How are you managing employee engagement?
The challenge. Manager play a key role in employee engagement yet many managers are not getting the perspective, approaches, skills, and tactics to maximize engagement.
Managing for engaging success. It was my privileged to spend about four hours this August in Wales and on the train from Wales to London talking with David MacLeod about employee engagement. I have great respect for his work and the report on employee engagement he co-authored with Nita Clarke: Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance Through Employee Engagement. The MacLeod report demonstrated the instrumental role of managers in engagement. Here are some key statements from the report:
An engaging manager is at the heart of success in engaging the workforce. Accenture’s internal research showed that 80 per cent of the variation in engagement levels was down to the line manager. As a result, employees’ most important relationship at work is with their line manager; people join organisations, but they leave managers.
Employees need managers who are themselves engaged and who are seen to be committed to the organisation. The role of the manager was key. We need consistencies between values and behaviours. We need to have honest conversations and sometimes dificult conversations. We need to talk to employees about ‘what really gets you out of bed’. We really need to understand people.
From a rich and varied set of submissions for this report we have concluded that three things are required from managers so that they become, and are seen to be, engaging managers. Firstly, engaging managers offer clarity for what is expected from individual members of staff, which involves some stretch, and much appreciation and feedback/coaching and training. The second key area is treating their people as individuals, with fairness and respect and with a concern for the employee’s well-being. Thirdly, managers have a very important role in ensuring that work is designed eficiently and effectively.
The Corporate Leadership Council conclude that: “emotional commitment drives effort, emotional commitment is four times as valuable as rational commitment in producing discretionary effort.
Engagement is about creating opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues, managers and wider organisation. It is also about creating an environment where employees are motivated to want to connect with their work and really care about doing a good job ~Professor Katie Truss
ENGAGING MANAGERS are at the heart of this organisational culture– they facilitate and empower rather than control or restrict their staff; they treat their staff with appreciation and respect and show commitment to developing, increasing and rewarding the capabilities of those they manage.
The MacLeod report demonstrated how much managerial activity, interaction, and connection can influence engagement. Yet managers are overwhelmed, busy, and often see engagement as something extra on a plate of managerial tasks that is already overflowing.
How do managers leverage their limited time and energy to make the biggest difference in performance and results? Managers don’t need platitudes and programs; they need evidence based practical day-to-day actions that increase employee engagement. These actions need to be woven into the fabric of work and leading while also being small and significant.
Eclectic engagement keys for managers. I have been reviewing the research for the past 4 years and have distilled the 10 keys managers can apply to create full engagement. As opposed to one limited viewpoint or perspective I have woven together an eclectic and research-based employee engagement mix. Some of the exceptional engagement thinkers that have influenced this approach range from Teresa Amabile and Steven Kraemer on progress to Roy Baumeister on meaning; from Martin Seligman on well-being and strengths to Jane Dutton on energy; and from Jean-Pierre Brun on respect and well-being to Joseph Grenny on conversational pathways to results and relationships. We need to move beyond companies and program that offer a limited perspective on engagement to an approach that brings the best of employee engagement together into one workshop.
Here are the 10 keys managers can turn to open themselves and other employees to full engagement:
- Achieve results
- Path progress
- Maximize performance
- Foster recognition
- Build relationships
- Enliven energy
- Leverage strengths
- Make meaning
- Master moments
- Enhance well-being
I will offer more information on these 10 approaches in future posts.
In-house workshops. This workshop will be available for organizations to use internally with their managers to boost and increase engagement. If you are interested in learning more contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Zinger is an employee engagement expert who founded and hosts the 4200 member Employee Engagement Network. His reach has ranged from British Columbia to Barcelona and Winnipeg to Warsaw. David’s workshops are engaging, informative, research-based, eclectic, and practical.
Employee engagement in Toronto: Monday November 7, 2011 0900 to 1200 Salon 1: Ontario Bar Association Conference Center 200 – 20 Toronto Street, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2B8/