How To Engage Employees For Maximum Impact?

How to engage employees is one of the most critical topics in business literature. When Gallup calculates the economic value of a highly engaged workforce, we all want to know how to do it. However, after reading an article by By Todd Nordstrom, I wonder if we are asking the wrong question. Todd states: Engagement is a choice of the employee. It means they give their discretionary effort. You can’t force it…focus on providing the best employee experience possible that makes them want to choose to engage in their work.

Todd’s statement reminds me that employee engagement is not something that we can acquire. A competitive salary or corporate trinkets cannot buy the engagement of an employee. When employees chose to engage, it is the result of providing an experience. Maybe a good analogy is a farmer. She cannot make her crops grow. She can only provide the best environment possible for her crops to flourish.

Who is Responsible for the Employee Experience?

In two personal interviews with CEOs of large healthcare systems, they explained how they approached employee engagement. They did NOT demand it, nor did they blame the lack of engagement on the employee. They put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of leaders and managers. Managers’ performance was graded in part by their subordinates’ engagement levels. When engagement scores fell below specific thresholds, the CEO removed them, or their work units received a thorough assessment to understand why. If engagement scores were in the middle 50%, the manager received a coach to assist them. One CEO required that the manager receive two performance reviews each year until the team’s engagement levels improved.

How to Engage Employees In a Consistent Experience

The result, placing the responsibility for engagement on managers’ shoulders, was consistently high employee engagement levels. One has achieved Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award for 14 consecutive years. If it is true that the number one reason workers leave their employer is a bad boss, then it is time bosses accept responsibility for NON-engagement or active DIS-engagement of employees.

See Todd’s full article at:, published November 14, 2019