October 22, 2020
Company Culture 27 August 2020
How Great Managers Can Drive Employee Engagement
Hannah Son
Managers, employee engagement, motivation, confidence, workplace

If you are ever wondering why your employees are disengaged you might want to take a look at your leaders. Leaders and managers are the direct drivers of change within a company. They set the tone for how information is received from the top all the way down to every employee. 

Leaders in any company have to make a choice: they can either be advocates for the company's goals and vision or they can be the ones causing havoc. Manager's choices will directly affect the people around them. Their employees look up to them therefor their decisions will affect the entire organization. 

Therefore, it is up to the managers to be a good influence and find ways to engage their employees. Kenny Trinh CEO and founder of Netbooknews once said,

"Employees are the driving forces behind your organization. If employees are unsatisfied or unhappy about how you are treating them, they will be less engaged in their jobs, less committed, less loyal to the company. But if you take care of them, they will take care of the company."

Great employee engagement levels are a direct reflection of great management. So, what can managers do to engage their employees? A manager’s job is not to create motivation and engagement, rather, it is to tap into their employees’ motivation and sustain engagement. A great manager must gauge environmental factors, nurture relationships, and foster an organizational culture where employees are trusted, respected, and expected to accomplish their work goals. Here are some ways that great managers earn engagement from their employees:


Communication as the base of culture

Communication is the basis of any healthy relationship. With this being said, it should also be the foundation of a healthy work culture. Whether communications are virtual or in person, when there are consistent levels of communication between a manager and their employees, there are higher levels of engagement. 

Gallup found that engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face-to-face, phone, or digital) of daily communication with their managers. According to Gallup, “Managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone, and electronic communication are the most successful in engaging employees. And when employees attempt to contact their manager, engaged employees report their manager returns their calls or messages within 24 hours.” Communication transactions like these illustrate how engaged workers are more likely to communicate with their managers and be more engaged with their work. 

Communicate any information employees need to perform their jobs so that they make good decisions about their work effectively. When in doubt, communicate more than you think necessary, meet with employees, update them about any company information and keep them informed. Hold open and honest one-on-one meetings, encourage employees to have questions, request for support and troubleshoot work ideas. As a manager or a higher up, engage your employees with effective interactions.

 

Care on a personal level

Gallup defines engaged employees as, those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Managers need to show the same levels of engagement in their communication. That means talking about work roles and responsibilities but also being invested in your employees’ lives outside of work. 

Steve Pritchard, CEO at Checklate feels that in order to care on a personal level, you need to give your employees recognition. He states,

“If employees are not made to feel as though they matter at work, they can easily become disengaged, so it’s imperative to try and tackle this. There are plenty of simple things we can do to recognize hard-working staff, such as saying thank you to an employee going the extra mile, giving feedback on a regular basis, or acknowledging loyalty to the company."

Congratulate staff on birthdays, for new babies and major life events, according to Fast Company, “If you can get a caring manager who makes you feel valued and respected, people are hesitant to go someplace where they might not be as lucky as with the manager they have now. If you have a boss who cares about you, is interested in your development . . . if you find someone who has your back and has your best interests at heart and wants to see you become better and more down the road, that’s one very powerful cocktail.” 

Bottom line is that we are living in a pre-recession era where people will stay at a company where they feel loved, respected and appreciated. 

 

Provide Opportunities

Provide opportunities for your employees to develop their soft and technical skills. Employees want to learn and develop new skills, no one including your employee wants a job that is static and repetitive. Allow employees to attend executive meetings, bring them to networking events and provide leadership opportunities that will impact department or company goals. 

Bottom line, expand the job to include new, higher-level responsibilities that will foster engagement and grow their skills and knowledge. Stretching their work opportunities develop staff capabilities and increase overall contribution. 

 

Assign Goals

Make sure your employee has work goals that are well thought out, SMART and CLEAR. Along with their performance development plan (PDP), make sure they have personal development goals. Furthermore, employees must be given the opportunity to observe or even cross-train in other aspects of the company. By cross-training in other roles and company responsibilities that they are not used to, employees are exposed to multiple facets of their job and the company as a whole. They are also encouraged to collaborate and engage more with other departments. 

 

Provide Authority

Provide authority for your employee to make decisions on their own and feel autonomous from their higher-ups. This can be done in many ways including assigning your employee to head up more projects or lead more teams. This type of autonomy will not only create more leadership and confidence but will also boost independence and higher levels of engagement in how they approach accomplishing their work and job.

 

Strengths > Weaknesses

A strength-based culture is one in which employees are positive and collaborative, fall into their roles more quickly (while producing better work), have longer retention rates, and are overall significantly more engaged. In a recent study, by Gallup, 67% of employees who strongly agree that their manager focuses on their strengths or positive characteristics are engaged, compared with just 31% of the employees who indicate strongly that their manager focuses on their weaknesses.” 

When managers help employees grow and develop their strengths rather than their weaknesses, they are far more likely to engage their other coworkers and team members. “The most powerful thing a manager can do for employees is to place them in jobs that allow them to use the best of their natural talents, adding skills and knowledge to develop and apply their strengths.”

Conclusion 

Great managers make an effort to communicate with their employees whether it's work-related or not. Communication strengthens bonds, clears any confusion and defines roles at work. All of these in turn work to drive up engagement, motivation, and productivity. Ultimately, these strategies help employees feel valued and invested in. If managers can help nurture this relationship, employees and the company will flourish.

Retention will increase as employees see a future, a pathway for them to grow. This transparency, trust, and investment will create a motivation and desire for employees to reach their goals and continue to thrive within the company. 

Every manager will have their own individual way of approaching employee development, engagement, and relationships. Try a few or all of the strategies recommended to see if you can make an impact in your organization. If you'd like to know more about how you can help manage this for your entire team, set a time to chat with an expert for free! At ProSky we want to see you and your team grow and continue developing!