Being a manager can be an awfully lonely job. You get scrutinized for every move you make, and you rarely receive any bottom-up recognition — if you ever do. There’s no shortage of content written about employee engagement from the workers’ point of view. But engagement for managers isn’t talked about nearly as often, if it ever is.
It should be.
According to a recent Gallup study, managers are responsible for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement at their respective organizations. That makes perfect sense: managers have the power, and as such, they wield a lot of influence.
Yes, managers play a huge role in employee engagement. But just like engaged employees are more productive, engaged managers are more effective as well.
You can’t expect to have an engaged workforce if your managers aren’t engaged themselves. On the flip side, when managers are engaged, there’s a better chance your employees will be engaged too. So what drives employee engagement for managers? Let’s take a look at some of the things that make managers love their jobs:
Seeing Their Team Thrive
Great managers love helping their employees develop professionally. They understand that work is more than just putting in the time to accomplish a series of tasks, so they help their workers develop new skill sets and improve on existing ones.
Our very own Head of Customer Success, B.J., explains what drives his engagement at work:
"Seeing someone from the team achieve something for the first time. For example, someone on a team I once managed was very uneasy about public speaking. An opportunity came up for her to do so, and she took it upon herself as a challenge. After lots of practice and encouragement, she nailed the public address and now does it regularly."
When managers see the sum of their efforts — namely that each of their employees has matured in their roles — they can hang their hat on the fact their team is thriving.
While a thriving team doesn’t necessarily mean a manager’s job is done — things can always be improved, after all — it does give them the peace of mind that comes with knowing they don’t have to babysit any of the team. Managers with developed teams are also able to take time off without having to check in to see how the team is doing 30 times a day.
Helping Their Team Meet Goals
Every organization and every department has its own set of goals it hopes to meet every week, every month, every quarter, what have you. When managers invest their time and energy helping their employees become better workers and deliver better results to customers, they get a sense of pride in knowing they played a role in the team’s success.
Helping their team meet and exceed goals can also go a long way toward advancing their own careers — or at least fattening their wallets. Though they have their own teams, managers have their own bosses. When a manager works hard to ensure their team meets its goals, their bosses are happy. Depending on the specific circumstances, this could translate into a raise, a bonus, or even a promotion.
This is a big driving factor for Brooks, our Head of Enterprise Sales:
"Achieving team goals together
Helping my team develop their careers, achieve their career goals, and promoting them
Coaching, observing them successfully shift from always checking and asking before making decisions to building the confidence to make their own"
Giving Their Team the Right Tools
Have you ever worked at a place stuck on using last decade’s technology? It’s pretty much the worst — particularly since you can’t help but notice the newer technologies that are available.
For example, some companies still haven’t switched to cloud-based email. This means that workers can only access their work-related emails when they’re in the office or have been given permissions to access the network remotely (something that can be challenging to figure out for workers who are less comfortable with technology). Talk about inconvenient.
Employees who find themselves in such a situation are obviously aware of what cloud-based email is. They have their own email accounts, after all.
Working for a company that is still relying on archaic technologies is beyond frustrating. But managers feel the pain of their employees — and in some instances, have the means to alleviate it.
Managers love giving their employees the tools they need to succeed. Whether that’s encouraging the company to switch to cloud-based email or convincing IT to invest in collaboration tools that can bring a distributed team together, for example, depends on the specific needs of their organization. But one thing’s for certain: it feels good to bring their team into the 21st century and make everyone’s lives easier.
Creating an Atmosphere Everyone Loves
According to our 2015 Employee Engagement Report, work culture is one of the top things employees love about their jobs. When work culture is terrible, employees dread showing up to work — which adversely affects their output. When culture is strong, employees love going to the office, and they’re more productive once they get to work.
Building a positive work culture is no easy task. Managers have to balance work responsibilities with fun, excitement, and support. But when managers are finally able to see how some changes they’ve made have impacted work culture for the better, they get a sense of satisfaction knowing that their employees are having a more rewarding experience at the office. As an added bonus, those experiences likely translate to happier customers too.
Rewarding Employees for Hard Work
According to our report, nearly 25% of employees would take a job somewhere else for just a 10% raise. That being the case, organizations would be wise to extend modest pay bumps when they can, particularly because it costs more money to hire a new worker than it does to retain an existing one.
When managers have the means, it’s certainly enjoyable to offer hardworking employees salary increases or one-time, spur-of-the-moment bonuses. Everybody likes getting more money from their employers. It’s nice to be the person who’s responsible for sharing the good news and putting smiles on people’s faces.
Building a Stronger Team
Managers take pride in building a great work culture. Maintaining those cultures, however, can be challenging. Managers can’t expect to simply hire any old person when a new position opens up. Instead, they need to find candidates who are culture fits.
Throwing a new employee into the mix can be tricky; no one wants to end up with a new coworker they hate. So when managers hire talented folks who fit in with the culture right away and start making positive contributions to the team, they not only get rewarded with tangible results, but they also get their gratitude of their team.
Employee engagement is incredibly important to the success of any organization. But engagement initiatives shouldn’t be wholly confined to lower-level employees. If you want to increase your employee engagement statistics, make sure your managers are engaged themselves. Happy managers create happy employees.
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- 5 Things You Should Include In Your Employee Engagement Strategy