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5 Proven Keys to Employee Engagement and Collaboration


Employee engagement. Seems that every time I look at Twitter, LinkedIn, or any leadership site someone is talking about it.

Yet with all this chatter, up to 88% of employees and 80% of leaders reportedly still do not have passion for their work.

Below are 5 keys to employee engagement that, if implemented consistently, have proven results in building a culture of collaboration and engagement.

1. Involve everyone

  • Employees and leaders need to clearly understand the vision and see their role in it.

  • Provide clearly stated, measurable outcomes and ensure employees understand why they are important.

  • Allow employees who do the work every day to solve problems and create solutions for achieving outcomes.

  • Recognize that everyone is necessary for success. Treat all workgroups, unions, and contractors as respected partners. 
2. Create structures to support and sustain

  • Establish work teams to address specific concerns and practice continuous improvement. Assist teams in their development through chartering, removing barriers, and communication protocols.

  • Provide an online workspace for team collaboration and communication.

  • Build a corporate structure that can commit the resources necessary for change, facilitate and support engagement, and mediate elevated concerns.

  • Ensure there is a corporate commitment to the new way of working - using structured problem solving to improve the business, efficiency, quality and the work environment.

  • Commit corporately that no one will suffer job loss as a direct result of team efforts to create a more efficient workplace.

  • Stay the course. Understand that lasting change requires attention and there will be setbacks.
3. Prepare and equip leaders

  • Different approaches require different leadership behaviors. Explain the new expectations and provide leaders with training in the skills needed to lead differently.

  • Leaders must model courage and commitment and reinforce expectations throughout the organization.

  • Reinforce and sustain behavioral change with on-going coaching and feedback.

  • Pay attention to the middle – front line leaders are often overlooked in engagement efforts. Recognize their specific concerns and provide training, support, and encouragement.
4. Create competency

  • It's not enough to tell employees that they are empowered to solve problems and make decisions – they will need to learn new skills.

  • Provide just-in-time learning so employees can quickly put new behaviors into action.

  • Develop internal "champions" to be trainers and supporters to maintain momentum. Identifying and embedding peers as 'experts' in the new process will accelerate the acceptance and implementation of new concepts.

  • Involve employees in designing the training to ensure it is relevant to their work.
5. Share the story

  • Celebrate and share successes throughout the process.

  • Ask employees to identify and work on 'quick wins' then highlight them to generate excitement about the change.

  • Educate employees about the business and metrics so they can evaluate their own progress.

  • Provide on-going and honest communication about challenges.  Remember, with your new approach employees are partners in running the business so communicate with them as such.

  • Identify employees from all workgroups and train them to be active participants in creating messages that will resonate with their peers.

 Discover how the FAA saved $17 million annually using the 5 keys for employee engagement.

View The Case Study ›

Vicki Kelsey is a member of the consulting team at Overland Resource Group and President/CEO of VKAL, Inc. She can be reached at

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Topics: Collaboration Employee Engagement