Employee Development and Engagement

How to Develop and Engage Employees

Employee Developmental goals…what are they and what role does the manager play? How does the manager engage the employees in this process?

Development goals are goals set by an employee,who looks to the manager for the tools and training to be able to achieve them. Most managers however are still micromanaging and controlling, such as telling employees what goals or projects they should pursue in order to improve themselves. The problem with that is when you are told by someone else what kind of goals to pursue and they are not your own, it becomes a problem because you do not have an invested interest in them.

When I coach leaders I ask how they would feel if someone else told them what career to pursue or what projects to peruse or more importantly, told you to work on projects that are set to make the manager look good. When I ask  questions such as this, it makes them start to see employee goal setting in a different lens.

Meeting with the employee…

It is important to listen to your employees during one on one meetings, which should focus mainly on developmental plans and feedback on the employee’s performance. I usually coach leaders to schedule two meetings; one for feedback on performance and a  second on the developmental plan separately. In many cases, if the leader chooses to focus on positive feedback, the two meetings can be combined. A leader’s role in these meetings is to be present and supportive and provide training so the employees can be successful.

FocusOnAchievements-AgnesMwilaCoachPreparation on the leader’s part is to be ready to listen and ask important questions which help the employee start to figure out his/her way to meet their goals.

When giving feedback, focus on good achievements, highlight those and discuss those tasks not done properly, and offer opportunities for improvement. Ask the employee what tools are needed (training, shadowing etc.) to help him to be successful next time.

Avoid focusing too much on failures. The manager and employee can participate in the brain storming of ideas, this is a great way to get to the right idea of how to support the employee’s goal. Include employees in any idea generation activities. When employee feel that they respected and included, they are more productive.

This is how a manager becomes successful. I think one of the most unpleasant things a manager can do is to have favorites in his team. Those who do not have to do anything but are treated with respect all the time. Some employees are left out, feeling helpless and frustrated. This happens all the time in large companies, sometimes these people are amazingly talented and are highly skilled, but for whatever reason the manager chooses to ignore them.

So what makes a manager do this? My opinion is that, these people have at one time challenged the manager, or questioned some activity, so to the manager, it looks like the employee is standing in the way. It is sad that managers do not like feedback or to be challenged. They often take these things as threats to their jobs, so they favor those employees who do not question them and agrees with everything they do. Those people with skills, leave
the company and it is a big loss to organizations.

How can organizations keep skilled and talented people?

CompanyActivity-AgnesMwilaCoachThey have to engage them. Employee Engagement has been a hot topic in most companies…but the meaning of engagement has been totally misunderstood! Most companies think when they engage employees in activities, such as games, company picnics and rewards then magic happens, employees are engaged, just like that!

Employee Involvement defines Employee engagement as how the employee feels about working at an organization. Let’s take a minute here…

Here is a scenario: Last week my department had many activities which I participated in and had a very good time. However, my happiness and excitement ended when I come back to the work area. There I feel left out, unexpected, the manager talked to me in a high pitched voice sounding frustrated because I asked about how to be included in more work. How is my engagement now? How am feeling at this time?

So the activities and my experiences did not get me engaged, I am still feeling disengaged because the place where I spend most of my time to do my work is not inclusive, not challenging enough and there is no respect for me. When the manager shows disrespect to an employee, all the people in that department will treat them the same.


If companies want their people to be engaged, they should change how they hire their managers and how they train them. That is another paper to write. “How to higher the right managers who drive engagement in the organizations”

If your goal is to become a better, more effective leader – Please contact me  at 425-879-1677 or email me from my Contact Form.


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