The secret to boosting employee engagement is great managers. They engage with their teams on many levels and on a regular basis to achieve bottom line business results. They create environments where employees take responsibility for their own—and their team’s—engagement and build workplaces that are engines of productivity and profitability.
— WeSpire (@goWeSpire) April 30, 2015
Manager Impact on Employee Engagement
But in most cases, not every team is led by a great manager. In fact, not-so-good managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units (Gallup estimates in the State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders).
Knowing that only 10% of managers have what it takes, poor management of employees is your biggest obstacle to improving employee engagement. You need to understand what good managers do to meet the needs of their staff—keeping them fulfilled, engaged and productive throughout their career development.
5 Talents of Great Managers
According to Gallup’s research, there are 5 talents that should be either found or developed in managers.
- Get Motivated: Great managers know how to motivate all of their employees to take action and engage them with a persuasive mission and vision.
- Be Assertive: Great managers have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
- Be Accountable: Great managers develop a culture of clear accountability.
- Be Trustworthy: Great managers build relationships with their employees that create trust, open dialogue and full transparency.
- Be Decisive: Great managers make decisions based on productivity, not politics.
Bar none, managers who possess these five traits help businesses succeed. Research has discovered there is a strong correlation between great managers and great employee engagement and well-being. For companies that hire managers based on these five talents, the results are staggering and include:
- An uptick of 48% in profitability
- A 22% increase in productivity
- A 30% increase in employee engagement
- 17% increase in customer engagement scores
- 19% drop in turnover
The Physiological Building Blocks of Employee Engagement
Turns out, there’s a psychoanalytical foundation to employee engagement. When managers can understand Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, they can work to satisfy individual basic needs and practice meaningful growth and development. At the most basic level (survival), addressing salary allows employees a sense of financial independence that’s innate in all of us but in of itself, it’s not a motivating force. As you move up the needs spectrum, you’re addressing more motivating needs such as ambition and harnessing it to facilitate an individual’s personal and career growth or their self-actualization.
Where to Find Management Talent
The good news is that you can find great managers and most likely they can be found in your company today. Gallup finds that 1 in 10 people possess the talent to manage. They might not be in positions to lead today but are there waiting to be discovered (if you figure that large companies have approximately one manager for every 10 employees).
Technology can play a important and powerful role in helping with communication and collaboration. Systems of employee engagement can help you to identify those within your organization that can inspire others to take action and programs that they can use to give a sense of well-being and purpose.