Female Boss Leading Meeting
ATD Blog

3 Ways You Can Prepare Leaders to Help Solve Your Employee Engagement Problems

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

When your employees are engaged, they view your company as a great place to work and feel that they are appreciated and encouraged to grow. Most importantly, they believe that what they do makes a difference. In turn, they are motivated to offer their very best work, drive results that impact your bottom line, and seek internal opportunities for growth versus looking elsewhere. However, failing to engage employees can lead to costly turnover, poor culture, and overall decreased performance.

Fortunately, your leaders are in the best position to help solve your employee engagement problems.

Read on for three surefire ways you can prepare your leaders to ensure that all your employees can thrive, deliver results, and ultimately propel your organization to new levels of success.

Prepare Leaders to Provide Pathways for Career Growth

Disengaged employees often feel “stuck” and lack clear pathways for career advancement within the company—a huge risk not only for employee engagement but also for retention.

But while nearly two-thirds of leaders acknowledge the importance of improving their ability to identify and develop future talent, fewer than one-quarter of them report receiving training. Leaders want more training in these areas, so it’s our responsibility to equip them with the skills to help develop others, like coaching for growth and delivering feedback. You can also train them to conduct meaningful performance management discussions that focus on the unique and diverse needs, desires, and career aspirations of the people they lead.

Nontraditional growth is often overlooked as an opportunity to engage and retain your best employees. You can shift this mindset by preparing leaders to support development for lateral and nontraditional moves, along with traditional career pathways. Think career lattice, not just career ladder. Equally important is making sure your company culture openly supports this type of movement between roles and job functions.


Prepare Leaders to Lead with Emotional Intelligence

Research by Daniel Goleman—whose name became synonymous with the term when he published Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ—showed that emotional intelligence is twice as important as technical skills and IQ within the workplace. If your leaders lack emotional intelligence, your organization will likely suffer from high turnover, underperforming teams, engagement problems, and overall poor business performance. With the neck-breaking speed of change today, having leaders who can empathize and engage their teams while being catalysts for change is a competitive advantage.

Your employees deserve leaders who excel in making them feel understood, supported, involved, and valued. Start by giving your leaders a baseline assessment for their current level of emotional intelligence, then provide training and development in key competencies that are lacking. By leveraging emotional intelligence, your leaders can drive higher levels of engagement and retention, and better overall business performance.

Prepare Leaders to Foster a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

There is a strong connection between inclusion and employee engagement. According to McKinsey, nearly 75% of employees who report feeling very included in the workplace also report feeling completely engaged in their organizations. Beyond engagement, the benefits of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace are numerous, from higher retention to better innovation, better decision making, and a better bottom line.

DDI’s research shows the following seven behaviors are crucial to an inclusive culture:


1. Build empathy.
2. Communicate inclusively.
3. Run inclusive meetings.
4. Delegate for opportunity.
5. Give honest feedback.
6. Coach inclusively for growth.
7. Resolve conflict fairly.

Focusing on training your leaders in these areas is a great place to start. You’ll make an even bigger difference in your company culture by infusing inclusive leadership into all your development efforts. The bottom line: great leadership is inclusive leadership.


So why is investing in leadership development critical? It’s pretty simple math: better leaders are vital to keeping employees engaged, and engaged employees equal better business.

Unlock your best workforce potential by preparing your organization’s leaders to provide career pathways, lead with emotional intelligence, and foster a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Take the next step in prioritizing leadership development to ensure a positive path for your organization. Better leaders pave the way for a better future.

About the Author

Verity Creedy is vice president of DDI’s Product Management team and an award-winning blogger. Verity is obsessed with building powerful development experiences for leaders, trying to hold a decent plank for two minutes, and keeping indoor plants alive for more than six months.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.