Employee training and skills
Traditional skills strategies result in unhappy learners, unhappy managers and terrible datasets. It's time to upgrade to something better.
Mark Ward Co-Founder
What helps your people feel engaged and drive them to do better work
Laura Broad Senior Learning Designer
"People don't leave jobs, they leave managers."
Perhaps cliché, but it's a saying for a reason. A bad boss is enough to make anyone's work life miserable.
According to Gallup, almost half of employees have left a job to get away from a manager at some point in their career. Pretty damning.
On the other hand, many of us have had great managers who have helped shape our careers. Good managers provide strong foundations for feeling supported, encouraged, and engaged while we're at work.
But instead of thinking of someone as just a good or bad manager, we've got to think about what it is they do (or don't do) that makes a difference.
There are four enablers of employee engagement: strategic narrative, engaging managers, employee voice and organisational integrity.
There's a common theme in these drivers: managers and leaders.
As a manager, engagement is either related directly to how you act, or a result of other things you control. So how can you use your influence for good?
Sure, you might not be able to control all aspects of the employee experience yourself. But CIPD research into employee engagement identified five areas managers can focus on to make a difference to the people they lead:
This means leading with integrity and consistency, not having favourites or taking sides. You manage your own emotions well and don't pass on any of your own stress onto your team. Your team can trust you to do the right thing.
You are fair and take responsibility for resolving issues within your team. If you need to deal with employee conflicts, including bullying or harassment, you listen and take appropriate action.
You communicate clearly, offer advice and guidance and make decisions responsibly and confidently. Your team all understand their individual roles and what you expect from them as well as the wider responsibility of the team.
You make time for the people you lead. You make an effort to be approachable and you are empathetic and considerate in your interactions. You show your team that you care about them as a whole person, not just a worker.
You help people identify areas for development and support learning in those areas. You set up opportunities for career progression and development for the people in your team.
Of course, these are only the start. Think of these five areas as the foundations on top of which you can build more personalised experiences for those you lead.
Some engagement drivers make a bigger impact on different people. No two people are exactly the same, after all.
The best way to figure out what makes the biggest difference to the people in your team is to ask them. What drives them? What frustrates them?
For example, in your next one-to-one meeting with each of the people you lead, you could ask them questions like:
Asking questions like this can help you gain insight into what energises the people in your team, and what makes them tick.
Reducing stress and promoting the wellbeing of your team members is also something you play a big part in. How can you reduce stress in your team?
Look for common stressors. These are things like tight deadlines, overworking, and understaffing. Can you help take any pressure off in these areas?
Speak to your team members individually. For example, in your regular one-to-one meetings, you could ask questions like:
"If managers are disengaged, their teams are three times more likely to be disengaged too." - The Employee Engagement Group
Managers set the tone for what's expected. So think about the message you send to your team. If you're not checked in, your team aren't likely to be checked in. If you overwork, or you're always online, this also sets a poor example. Find balance and set your own boundaries to help the people you lead do the same.
Managers can make or break employee engagement. So ask yourself:
Interested in helping your business leaders develop the skills to become a great manager? Check out our Management bundle from THRIVE's Content Club that's packed with useful resources to help your people become the best managers they can be.
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