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Ask a leadership coach

Ask a leadership expert:
Tips to Boost Employee Engagement

What to Look for in a Leader by Jenn DeWall Authentic Leadership Speaker &  Career Coach. Jenn works with emerging leaders and mature leaders to help them show up authentically and build human-centered teams and cultures.

Tips to Boost Employee Engagement​

Do you struggle with a lack of engagement or high turnover? It’s a common challenge, and it actually has an easier solution than you think. Many people instantly think that pay or an in-office ping pong table are the only ways to build engagement at work, and while those are amazing offerings, they are not the only thing!


Here are my five tips for how you can build engagement with your team.


  1. Treat your staff like they are adults. Many times leaders make the mistake of micromanaging or removing autonomy from the day-to-day responsibilities which can create a feeling of inadequacy and frustration on behalf of the employee. Trust that your employee wants to do well and wants to work hard for you. However, you’ll never let them show their strengths if you do not trust them. One simple tip, delegate a project to someone and describe the outcome, but let them determine the best way to get there. Not only is this a great act of trust, but you’re also building competency on your team.

  2. Be real. People want to work for people, not robots. Many people were conditioned to have two parts of themselves, their at work self and their out of work self. By believing we need to show up in this way, we end up showing up as someone that might be more difficult to relate to. Build relatability by sharing who you are, your struggles, mistakes, and what makes you human. No, I’m not saying to share your deepest, darkest secrets, I am saying that it’s okay to be a little more vulnerable and share who you are.

  3. Be flexible. Similar to treating your staff as adults, allow your staff flexibility. You could be flexible about the start/end time or whether someone comes into the office or works remotely. Give people the right to determine the schedule and work environment that works best for them if you are able. The more control an employee has regarding their time and managing both work and life priorities, the more engaged they will be as they feel like you are supporting them as the whole person.

  4. Conduct motivation and recognition conversations. Conduct one on one conversations with each of your employees and ask them the following questions. 1. What do you like about working here? 2. What motivates you to do your best work? 3. What prevents you from doing your best work? 4. How do you like to be rewarded? By asking these questions, you are making a personal connection, showing them that you care about them as an individual and their career within the organization.

  5. Encourage personal development time. As a leader, it is your job to develop your team. Development opportunities are a great way to retain and engage employees. If you want to build engagement, encourage your team to take 30-60 minutes each week to work on their professional development. It could be taking a class to learn a relevant skill, reading an industry article, or listening to a podcast. Build in time during your one on one meeting to discuss what they’re working on. It can be a great opportunity to show them you care about their development and you may even learn something new too!


Jenn DeWall is a leadership and career coach, leadership keynote speaker, facilitator, trainer, and podcast host. Jenn is a Millennial leadership expert based in Denver, CO. 

Are you looking for an engaging keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, or trainer? Book Jenn for your leadership needs today!

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