As the nature of work as well workforce is undergoing significant change, employee engagement is becoming more important than ever. There is no doubt that organizations are putting their best foot forward to reinvent the wheel and adopt new practices. However, an often overlooked tool to boost employee engagement is manager engagement. There is enough research and data to show that managers have a direct impact on employee engagement. According to a study by Gallup, managers cause 70% variance in employee engagement. It goes without saying for managers to promote employee engagement, manager engagement is a prerequisite. If you go by the numbers, a fully engaged manager will have 50% more than the average number of fully engaged direct reports.
Boosting manager engagement
While we have established the need to promote manager engagement, it is important for organizations to understand how manager engagement is different from employee engagement. Undoubtedly, there will be a great deal of commonality between the two. However, replicating the same approach can be detrimental. Here are a few ways for organizations to streamline their manager engagement practices:
- Focus on directed and personalized coaching: As professionals at a certain step of the leadership ladder, managers seek coaching which is personalized and goal directed. Coaching becomes important for professionals when they start taking charge and greater ownership and transition from a role of simple execution to strategic planning and guidance as well. It allows them to seamlessly connect and collaborate with their subordinates and get things in place. It is important for organizations to provide managers with such coaching support, either through platforms or coaching experts to help them charter their leadership goals and navigate the way. When they feel that the organization is making an effort to augment their personal and professional growth, manager engagement is bound to increase.
- Have faith and trust their decisions: More often than not when organizations place individuals at managerial levels, there has been considerable display of credibility. Therefore, for manager engagement, it is very important that managers be given the autonomy to work the way they see fit. Organizations must have faith and trust in their managers’ ability to make the right decision and refrain from micro-managing.
- Give them the right resources to build successful teams: One of the key responsibility areas for any manager is guide their team and get work done. Invariably, manager engagement, thus, has its roots in team success. The more successful and productive a team is, the more engaged the manager is. In the course for the same, organizations need to ensure that managers have access to the right resources. Be it in terms of the right talent, tools to map and boost performance, platforms to promote coaching, mentoring and preserving mental health, among others. Additionally, managers must have discretionary budgets to use wherever they feel necessary, without having to explain everything. This augments their belief of organizational faith in them and adds to their engagement and level of ownership.
- Engagement in leadership forums: Focusing on developing their leadership skills as well as visibility in the right places, managers seek opportunities to expand their networks. Organizations can streamline their manager engagement efforts by offering managers the opportunity to attend as well as participate in leadership forums and industry events. This invariably comes out to mean that organizations are proud of their managers and like to flaunt them around. The net result is not only greater representation of your organization, but also manager affiliation and strengthened sense of belongingness.
Manager engagement is different
The above are a few tips and tricks for organizations to embark on manager engagement that do not require much effort. As mentioned, the most important is acknowledging the difference between employee engagement and manager engagement and the need for a different approach for the former for best results. Organizations must offer their managers benefits beyond the normal like compensation and bonuses and really invest in their holistic growth. Leveraging digital platforms and solutions like SuperBeings might be an interesting approach to explore the latest coaching practices as well as behavioral nudges to promote performance, satisfaction and engagement.