Four reasons why your managers are the key to unlocking high employee engagement


Four reasons why your managers are the key to unlocking high employee engagement

Although a number of factors influence an individual’s engagement at work, their relationship with their manager – the individual who defines their day-to-day experience at work – determines how fulfilled and motivated they feel each day. When that relationship becomes strained, it can lead to dissatisfaction, disengagement and high turnover rates. In fact, according to research conducted by Totaljobs, 49% of UK employees have left their job because of their manager. Equally, when a manager is leading their team effectively and taking the time to understand each of their team members on a personal level, it can positively affect engagement and retention. This essentially tells us one thing: your managers have the power to make or break your employee engagement strategy. 

The good news is that by harnessing this knowledge, your business can set managers up for success by encouraging them to drive team culture, communicate with them effectively, support them in reaching goals and, ultimately, unlock high employee engagement. Here are four reasons why your managers are key players in your employee engagement strategy and a few tips on how businesses can support their managers in boosting engagement:

1/ They are the driving force behind business values and culture

A high-performance workplace culture is created when a business has clear goals and values that are communicated effectively and consistently and align with the individual goals of those across the business. How your managers communicate, implement and champion these values and goals will have a huge effect on the engagement levels of their team members. This is because an employee’s actions and behaviours in the workplace are often heavily influenced by their manager. Managers can strengthen your business culture by ensuring their actions and words adhere to the same goals and values and set a good example for their team. When a manager takes the time to consistently communicate and reinforce the company culture with their team members, those individuals will have a better understanding of what’s expected of them. This will ensure they feel suitably supported in their role, satisfied with work processes and motivated to work to the best of their capability – which will boost engagement.

Make sure your managers know exactly what your business is trying to achieve and the values it upholds, and encourage them to spread this across their teams through their own words and actions. This will help to ensure your business has a culture and environment in which engagement thrives.

2/ They can support their team members in reaching individual goals

For individuals to feel satisfied and engaged with their work, they must have access to the right tools and opportunities to progress and reach their professional goals. They also need to feel supported and encouraged by their managers to reach these goals. This could be by pointing them in the direction of valuable resources, communicating with them about development opportunities within the company or putting them forward for projects or promotions. Line managers can actively work with their team members to discover their strengths and interests, help them nurture these talents and create individualized goals and roadmaps for their careers.

Managers are able to build more personalised relationships with team members, which is key to ensuring they feel supported, satisfied and engaged. This is also true when it comes to onboarding new starters, your managers will have a huge impact on their initial interactions with their team and the wider business, so it’s really important they understand the importance of their role and foster meaningful and supportive relationships from the very start.

3/ They  are a key communication and feedback channel 

When an employee feels as though they have a seat at the table, a voice within their business and equal opportunity to listen, learn, share and influence – they’ll be more engaged within their role. This is because they’ll feel more connected to the business’s mission and its goals and feel more valued as an individual who is making a difference and helping the business to reach those goals. In order to achieve this, two-way communication is essential – and this is where line managers come in. They’re able to effectively share big-picture information to keep employees in the loop about any updates, achievements and organisational changes as well as provide opportunities for feedback on elements of the business that have the potential to be improved.

From one-on-one meetings to focus groups and brainstorming sessions, managers can gather feedback in a number of ways. They then have the power to action that feedback and ensure each and every employee feels as though they’re helping to shape their business, in turn boosting engagement.

4/ They’re influential in implementing a successful reward and recognition programme

By now, it’s common knowledge that a reward and recognition programme is a really valuable component for businesses to include in their employee engagement strategy. Frequent recognition from colleagues for hard work and going above and beyond is key to feeling satisfied, motivated and engaged. But, creating opportunities for employees to thank one another and them actually doing it are two different things. In order to boost engagement with a reward and recognition scheme, manager participation is key.

If your platform has an online social wall where individuals can share thank-you messages publicly, encourage managers to use the tool frequently and consistently to help incorporate employee recognition best practices into their teams’ day-to-day. This will encourage employees from around the business to do the same, helping to strengthen colleague relationships and boost engagement. 

Final thoughts

To summarise, a business’s managers are its most effective engagement resource. They are responsible for empowering, communicating with and supporting their team members among many other things. But, in order to leverage this tool effectively, it’s important that managers themselves are engaged with the business’s mission, goals and values, as this will have a direct reflection on the attitudes of their teams. This comes from having a really clear and concise employee engagement strategy that includes effective communication channels, progression and development prospects and ways to reward and recognise hard work. 

From a points-based rewards programme to employee feedback tools, our spaces employee engagement platform brings together a range of fantastic solutions to help your managers build a happy, motivated and engaged workforce.


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