Skip to main content

Alumni in Action

EdgeUp: The Leader’s Role in Employee Motivation and Engagement

By Chris Malina

October 6, 2022

Regardless of job satisfaction, many employees report not being engaged or motivated at work. When employees are feeling burnt out, unappreciated, or just not connected to their company’s mission, they frequently become less productive or seek out other work—two things that can negatively impact a business’ bottom line.

Managers, however, can play a key role in countering this lack of connection. During this EdgeUp webinar, Vicki Kampmeier with WSB’s Center for Professional and Executive Development shares strategies for keeping employees engaged, motivated, and performing at their best.

Here are five things managers can start doing today:

Ask employees for their feedback

This signals to the employee that their words and feelings matter. Employee feedback can also unearth insights to streamline processes, help keep work on track, and allow for real-time coaching. “Make the art of giving and receiving feedback your superpower,” Kampmeier says. “You have to get comfortable with that.”

Engage employees in setting individual and company goals

There’s frequently a trickle-down effect when it comes to goal-setting; the company outlines a strategy, which dictates the goals of managers, which then dictates the goals of employees. To increase engagement and buy-in, Kampmeier suggests allowing employees to help shape both individual and company goals. “When employees feel like they’re part of that conversation, they’re willing to put in the extra effort,” she says.

Let employees know you care

Caring is much more than just thanking employees for their work (although it’s a great thing to do). It requires going deeper and leading with empathy. “Caring about employees means genuinely listening to their feedback, providing them options and alternatives with choosing how they want to work, and allowing them to make decisions,” Kampmeier says.

Be transparent

Transparency produces trust, and trust is critical to the success of any manager-employee relationship. Sharing information also provides clarity to employees and an assurance they’re on the right track. Adds Kampmeier: “When employees feel out of the loop, they become uncertain. And the more uncertainty they feel, the less motivated they are.”

Learn what makes each employee tick

Learning about each employee’s specific personality type can be a great way to increase motivation by playing to an employee’s strengths. Personality tests and assessments, such as DiSC or Myers-Briggs, can help with this effort. “They offer valuable insights that can be leveraged for growth, motivation, and alignment,” says Kampmeier.

Vicki Kampmeier is a results-oriented leader with over 30 years of leadership experience in operational and human resource roles for a Fortune 1000 company. Her career has been guided by her devotion to helping others tap into their full potential. She started her own consulting practice, Katalyst Coaching and Consulting, in 2018 to focus on her passions of coaching and leadership development training. Kampmeier has also served as an instructor at the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional and Executive Development since 2019.