TSI Blog

‘People join companies, but leave managers.’ How to help managers better engage your employees.

March 28th, 2012 by Gary Cattermole

Gallup’s insight that ‘people join companies, but leave managers’ is as true today as it has ever been.

Recent research underlines the fact that a person’s immediate line manager is the single biggest influence on their engagement — and whether they decide to stay.

Given how much it costs to recruit, and the negative effects a high turnover of staff can have on an organisation, it clearly makes good business sense to help managers keep their employees engaged.

There’s a problem, though. As we found in our November blog post, research shows that line managers usually don’t act on engagement survey feedback – spending on average only two to five days a year on engagement-related activities.

And while we’ve seen a step change in their approach, we know there is a long way to go before all or even most managers take ownership of the employee engagement process.

That leaves you with a double whammy — line managers who deeply influence employees’ engagement, but who take little or no action that is based on clear, valid engagement survey data.

So how do you solve the problem?

Take action

It’s easier said than done, but we’ve found that your task here is twofold.

First, you need to ensure line managers take responsibility for their data.

It can be difficult because managers can feel they are being singled out or that there is little or no support for them. That means you need to find ways of empowering local managers to act on their data, whether it’s by supporting them with development opportunities, mentoring or shadowing.

Secondly, you need to clearly demonstrate to managers what the benefits of an engaged workforce are, and make sure they understand how the results of engagement surveys enable them track and monitor levels of employee engagement.

That means the ‘local action’ stage of your survey process must have a ‘high priority’ level, so that managers can and will take action and ownership at the earliest possible stage.

If you are not helping your line managers take ownership and use their survey results effectively, you’re not using the single biggest ‘engagement influencing’ group in your organisation.

We can help you change that. Learn how we can help managers take control of engagement feedback and act on it without fear.

Written by Gary Cattermole
Gary Cattermole is a Director at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Gary has extensive expertise and experience in a range of employee research techniques from employees surveys and 360 degree feedback to workshop facilitation and action planning sessions, working with a diverse range of clients such as EPSON, Telegraph Media Group, Natural History Museum, AVEVA and Accor. Gary is an avid sports fan, in particular table tennis and football. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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