Over the years I have worked with a variety of leaders, some with great communications skills, and others who were lacking. But when it came to getting their messages out to staff, it wasn’t their speaking skills that mattered the most…it was their ability to be inclusive and engage with their staff.

True staff engagement comes when leaders aren’t afraid to hear what their employees have to say on a topic, and then take that feedback on board and work with it to progress their organisation.

I recently saw a great example of this when I attended a staff retreat for one of my clients. It involved 2 days of workshopping their current Corporate Plan to refine it and deliver a condensed version for 2014.

The leader of this organisation could’ve taken the easy road and decided for himself what their focus would be for the next year. Instead, around 25 of the organisation’s leaders took two days out from their workplace to figure out what initiatives would deliver the biggest bang for buck in terms of reaching their organisational goals for next year.

The leader kicked off the workshop by giving some glowing feedback to all the staff in attendance. The effect of this was palpable – the staff felt validated and ready to take on the tasks put to them throughout the 2 day retreat.

At several points throughout the retreat the leader would ask for the group’s thoughts, feedback and comments on topics essential for the progression of the organisation. His open, honest and transparent attitude was the key to the workshop’s success.

By the end of the workshops the staff had moved from a position of uncertainty over how they were to achieve their goals, to a more confident and focused attitude for the year ahead.

It may have cost a tidy sum to put on such a retreat, but I believe it was worth it to reinforce the positive attitudes staff had towards their leader and also to encourage  the leaders of the organisation to be involved and engaged, and in turn bolster their commitment to their employer. The beautiful surroundings of the Hunter Valley also definitely lifted the spirits of the employees!

Are you a leader who’s struggling to engage with your staff? Belgal Communications can  devise and implement a communications strategy which will make staff feel more involved and connected with your organisation.

Belinda Galbraith 

Belinda Galbraith is a Corporate Communications Consultant and Freelance Copywriter based in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.