Employee engagement has been a topic of interest for many years, with companies investing hundreds of millions of dollars on different incentives and perks to increase their staff’s engagement levels. Yet, research from Gallup explains that managers account for 70% of the variance levels in employee engagement. Additionally, academic research suggests that an employee’s direct manager has a significant influence on the employee’s performance, engagement, loyalty, and intention to stay with the company. It is clear that managers play a crucial role in engagement; however, companies often neglect to support managers by failing to set them up for success. Here are some tips on how to help managers so that everyone in the organization benefits:
1) Start Leadership Development Early: All too often, organizations wait until a person has a supervisor or manager title before they start training them or developing their leadership skills. Unfortunately, this usually means that these frontline supervisors and managers are not being equipped to provide appropriate feedback, give meaningful recognition and communication, or offer the right support for their teams. There is a learning curve for any new supervisor or manager, so training needs to be established early on to teach them the proper way to manage and lead employees. Organizations must identify potential leaders and start them on a leadership or supervisor training program while they are still line-level staff. Starting leadership development early creates a sense of knowledge and confidence in the new leaders, which carries over to the way they lead their team.
2) Train Managers on How to Balance Responsibilities: One of the toughest challenges for frontline supervisors and managers is balancing both their management and leadership responsibilities. In basic terms, management is about controlling and directing resources towards achieving a common goal. Leadership is about a person’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others. Leadership is about inspiring people to want to do what you need them to do. When companies focus too much on teaching management skills, they often lose sight of what it means to lead and inspire people. A successful supervisor or manager needs to understand the difference between the two terms and how to balance both.
3) Give Managers the Right Tools: Training and development are vital parts of setting up supervisors and managers for success, but they are just part of a much larger picture. Organizations must give managers the right tools to be successful on the job. These tools can include the right technology (devices, software, programs, etc.) that allows for easy access to information and provides seamless distribution of necessary information to employees. Organizations should ensure managers have all of the resources required to complete tasks and reach their goals. Access to resources means ensuring there is enough money to fund the basic needs of the operation and special projects, empowering managers to hire, train, discipline, coach, and terminate staff, and providing managers with coaching so that they know how they can improve. Setting up supervisors and managers for success is an investment beyond training, but it is one that is worth it as it yields significant results.
When supervisors and managers are set up for success, they are better able to manage and lead their teams. Enabling their success, in turn, leads to employees having a more fulfilling experience at work, improved results, and a better relationship with their managers. Customers benefit by receiving better service from engaged employees, and the organization benefits from enhanced management skills and increased engagement from employees. In short, everyone benefits from investing in supervisors and managers. Consider what you need to do to ensure your leaders are set up for success now and in the future.
At SGEi, we focus on leadership, sales, and service training. We offer a variety of training, coaching, and communication tools to help set up supervisors, managers, and executives for success. Connect with us to learn how we can help support your leaders at all levels.