Good news! According to research recently published by Gallup (http://www.gallup.com ), employee engagement appears to be improving and the segment that showed the largest gain between 2009 and 2012 is managers and executives. That study showed that manager engagement is up by 10 percentage points to 36%, leading all other categories of workers.
There’s bad news too if you work in a service industry. That segment was the only one that dropped – down to 29% from 32%.
The reasons for these changes aren’t clear, but there may be some things we can rely on. Engaged leaders tend to create engaged employees. The Gallup study suggests that service industry organizations may have had a harder time recovering from the economic downturn and re-engaging their employees, so it is vitally important for managers in those organizations to pay attention to the do’s and don’ts of engagement.
The “do’s” are widely recognized. An engaged manager is more likely to express positive feelings about work and the people at work. The manager’s positive feelings translate to positive actions which help others feel engaged. Engaged managers tend to listen more, be empathetic, be better coaches and generally focus on the people around them. (http://theengagedmanager.com) They encourage and reward good work and support the development of healthy working relationships among staff members. They also allow employees to develop new skills or build on existing strengths. Finally, it’s vital that engaged managers spread the feeling that the work people do is meaningful. (http://www.the-happy-manager.com/tips/happy-company/)
Think of an engaged manager as a work team’s coach, just like the coach of an athletic team. It’s tough to go out and give a strong performance each game without some good pre-game focus, cheerleaders to support you, enthusiastic fans and a good “win one for the Gipper” (www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/win-one-for-the-gipper.html) halftime speech. As a long-time sports fan, I have watched numerous contests where the underdog has come out strong, showing that they believe in themselves and their chances to win. Engaged managers help their teams believe they can win.
Some people aren’t blessed with the cheerleader-type personality and may have to use more subtle ways of inspiring their teams, but whichever personality you are, there are some “engagement killers” to avoid. If the people in the organization don’t trust or have any relationship with managers, feel that politics play a large part in company decisions, question the direction of the company or feel they aren’t fairly compensated, even engaged managers may have an uphill battle. (Forbes article from 5/11/09 by J.P. Miller)
One manager whose team engagement was in need of a boost used the Gallup employee engagement survey questions to help his team work through a business problem and monitor their investment in the project. This level of effort may not be possible for every organization, but the manager’s feedback is valuable. He said, “It’s hard to help employees feel engaged when they feel like things are happening to them. But when they feel that things are happening because of them, engagement is nearly impossible to stop.” (http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/16204/applying-employee-engagement-specific…)
This holds true for both managers and employees. If you’re not currently in the 36% of managers who are engaged at work, see what you can do to express your own enthusiasm for the things you do like about your job, connect with others at work and do what you can to make a difference. If you are already in the 36%, make sure you show why and help others get on board. It’s just another way to help your company score!
By, Nancy Lane, Human Resource Manager at Red Book Solutions and B2A, LLC – 30 years of experience in education, medical imaging, oil & gas and business
- Employee Engagement: Way More than an Annual Survey Score (prweb.com)
- Put A Ring On It For Employee Engagement (ironstonehq.com)
- Employee Engagement Delivers Positive Returns (domo.com)