How Middle Managers Drive Employee Engagement

2 min read
Mar 18, 2017


No matter the opinion of the manager about employee engagement strategy, there’s evidence that employees are better off in some key ways if their direct manager is in charge of employee engagement.

To better understand the impact of middle managers on employee engagement, we compared employee responses to TINYpulse survey questions from companies whose engagement efforts were led by middle managers to companies whose engagement owners were C-level or in HR. Here are some of the notable differences we found:

  • Less likely to quit: When asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to leave for a 10% raise from another company,” middle-led employees rated an average of 3.5 (on this question, a lower score equals lower likelihood), compared to all others at 4.25.
  • Leaders are more responsive: On the question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how effectively does our organization take action on feedback you provide?” middle-led employees rated their feeling at 8.09, compared to all others 7.17.
  • See more growth potential: On the question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much opportunity do you have for professional growth in this organization?” middle-led employees rated their feeling at 8.31, compared to all others at 7.14.
  • Better work-life balance: On the question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your work-life balance?” middle-led employee rated their feeling at 8.23, compared to all others at 7.09.

 Middle management employee engagement survey results

On some questions, middle-led employees had a slighter lead over other employees, including on questions around management transparency, fun at work, overall company culture, and satisfaction with coworkers.

In some areas, middle-led employees scored lower than other employees. Middle-led employees feel slightly less valued and were slightly less happy — on the question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at work?” middle-led employees rated themselves 7.39, compared to all others at 7.56.

Overall, there are strong indicators that employee engagement improves significantly when direct managers are responsible for the engagement of their team. For more insights, download the full report The Middle Revolution: How Middle Managers are Leading the Push to Make Workplaces Better.




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