We Need to Do Better
The following statistic has not improved significantly since 2000 when workplace engagement was first measured by Gallup: less than one-third of American employees are engaged in their jobs. Clearly, we need to focus on how managers can better engage top talent.
It seems the bulk of the workforce is indifferent, unenthusiastic, and lackadaisical about their work, if not outright totally disengaged. If you care about your organization’s productivity and profitability, you must agree that we need to do a better job of engaging and retaining top talent.
The Manager’s Role
Based upon employee engagement survey data, we know that managers account for almost three-quarters of the difference in employee engagement scores. There is no question that managers play a huge role in creating the environment that promotes engagement. But what, exactly, should managers be doing differently to better engage and retain their top talent?
Three Areas that Make the Difference
Based upon the most effective employee engagement action items, we have identified three developmental areas for managers who want to boost engagement on their team:
- Communicate Better
One way to communicate better is to do it more often. Studies show that a combination of face-to-face, phone and digital communication works the best. Whether it’s daily or twice a week, put it on a schedule. Not only will you be better informed of how your team members are doing, but your team will feel that you value people as the most important resource.
It’s also important to get to know your employees beyond the workplace. What do they like to do outside of work? Employees who believe that their managers care about them not just for the work they do but also as people are more engaged.
- Focus More on Strengths than Weaknesses
This is about encouraging the positive. Managers will get far more cooperation if they build on their employees’ strengths and design work assignments that take advantage of what employees do well.
In fact, when managers focus on their team’s strengths, the team is twice as engaged as those whose weaknesses are highlighted.
- Be Clear about Performance Expectations
Though it seems obvious that clear expectations foster better productivity, it’s surprising how often employees have an ambiguous picture of what they are expected to do and how their performance will be measured.
The best managers work with their team to create a clear line of sight for people to contribute, define roles and responsibilities, and set up a fair and transparent system of accountability.
Then it’s simply a matter of checking for understanding, agreeing on a plan to follow progress toward agreed-upon goals, and talking regularly – not just once a year.
The Bottom Line
Engaged teams are more productive teams. Want to better engage your top talent? Communicate regularly, capitalize on strengths, and make sure performance expectations are clearly understood.
To learn more about how increase employee engagement as a leader through strategic clarity, download 7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals