At Enboarder, we are always looking to provide guidance in employee engagement for our clients. One of the most common issues businesses tackle is gaining engagement from their managers. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that increasing manager engagement levels and changing attitudes towards HR is a tough egg to crack.
Getting the balance right, or wrong
Not everyone is ‘built’ to be a manager, and not everyone necessarily wants to be a manager either. As a manager, you are often met with ‘critical’ matters but without any clear processes to complete them. Without the right tools and experience, learning how to become a great manager is quite a huge leap for anyone. Taking care of your own work, with the addition of new admin tasks, and also being a great mentor and coach for your team is a huge undertaking. Becoming a great manager simply doesn’t happen just because you get promoted to a manager position.
At Enboarder, we set out to make all managers’ look like rock stars in their own right. Feeling prepared, succeeding in having an impact on your team, and gaining respect from the business is a difficult trick to pull off! However, it can be learnt with the right coaching and environment set in place.
One of the biggest pitfalls that we see from managers, is when they place too much priority on daily tasks, rather than looking ahead at the strategic impact from managing their team. The outcome of this? Often managers end up disregarding the small things outside of their direct responsibilities - simply because it’s hard to see the future value those other tasks could bring to the team. It’s not that managers don’t want to do the strategic, HR related tasks – like properly welcoming new team members to the business... It's just hard to prioritise this if you struggle to see the benefits it will yield in the long run.
Communication before prioritising
Picture this. You’ve just landed yourself a management role, after years of being an individual contributor to a business (a ‘normal’ employee). You are now expected to know how to manage a team of 10 and have them performing at their best. Where do you even start? Because communication is the basis of any healthy relationship, this is a great place to begin. Gallup has found that consistent communication – whichever mode it is through – is connected to higher engagement. The problem here, however, is that mere transactional interactions, such as chasing up team members for task completion or meeting targets, don't tick the box. This sort of communication needs to be learnt and then executed well.
The best managers make a concerted effort to get to know their employees and help them feel comfortable talking about any subject, whether it is work related or not. A productive workplace is one in which people feel safe – safe enough to experiment, to challenge, to share information, and to support one another.
Coaching is crucial
When managers help employees grow and develop their strengths, they are more than twice as likely to engage their team members. The disengaged manager expects less from his or her people -- or outright expects them to fail -- and the team then works at the level of those lower expectations… as a business, that’s what we want to stay well away from!
Could we not better support managers by helping them focus a little more on engagement as part of their regular management duties? In an aim to start off on the right path and removing the ‘it’s not my job’ mentality, there are a few simple questions that can be asked to managers, alongside other questions on meeting goals and targets:
- Is your team engaged?
- If yes, why do you think that?
- If no, what can you do to help them make their jobs easier?
We think that all managers, with the right type of coaching, can learn how to become absolute rock stars. It is a skill learnt and nurtured through your work by understanding how to communicate outside of the standard transactional conversations.
At Enboarder, we are always working on finding a better formula and guide our clients in engagement related topics. Whilst it can be argued that there isn’t always a silver bullet solution to increase manager engagement, we can see some interesting trends, with results to back them up!
Want to learn how to empower your managers?
With managers accounting for 70% of the variance in employee experience, what else can you do to engage with managers, and give them the tools they need to onboard new employees in a way that will boost both their team's productivity, and overall company engagement levels?
We've written a free guide titled Empower Your Managers to Own Onboarding: The Onboarding Master Guide that will give you all the information you need.