Delegation’s Role in Employee Engagement

According to Wikipedia, “Publish or perish” is a phrase coined to describe the pressure in academia to rapidly and continually publish academic work to sustain or further one’s career.

Employee Engagement Disintegration

The equivalent in organizations would be, “Delegate or disintegrate.” Dramatic? Well, yes, but also true.

When the leaders within an organization do not know the subtleties and finesse required for delegating well, this lack of skill has a dramatic impact on employee engagement and ultimately the bottom line. Over time the result is a slow disintegration of your company, similar to the damage caused by water dripping on a rock.

Here are just a few ways in which your organization is impacted by leadership’s lack of delegation skills:

An inability to hire top talent

 We are in an age of over communication. If your company has lackluster leadership and widespread employee disengagement, it is well known within your industry. Although you may be able to hire, you won’t attract the most talented because they have options. These are the individuals who strategically choose the companies they work for with an eye toward enhancing their resumes. Your company’s reputation will be considered strongly when they make career decisions.

Employee Turnover

Most experts conservatively estimate the cost to find and train a replacement to be one and a half to more than twice a staffer’s salary. Why?

  • Reduced productivity,
  • Organizational wisdom that walks out the door with the employee
  • Time taken up by the hiring manager and human resources
  • An overworked and stressed remaining staff
  • Training expenses
  • The direct costs of hiring such as advertising and recruiter fees.

There is an adage, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses,” and although there are a myriad of reasons why people leave a job, the direct supervisor has the most impact on their job satisfaction. When the supervisor is a poor delegator, the result is employees who are discouraged and disengaged.

Increased cost of productivity

A question every leader should take time to ponder is: why is it we don’t have the time to clearly delegate tasks and projects at the beginning but we always have time to clean up the mess when they are not done properly?

Take a look at the “do overs” within your area of responsibility and spend some time tracing the root cause. Often mistakes are made for a couple of reasons:

  1. The person delegating the task or project has not clearly defined the expectations and the required results.
  2. The person to whom the task was delegated did not have all the information required to do the job and did not feel engaged in the process.

I have heard far too many managers say, “My employees will come to me if they have questions.” Please believe that, no matter how good your relationship, most employees are reluctant to voluntarily display their lack of knowledge, especially to their boss.

Loss of employee development

There lies within the delegation of every task or project an opportunity to further develop the employee to whom you are delegating. When a leader spends time at the front end discussing how to achieve the required result there are opportunities to uncover any gaps in the employee’s knowledge and to coach the employee on how to achieve the result more efficiently.


Whether you are a C-Suite executive or a front line supervisor, the ability to delegate efficiently and effectively will not only make your job a great deal easier, it will ultimately add dollars to the company’s bottom line. Employee engagement will increase.

Instead of disintegrating, your company will flourish and excel—and so will your employees.

For information on how to delegate, refer to our earlier blog on the topic:

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