In a recent presentation, Gallup shared some powerful data on why an organization’s managers are so important.
“Managers are the heart of your organization,” they said. “Managers communicate and uphold the standards of your culture and your brand. They can make or break any change initiative. Nearly every problem and achievement in your organization can be tied back to the quality of your managers.”
During the presentation, Workplace Expert Patrick Mieritz referenced Gallup survey results indicating managers account for 70% of the variance in team engagement!
If you’re wondering why this statistic is so significant, consider their findings on how highly engaged business units and teams impact typical “negative” outcomes:
- 81% decrease in absenteeism
- 43% decrease in turnover within low turnover organizations
- 18% decrease in turnover within high turnover organizations
- 28% decrease in shrinkage (theft)
- 64% decrease in safety incidents (accidents)
- 41% decrease in quality defects
Their research also shows that highly engaged teams have a significant impact on “positive” outcomes as well:
- 10% increase in customer loyalty
- 18% increase in sales productivity
- 14% increase in overall productivity
- 23% increase in profitability
- 66% increase in well-being (thriving)
- 13% increase in organizational citizenship (participation)
Managerial Best Practices
If you’d like to increase the effectiveness of your organization’s managers or your personal managerial effort, a good first step is to identify or confirm the things that are important to your workforce; and beware, employee expectations have shifted since the onset of the pandemic.
As motivation expert Daniel Pink explained, “People really want three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.”
Or as famed statistician W. Edwards Deming often said, and a fact that still rings true today, “People are entitled to joy in work.”
So, what’s to be done?
We all know that, at the organizational or senior management level, offering more flexible work arrangements (when possible), reviewing pay scales, and improving on-boarding/team development programs are steps in the right direction.
But, if you’re wondering about actionable ways in which mid- or front-line managers can increase engagement, productivity, and retention levels, you might also consider the following best practices:
- Set clear expectations. Approximately half of all US employees say they know what is expected from them at work. To improve on this, SHRM suggests managers should emphasize objectives, set expectations early, make goals measurable, and give meaningful feedback (only 26% of US workers say the feedback they receive is helpful). Gallup adds a note to this by suggesting managers give meaningful and frequent feedback, indicating that workers who receive weekly meaningful feedback from their managers are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged in their work.
- Create a culture of clear accountability. This does not mean taking a “do it or else” stance, but rather a motivational approach that includes open communication, recognition, and awareness.
- Motivate each employee individually. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works.
- Coach and develop people based on their strengths. Gallup says that 66% of employees who strongly agree that their manager focuses on their strengths or positive characteristics are engaged. Focusing on strengths has also proved an effective way to ensure people are placed in the right roles; and providing ongoing development to team members has proved to have a significant impact on increasing engagement levels while reducing turnover.
- Overcommunicate! Leaders who maintain open and frequent communication, who show an interest in their teams, who share stories of success and vision, and who remind people of the mission tend to foster higher levels of engagement.