Without engagement in leadership, goodbye talent!

Without engagement in leadership, goodbye talent!

Monday, 14 may 2018 | Redacción CEU

When talent is the big bet of a company, the success seems to be found by default. Achieving that in a working environment immersed in a transformation process and marked by the change, that desired and fruitful talent does not cross the doors of the company to join the competitor is not so simple. Talent is as difficult to recruit as easy to lose. When companies invest a lot in looking for it and little in keeping it, what they win on one hand, they lose on the other. What do companies have to take into account to carry out a good employee engagement? What is the “engaged” leadership?


Involvement, motivation, loyalty, fidelity or responsibility are just some of the values that employers want to see reflected among the members that are part of their staff. These corporate values, although innate for many professionals, do not appear within the framework of the company spontaneously and naturally, they have to be promoted, measured and managed. When the experts in HR make a call for the proper employee engagement, they understand that in this action, the involvement is crucial, not only the professionals with themselves and their work, but the one of the own companies too. The commitment in this case must be reciprocal.

Employee engagement must be integrated into the DNA of the companies and fit within their company culture to be effective. It is useless to demand that the employees show an exceptional commitment, if the companies do not encourage and promote clear and defined values within the firms, because in this case this commitment will be broken sooner or later. If the engagement is not real for both parties, this lack of involvement will have serious consequences like the final goodbye to talent.

An also engaged leadership

Some years ago, Human Resources placed the company humanization in the spotlight of their work. Like we analyze in other articles, the close relationship that exists between the customer experience and employee experience is becoming more and more evident. Thanks to this paradigm shift that is more people-centered, many companies have experienced the benefits of having more committed professionals within their companies, because when professionals make projects theirs, they feel like they are important in the company or their work is recognized, the impact on their performance is neither circumstantial nor anecdotal.

Before addressing the keys of the employee engagement, it is essential to point out that this subject demands a different leadership according to its needs. Managers and executives contribute to build the values culture of companies. Their behavior has a direct influence on the motivation, performance and involvement of employees. The leadership model does not only have to evolve according to the changes that the work environment undergoes (facilitating the transit to digitalization, facing the necessary structural changes, training those professionals who need it, etc.), it also has to do it through a more human approach and focused on commitment. Leaders must find new ways to reach employees and boost their talent, if they do not want to lose them. They must also do so in a more complex environment and characterized by the heterogeneity of the professionals.

Only an “engaged” leader can manage a committed team. For many years, we assumed that  managers should govern employees from the authority. This conception has taken a remarkable turn. Without losing sight of the fact that they are the ones who must set the course and hold the rudder, new leaders now need to adopt an attitude focused on the others, if they want that the talented professionals not to end up jumping into the sea. This new model of leadership requires that leaders are able to:

  • Recognize the effort and achievements of professionals
  • Create a work environment where they can develop their work with freedom
  • Forget the penalty of error and turn those episodes into opportunities for improving
  • Be honest and capable of recognizing their own mistakes
  • Lead with respect
  •  Make a considerable effort to understand, listen and get to know their teams better.
Without engagement in leadership, goodbye talent!

How to encourage the engagement?

When it comes to the employee engagement, money is not a vital matter. Of course, professionals must be compensated for their performance with a remuneration proportional to the work and effort that they are making, as the common sense suggests. But the employee engagement neither depends on, nor is it only linked to, a salary increase. Recognition, conciliation and job security are some of the key elements of the incentives of the professionals.

It is important to emphasize that the commitment is not only and closely linked to the personal interest or the particular inclination of the professionals towards work and organization, but rather to the good performance of the companies. In order to feel committed with them, they need to achieve a professional satisfaction of which the company is largely responsible. The high intensity of work, monotony, temporality, obstacles when reconciling family and work life, the lack of recognition, a rare working environment or the bad relationship with the superiors are the main causes that motivate the employees to leave a job position.

What are the key concepts in the employee engagement?

  • Communication: A firm commitment requires a good communication. The more information that is shared between the parties, the more likely it is that this link will be maintained over time.
  • Trust: Trust among those involved is vital. It is important that leaders show an aligned, engaged and coherent behavior according to the values that the company wants to encourage. If the acts do not accompany the values, these will be empty and meaningless.
  • Linkage and empathy: The commitment needs a projection in the future. The professionals need to know that they have the possibility to reach goals and meet their expectations. The ability to put oneself in the place of the other in order to get to know these interests and hopes is also important.
  • Recognition: Effort and work must be valued if companies want to boost and retain talent.

Talent may decide to leave the ship at any time, but if the employee engagement is well done, it will always be more difficult and less likely to happen. However, companies with “engaged” workers not only lose fewer employees, they also attract more talent.

The change that is taking place in the model of the talent management is having a direct impact on the growing demand of more and more prepared professionals. At The CEU IAM Business School we have designed a Master's Degree in Human Resources and the Management of Talent and Leadership (Online) to train specialists adapted and engaged to this new environment and who are capable of leading this transformation.