#AskRevela – Engagement

When you have a question about anything, where do you turn? Why is my car making this noise? What does your cough really mean? What are these bumps on my child’s arm? What should you do if your boss won’t…? Most of us turn to Google. Or we ask Alexa or Siri. We end up getting so much information; sometimes too much. So why not let us be your leadership “Google?” Ask Revela!

Recently, we began asking those we work with to provide us with questions they’d like answered or things they’ve been struggling with. The questions have starting flowing in, and we’re ready to provide some insight…So brace yourself. Our first question is…drumroll…

How do you keep people engaged when your boss doesn’t want certain people to move up?
 – Anonymous


Dear Anonymous,

We understand how frustrated you might feel. Engagement is a very important piece of being a manager. Without engaged employees, productivity decreases, production slows, and team morale takes a downward spiral. We also believe that keeping employees engaged is one of the hardest parts of being a manager. Each person is motivated by different things; therefore each requires a different approach.

As leaders, sometimes there are things we would really like to do, however, we don’t have the resources or the permission to do them. Of course, we’d love to give everyone a raise or a promotion, but unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Here’s what we would do…

First, speak to your boss. Leaders are sometimes required to make decisions even though they may be uncomfortable or unpopular. If there’s a certain employee you’re looking to promote and your boss says otherwise, there could be a very good reason that you may be unaware of. Is there a lack of financial resources that isn’t allowing for promotions in your department? Does your manager believe this person has met the requirements or has the skills necessary to do the job? Are there other outside factors that may be affecting your manager’s decision or opinion? Sometimes, when you seek the logic behind the decision, it makes it easier to come up with an alternative plan.

Second, schedule a one-on-one with your employee. Find out what really makes this person tick. Find out what this person loves to do, what he/she dislikes, and what things really motivate him/her. In addition to that, find out what this person wants to learn. It’s important to realize that promotion isn’t the only way to motivate or engage an employee. Studies actually show that what many people really want is development. And development doesn’t always equal promotion.

Next, create a plan. We believe every employee should have an Individual Development Plan. Not only does this help you, as a manager, to keep track of development; but it can help your employee envision his/her future with the company. If your boss believes this person doesn’t have the skills necessary for promotion, work on developing the skills the person may be lacking. If the company doesn’t have the resources to promote this person right now, then work on expanding this person’s range. This could include having this person train others, delegating tasks to the employee to allow him/her to take on additional responsibility, learning a new skill altogether, or even working toward a lateral move in another department. When people feel challenged and valuable, it can create engagement.

Finally, follow through. Once you and your employee have agreed on a plan of action, it’s important that you follow through with it. Schedule regular meetings to check progress. If a new skill is mastered, work on developing a new one. And if things within the company change, revisit the conversation with your boss. Maybe the development you’ve been working on could be just what was needed for promoting your employee.

There are multiple ways to engage employees. This is just one. For more articles on employee engagement, click here. And if you need help, or even a template for a Development Plan, send us an email. We’re happy to help in any way we can!

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