Sustainable employee engagement is driven by a number of factors and one of the most important influences is the relationship between an employee and their direct line manager or supervisor. This is also one of the most variable dynamics, not least because these front line managers are often promoted from within an organisation and may well have no formal management training in how to get the best out of their team.
What should line managers be doing to increase the level of engagement among the employees they are responsible for? Here are some top tips:
Have clear expectations and communicate the bigger picture
Teams must be aware of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done and why it needs to be done. Ensuring employees know how they fit in to the organisation and the value of their role and contribution is crucial. The position and skill of the line manager as the primary conduit of information is vital.
Feedback, reward and recognition
The ability to give constructive feedback, both positive and negative, is a talent all line managers must develop in order that the employee on the receiving end feels motivated to improve, rather than reprimanded. We all like to know when we’ve done a great job and when we haven’t done so well, and what steps we need to take to improve.
Encouragement and support
It is important to see each team member as an individual and to take the time to get to know them. What are their aspirations? What motivates them? How do they visualise their future with the organisation? The answers to questions such as these will enable the line manager to help make their desire a reality.
Open, honest and regular communication
Meetings with the team should be held regularly to discuss how it can become more effective. Line managers must ensure employees’ voices are heard by listening carefully and passing on any feedback to the senior management team. A positive and enthusiastic approach will ignite similar feelings in employees and encourage them to perform to the best of their ability.
Ensure employees have all the tools they need to deliver what is expected of them. This may mean putting in place extra training, coaching or mentoring, or making sure they have stress-free access to any necessary IT platforms or internal systems.
It is said that employees don’t leave companies, they leave people. Line managers play a critical role in employee engagement through their interpersonal relationships with employees. Those that are interested in, and connected to, every team member will foster an engaged culture where employees are committed and willing to perform beyond expectations.
By James Kelly, Head of Sales, P&MM Employee Benefits