When it comes to employee engagement in the workplace, it can be easy to set our sights on our teams. It’s even easier to forget about the people who are behind the scenes, working hard to make the entire company look great and business moving forward. We’re talking about middle-managers, the unsung heroes of the workplace who have been given the honor of leading others, but may feel lost in terms of any real direction or support.
Not enough training and support for managers?
A study conducted by CareerBuilder indicated that one-in-four managers were not prepared to become leaders and an overwhelming 58% of managers said they did not receive any management training from their employers. While they likely were promoted because they were good at their jobs, this still doesn’t mean they are good at making people around them better. We essentially have a large share of leaders who are not trained on how to effectively lead.
It’s ironic that organizations place a huge emphasis on onboarding new employees and connecting them with mentors. This is a good thing, but what about the next level of employees who are moved up by default due to career maturity? We cannot expect every person to miraculously become a great manager once they get a new job title.
Likewise, we cannot realistically expect a mid-level manager to know how to motivate and coach others to bring out their best. Many times, newly appointed managers resort to bad management behaviors that they were subjected from the person who just left. How can this be good for the organization or for employee engagement?
What managers need to increase employee engagement
All managers need proper coaching and training in order to become effective leaders. In fact, we’d like to suggest that this can start with teaching these skills to all employees as part of their core learning path. From day one, new employees should be exposed to basic leadership concepts, which can help them to become more productive and self-driven to success. They have time to practice these skills, while gathering feedback from peers. Imagine how motivated an employee will feel when he or she knows that someday there will be an opportunity to move up in the company — and this employee will be ready?!
From a business standpoint, it’s common for mid-level managers to experience a lot of pressure from the C-suite above. There are performance standards to meet, sales quotas to make, and growth objectives that must happen. The culture must be honored and promoted to subordinates and customers. People need training and guidance and coaching. Difficult decisions must be made at times, things that can make any manager uncomfortable. What support does this most important layer of the organization generally get? We see this as an area that is lagging in many organizations.
Everything managers do has an impact on employee engagement
What happens when managers are not supported with proper training? When a new manager takes the helm, everything they do and say comes under close scrutiny by their team. This includes the good and the bad. Many new managers try to find a mentor to teach them the way, but this can backfire given that their own manager may have developed poor management skills. Managers influence everyone around them. Subordinates get insight and they can sense the commitment, or lack thereof, that the manager has. If the manager checks out and becomes disengaged, guess what? Employees follow their lead and become disengaged too.
Managers need access to ongoing leadership development training that can put them on the right path. They also need to work on better engagement, communication and respect. They need the tools to do their jobs well and transfer positive knowledge onto their teams. They need to know how to boost their teams up and become more productive, tapping into the unique talents that each person brings to the table.
Performance reviews can help some managers identify areas of weakness, so that additional training can take place. Employee engagement systems that use real-time data can also be useful for spotting trends in management attitudes and productivity. This can also be a great way for managers to safely communicate their concerns and request additional training directly with human resources.
Thymometrics is the new breed of employee feedback technology. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, staff well-being, productivity and profitability.
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