Ten Steps to Building Employee Engagement

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Ten Steps To Building Employee Engagement by Irene Becker
Guest Post on Switch and Switch & Shift Blog Oct 2012

© Irene Becker | www.justcoachit.com | 3Q Leadership™ Blog – Reach-Resonance-Results
Helping smart people and organizations communicate and lead forward smarter, faster and happier   

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.



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  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…or just do it. Call Irene @ 416-671-4726 Skype Irene beckerirene.  She goes the distance for clients face to face, by telephone and virtually.

18 replies
  1. Duane Grove
    Duane Grove says:


    The common theme in all these points is at the heart of the recipe for engagement – personal engagement. My mission has been to help people understand that without personal contact, programs, projects, initiatives, surveys, etc… all under the banner of employee engagement are doomed to fail. I don’t believe you need an elaborate survey or a bunch of consultants to tell the executive team they have a disengaged workforce – just look at the results and talk to people. Too many executives are chasing after tools and techniques to “fix” their engagement problem when all it really requires as you point out is personal contact. It’s all just common sense. When you authentically connect with people and show great awareness and empathy, engagement will begin to go up. Then, when you add to that strategic alignment, people can begin to identify with the direction the organization is going and are more willing to put their own oar in the water and start pulling.

    You are spot on with these points if people would simply embrace them as part of their own leadership style and commit to being connected with their people.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Duane: Thank you so much for your insightful comments and important work. I agree that the litmus test of engagement is the human connection. Helping executives understand what drives engagement and how to build engagement is critical.

      Very best, Irene

  2. Japhet Simon
    Japhet Simon says:


    Great Post. Like the use of Care-frontation to help in engagement. With your permission, I’m going to print, laminate and stick these points on my desk at work. There is a lot of humanity within your writing, which is what a lot of companies lack.


    • irene
      irene says:

      Japhet: Thank you so much for your message. I had a bit of a problem with my blog replies, hence the delay. So glad that you enjoyed the post, and I thank you for your kind comments about my writing SO much Honored that you are going to laminate the points and use them at work!

      Very best, Irene

  3. Kirk Apolo
    Kirk Apolo says:

    Straight forward and easy to comprehend. Impressive stats that validate the importance of becoming a social company. A number of our clients are working towards being internally socially engaged. They are starting to understand that social leadership starts from the top > down. Executives must become ‘social’ executives. May I share this with my LinkedIn groups?
    new games

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Kirk: My apologies for the delay in replying. I was away! Thanks for your comments and sage reflections. I would be delighted if you share the post with your Linked In Group. Look forward to visiting your LI group and learning more about your work.

      Best, Irene


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