Ten Steps to Building Employee Engagement

Continuing on with our series on employee engagement, we offer you this heartfelt and actionable post from blogger Irene Becker. Irene offers up some great wisdom worth chewing on. But don’t stop there. Take action. Find where you can apply some or all of these steps into your leadership. Your employees are counting on it.

You have the right people on the bus, but how do you keep them engaged? Here are ten simple but powerful steps:

Step 1. Make engagement your mantra

Employee engagement, engagement of colleagues and peers, engagement of constituents and stakeholders, engagement of clients and communities, social/digital engagement will make or break your bottom line. You may be able to make a quick buck without engagement, but turning that buck into many bucks, developing an organization that will survive and thrive means building a me to we culture.

Step 2. Get Social

Develop one to one, one to group, virtual and social/digital relationships that stick. The greatest business idea, product or service will not grow, evolve and produce results without human intervention, interaction and collaboration. Innovation and engagement are collaborative. Your people, your employees, colleagues, vendors, stakeholders and the community and large will pave the way for your success or failure.

Step 3. Listen, and listen more

Listen for words, actions, pauses, cues that will tell you what is going on beneath the surface. Develop higher emotional intelligence; improve your self-awareness and awareness of others. Learn to pick up social, cultural, personal, verbal cues that tell you what is important to your audience and use and model these cues to create engagement and build rapport.

Step 4. Go for the gold

Remember the golden rule. Strong relationships are built on shared values, integrity and transparent communication. There is no room for error in a digital world, no room for verbal or written duplicity. Transforming potential into results, challenges into innovative solutions demands a higher degree of engagement, integrity and transparency of communication than ever before.

Step 5. Care first

communicate second because you cannot make a fire with wet wood. USE care-frontation, not confrontation. Develop new ways, a better style of communication that will build a bridge between what is and what can be. Build a clear fence around expected and acceptable, make sure that goals, objectives and expectation are crystal clear, but do it with care-frontation.

Step 6. Fail forward faster and better

When errors occur, fail forward. Admit there has been a failure in and learn to use this failure to drive collaboration and engagement by focusing on the shared objective and how you will work together with mutual respect to attain it. Start training yourself and others to become solution focused, by using errors and challenges that have come to innovate and create better and stronger solutions. Fail forward, faster and better.

Step 7. Take every opportunity to reinforce the foundation of your house

Walk your talk, talk your walk. Take every opportunity to use shared values, objectives and integrity of communication and action to build a ME to WE culture. Embrace and applaud great work, develop new ways to help others fail forward, and get rid of the few bad apples whose values, objectives and integrity are out of sync.

Step 8. Learn and play forward

Make time for learning, embrace and applaud learning opportunities while also taking time to engage in activities that create down time, humor time, fun time; activities that not only drive greater rapport but will also enhance creativity and ideation. Put a healthy dose of learning and fun into all your communication. Set the tone, and tone it up. Negativity will bread more negativity. Fear puts human beings into fight or flight, neither of which drive engagement, empowerment or results.

Step 9. Generate Enthusiasm.

You cannot make a fire from wet wood. Engagement means empowering the others to feel that they can do their best, that they have a valuable contribution to make, and that if they have failed they will use the experience to learn and fail forward. Recognize accomplishments; redirect failure so that people feel free to fail forward. Empower, engage and repeat.

Step 10. Feed hearts.

Make learning, growing and giving REAL. Find new ways to reach out and serve the community at large. Motivate and inspire not only those you employ but all constituents to be part of a greater goal that speaks to contribution and purpose. Show those you lead and serve that you care, and help them care back.

Connect further with Irene

First woman CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of trailblazing accomplishments in business and in the community at large. Irene is an inspiring executive coach, speaker and writer whose R-E-A-C-H methodology and 3Q focus has helped clients achieve breakthrough results in their careers, communication, leadership and lives. Passionate about the integrity of her work, Irene is dedicated to helping change-makers LEAD forward at the speed of change.

For more information on Irene and the services she offers, visit her web site Just Coach It – | The 3Q Edge™ . Follow her on Twitter @justcoachit. Watch this video interview of Irene Becker, where she talks about leading forward at the speed of change.


Photo courtesy of Calle

Executive Coach, Consultant, Trainer, Speaker and Writer, Irene is a trailblazer whose R-E-A-C-H™ methodology and 3Q Edge™ focus have helped forward-thinking people and organizations in Canada, USA and Europe USE strengths, changes, challenges and failures to achieve breakthrough results in their careers, communication, leadership and lives; exceptional results that stick and grow at the speed of change. Yes, 3Q is unique in that it helps people build the mindset and skill-set that enables and optimizes potential in the face of change and challenges. First female CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of accomplishments in business and in the community at large. Passionate about the integrity of her work, Irene just returned from her first keynote in the UK and works with clients face to face, by telephone, Skype or video conferencing.

  • This is fantastic. This series just keeps getting better. Irene, I love the way you put this together, especially the “Care first” mentality. Care-frontation might be my new favorite word. Ha.

    I love #10. Feed Hearts. Wow. What a great title. The last sentence sums it up for me;

    “Show those you lead and serve that you care, and help them care back”

    Thanks again guys for this series and getting some great guests on board.

    Keep on bringing it Irene. You Rock !


  • The first two steps are the foundations for the others. Besides this, they represent not only the make up of the professional life, but the forging of citizenship.

    Congratulations, Irene


  • Super article Irene! Succinct and simple.

  • An inspiring post Irene to help foster discretionary effort, Your Top 10 are all doable, actually “must do’s”, for small and large organizations that seek to fully engage both employees and customers.

    For a woman who was the first CEO of a steel company in Canada, you have both HEART and the Intellect to Make a Difference, and you do so in many ways with your blogs, work with your clients and your trainings.

    I especially am attracted to your #5, CARE First. So many people have the Power to CARE and can release this powerful energy across all nine major Career-Life Roles. I have a Career-Life link below that discusses this concept of CARE as the very core of Career and see career not as only paid work, but multitple roles, ONE of which is paid work. EACH of these roles allows people to give/or receive CARE and when this occurs, an actual energy release occurs (ER) and CAREER comes alive in ways that promote discretionary effort, work family balance, and wellness.

    Thanks Irene and here is a link about this for any interested folks EdC http://bit.ly/dWOQCb

  • Very insightful post, Irene. One method that could be added to a few of your suggestions is real-time feedback. Often, employees are given feedback in quarterly or yearly performance reviews, which doesn’t necessarily help them in the present. Conversely, regular feedback and coaching sessions help the employee to figure out what they are doing right or wrong now, not six months or a year down the road. This builds better engagement — and therefore performance — sooner rather than later.

  • I really like these insights and wholeheartedly agree with them. I would also maybe add a Step #11 (somewhere in the mix) – Put the employee before the customer. Not that there’s anything wrong with being customer-centric, but I personally believe that if you fail to take care of the employee, then the employee will fail to take care of the customer.
    Excellent insights, looking forward to more. Thank you, Irene.

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