Middle managers hold a vital role in the success of delivering an employee engagement strategy within an organisation, but their role and the value that they deliver is often not appreciated.
Typically, when an organisation starts their employee engagement strategy, the leadership team or Board have the vision of what they want to achieve. To ensure that they get a return for the employee engagement strategy they prepare some metrics to measure success. One of the ultimate measures of success in employee engagement is improved customer satisfaction, which is directly impacted by how engaged the front line employees are. So businesses tend to measure the success of an engagement strategy at the front line.
However, this circumnavigates the key roll that middle mangers play in facilitating this change and being a catalyst for the pace of change. The relationship that employees have with their direct line mangers is key to engagement and represents their overall view of the organisation, its culture and values.
The impact of middle managers.
In recent surveys it has been demonstrated that this relationship between staff and managers is not where it needs to be:
– In a report from Gallup in January 2015, they identified that the reason most frequently sited for employee disengagement was that leaders / managers are not suited to their role.
– One survey in the US found that 62% of employees would rather fire their boss than have a pay rise!
Middle managers are key to the success of an engagement journey. They represent the leadership skills of an organisation, as well as the organisation’s culture and values.
To optimise the engagement journey, these managers need to be involved and engaged prior to involving the front line. To achieve this they need to have some specific and measureable roles. They need to have a role that develops and promotes good leadership skills. Such skills would include:
- Able to communicate the purpose and vision of the organisation
- An inclusive and enabling management style that brings the team with them to achieve targets and improve the business.
- An understanding of how to deliver regular positive and structured recognition.
Managers within a business have the ability to shape and influence the success of an employee engagement strategy. They can add the consistency of execution, timely feedback and innovation. To leave this group unclear of their role in delivering an engagement strategy, will reduce the potential return on investment not only in the change process, but in the potential ROI of a company’s overall labour cost.
Helping managers to understand how they build these skills will ensure that they are able to communicate the message on engagement effectively, as well as demonstrate the leadership skills that employees are looking for in a culture that supports an employee centric strategy.
To deliver this change takes time and needs ongoing coaching and measurement to help convert these skills into consistent behaviour or ‘business as usual. This is not dissimilar if we asked them to stop writing with their right hand and only use their left hand. They would do it whilst they were being watched, but as soon as the observer left the room. they would switch back to their usual behaviour and write with the right hand.
How to involve middle managers in an employee engagement strategy.
It is essential that managers are clear on the ‘WHY’ behind this change. Provide them with a series of practical tools that are based around the leadership behaviours that the company wants them to replicate.
At e-trinity we have a suite of 10 modular, practical tools that help managers make that progressive behavioural change and they are all based around our unique ‘Employee Engagement PIP’.
These practical and measureable tools can be delivered in a modular approach over time that will help to make the change. To enhance the pace of change in your employee engagement strategy, seek out practical tools that your middle managers can use to demonstrate the leadership skills that engaged employees look for.