Achieving employee engagement

Jonah Nyoni

Over the last five years, I have been able to talk to different managers or leaders through this column. I am forever indebted that through the written word I have been able to meet great people in my lifetime. One of the most important things for every leader or manager is the ability to lead a team that engages well and symbiotically works towards a common goal.

At times we meet difficult people, and that takes great emotional intelligence to engage with such. Leadership is centred on working with teams or with people towards a greater goal. Your ability to bring the team together is a strength. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” In this article, I seek to help leaders achieve employee engagement.

Great employee engagement maximizes performance and profits. A great leader engages with his employees and creates a friendship with them. It’s no gain to be feared as a leader or manager. There are some leaders that push down instructions to the team member, but that is usually unhealthy. Some want to be feared. A leader has to talk with other team members to achieve buy-in and make them own the dream.

How do we measure employee engagement? They enjoy their work and they refer customers to the company. Disengaged employees cost the organisation, and they usually leave and go with the organisational knowledge and experience. People need to be valued, listened to, and inspired.

Everyone must be on board

When people are on board, it means they understand the idea, or they are involved in co-creating that idea. When planning something, plan with others.

Training and development

Most companies don’t train their employees. Training means giving information, empowering and having a shared vision. Training also means understanding the talents you have, and putting them in the right places to achieve higher results.


We are used to mentorship, which is great but there is also frientorship. The word frientorship was used by Claudia Williams in her Ted talk. She said frientoship is a combination of mentorship, friendship, and leadership. As a boss, don’t be a zombie. Be relatable.  Great leaders don’t only talk about work but ask their workers about their families, careers and everyday work. The more you do that the more you will create friends other than workers. Remember we are all different, so treat people as they want to be treated. Remember, we have different personality types, and that will take a great leader who is able to deal differently with those personality types.

Pay attention

Pay attention to the emotions of your employees. Remember, you are working with emotional beings. Those emotions usually tell us what people are going through. People are not machines; they are emotional beings that feel pain. Pay attention to those small emotional details, they have meaning.

Connect at individual level

It’s said people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. People demand that you touch their hearts before you ask for their hands. Connect with people at the individual level. 

Celebrate achievements

Celebrate all achievements; small or big. In this, learn to say thank you and compliment people for small good things. What is celebrated is usually repeated. Some leaders are quick to point at our mistakes, and pin us to those mistakes every time. They constantly remind us of our sins; especially our past sins and we are bogged down on our negatives rather than our positives.

Happy ambiance

We spend most of our time at work and it must be a happy place. People should look forward to coming to work. How is that possible? Respect people’s thoughts and ideas. Encourage people to be innovative and bring new ideas. Allow people to make mistakes and grow under you as a leader

Personal improvement

Provide opportunities for development and personal growth. Great companies are always empowering their workers.

They know that times are changing, and that means people must be constantly improving.

Allow people to pursue their personal dreams and align with their purpose. A fulfilled person is one that walks in their true purpose.

  • Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker, and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on Twitter @jonahnyoni. Whatsapp: +263 772 581 918

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