally to help them better manage the uniqueness of their team makeup. That way, it becomes possible to integrate the differences in decision-making, allowing every team member and their opinion to be valued. That feeling paves the way for higher employee engagement and better performance. For larger organizations, this approach can be used at a division level.

6. Build trust within teams

Great leaders know that a culture of trust is critical for organizational success. Employees ought to trust each other and their organization, and the employer also needs to reciprocate with trust. However, while most leaders understand its importance, some struggle to foster it effectively.

Good communication is an effective way of building trust. In organizations where employees and leaders communicate well, these teams are likely to be more cooperative and effective. In addition, employees with stronger relationships have a greater awareness of and trust each other. Leaders who actively communicate with workers show they care about them and will listen to them.

Managers who are honest and fair in their dealings and hold workers accountable with the same criteria can instill trust in their teams. Instead of using punitive programs, leaders who promote moral standards will grow a healthier organization.

Final Thoughts


For employee engagement, exceptional leaders develop exceptional workers, and that’s why the executive search comes first. A good leader has critical goals in mind and knows that the attainment of the objectives depends heavily on employee cooperation.

As a result, the leader who engages the team in every step and helps them achieve their targets will help the organization succeed. In addition, good leaders communicate the desired outcomes well and demonstrate trust in their employees by assigning roles and empowering them to achieve those outcomes.

A leader who follows this approach can more easily keep teams be productive and engaged.


Author Bio: Since 1997 David Hutchinson, a nonprofit executive recruiter at Cause Leadership, has successfully placed senior-level candidates with a broad spectrum of organizations in the charitable sector. He also has a great interest in helping charitable organizations diversify, become younger in their leadership, and better represent their own clients.

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