What Great Managers Do to Engage Employees
By Taylor Varco
The definition of “employee engagement” is not equivalent to employee happiness or satisfaction. It’s the emotional connection an employee has to the organization and its goals. This commitment means the employee isn’t just working for a paycheck or a promotion, but working on behalf of the company’s vision. They stay late to finish a project without being asked, they go the extra mile to pick up trash when no one is watching, and they go out of their way to help a fellow colleague.
This stems from leadership down. According to a study by Gallup, managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement. Most managers are simply not creating environments in which employees feel motivated or even comfortable. Here are three things you can do as a manager to keep your employees engaged:
Communicate Openly and Consistently
Transparent communication is the base of any relationship, including the one between an employee and their manager. It’s proven that holding consistent communication is connected to achieving higher employee engagement. Employee’s whose managers hold regular meetings are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not.
Mere transactions between managers and employees about roles and responsibilities are not enough to maximize engagement. Employees who feel as though their manager is invested in them outside of work are more likely to be engaged. During these meetings, it’s recommended to use a document you can reference week after week to help keep your meetings productive.
Base Performance Management on Clear Goals
Measuring performance is often a stressful pain point for employees who do not clearly understand their goals and expectations at work. They may feel confused about their responsibilities or disconnected from the larger company vision. When performance management is done well, employees will become more productive and become creative contributors.
Understanding expectations is one of the most basic employee needs but it goes beyond just a written job description. Great managers talk frequently with employees about their goals and progress, not just once at an annual review. It’s important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals with your employees to keep you both accountable.
Focus on their Strengths
Every one of your employees cannot be an expert at everything; it is virtually impossible. Studies have shown its best to cultivate a strength-based culture where employees learn their roles more quickly, produce significantly better work and stay with their company longer. Focusing on employee strengths and positive characteristics encourage employees to be more engaged. One of the most powerful things you can do as a manager is place your employees in positions that allow them to use the best of their natural talent, adding skills to develop and apply their strengths along the way.