While concerns about employee engagement often center on the perception of organizational leaders, the individual manager’s role is essential. Traditionally, people who excelled as individual contributors or as subject matter experts in their field won promotions to oversee the work of others. But experts don’t always make great managers. Indeed, many companies take managing for granted and drop people in place with little or no training. Managers need six skills to be effective:
1 Give feedback well.
A manager needs to provide ongoing evaluation and constructive feedback (coaching, compensation, promotions) so employees can learn and improve.
2 Act independently.
While they need direction from leaders, managers need to be able to use discretion to cater to individual employees’ needs.
3 Build good employee relationships.
Besides performance appraisals and coaching activities, HR leaders should consider the manager-employee relationship a part of employee engagement efforts.
4 Give employees a sense of purpose.
Managers need to help workers create meaning out of their specific job, and out of specific tasks. Letting employees know how their assignments are developing new skills or capabilities can be especially powerful.
5 Treat employees like customers.
In a sense, employees are like customers of the firm they work for. Just as you want to treat your best customers especially well, you want to manage your best employees especially well.
6 Treat managing like a discipline.
Managers should have enough expertise in the work to have credibility with the employees they manage but they should also be trained in management.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO INCREASE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, DOWNLOAD THE IN-DEPTH REPORT HOW TO FIX THE CRISIS IN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND THE EXPERT Q&A HOW TO BUILD EMPLOYEE LOYALTY FOR LIFE.
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