This post is the second in a series of three posts by Joe España, an Executive Consultant in Forum’s Resource Network and Managing Director of Performance Equations.
In my last post, I outlined the three golden rules of employee engagement. In this piece, I’m going to take a look at practical ways that managers can get full engagement from their team.
Too often managers get caught up in the day-to-day business of managing and prioritising their tasks, but to achieve full engagement from team members, the first-line manager needs to be proactive, exhibiting strong leadership and fostering a positive working environment. 38% of employees who express confidence in their immediate manager’s credibility are satisfied with him or her. Over half of these employees are engaged.
Highly effective line managers also know the importance of the type of support and challenge they create for their direct reports. As competence and commitment levels for different tasks may differ from team member to team member, so effective line managers deploy a range of approaches from instructing, coaching and delegating appropriately to the individual and the circumstances. 53% of fully engaged employees say they learned a lot from their immediate manager compared to 19% of people who are not fully engaged.
Additionally, a remarkable 62% of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example, compared to only 25% among those not fully engaged. In our research, 40% of employees who reported themselves as enabled and trusted to do a good job also reported themselves as highly engaged.
We also found that a climate of open and honest communication between employee and immediate manager allows for greater understanding of both expectations and job performance. Employees who trust and feel respected by their manager will be confident that they can speak freely without fear of repercussions. Conversely, a manager who fails to communicate openly, even about difficult messages, tends to lose the confidence of direct reports and cause them to doubt their ability. Managers who consistently promote open communication generate the highest levels of engagement.
These consistent, positive interactions with employees promote a spirit of teamwork and cooperation, but highly effective managers realise that they can’t take identical approaches with everyone. Employees perceive their value as an individual through the lens of the immediate manager. Recognition of their contribution, along with feedback and encouragement on their performance from their manager, leads to increased confidence, commitment and achievement. Failure to recognize and reward good work can negatively impact employee morale and productivity. Many respondents say that their manager respects them, but fewer mentioned that their manager provides regular, high quality feedback or encouragement to improve.
In my final post, I’ll take a look at surefire ways to be an engaging manager. For more information on engagement, preregister to receive Forum’s latest research report that will be coming out next week. This report outlines the results of our Leadership Pulse Survey which looked at how trust impacts engagement and business results. Preregister here.