There are a wide array of factors that influence an employee joining an organization, including the employer brand, nature of work, role and responsibilities, leadership career growth, job security, and infrastructure. However, one critical factor that is known to account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is ‘managers and their relationship with employees’. A study by Gallup revealed that one in two employees had left their job just to get away from their manager and to improve their overall life at some point in their career.
Having a bad manager can be extremely stressful for employees and can negatively affect their overall well-being. On the other hand, good managers can dramatically improve employees’ well-being and performance by providing them a secure environment where they feel motivated and comfortable.
Today’s employees want to find a sense of understanding, belonging, and well-being at work—and managers are positioned to help establish that sense of belonging through robust communication, live contact, visibility, and strong relationships. A recent study by Oracle suggests that employees who have a close working relationship with a manager are far more likely to have faith in their leadership and enjoy greater feelings of well-being on the job. They also find their managers to be more available and approachable who take immense interest in their performance on a continuous basis and keep looking for ways to improve it. Immediate managers possess the greatest opportunity to light the spark of engagement in employees. HR leaders can help ensure that managers are fuelling employee engagement by training them to build strong relationships with their workers. Train your managers to turn these six actions into habits that fuel employee engagement:
Direct Involvement with employees: Every employee needs to have a direct relationship with a manager, someone who can address their questions and concerns and someone who can recognize them for a job well done. HR leaders can educate managers to understand that their interactions with an employee can have a major impact on that employee’s feelings of well-being.
Recognize and value individual’s work: Part of a successful employer-employee relationship is regular recognition and explanation of the employee’s role. By communicating the value of an employee’s work, managers help that employee better understand where the work he or she does fits into the big picture. When employees understand the impact their efforts have on business success, it helps them develop a sense of ownership in the company’s mission.
Set an example: Team members look to their managers to determine the best ways to communicate with them. Effective leaders set the example for how best to communicate with those who directly report to them, conduct reports, and deliver recognition.
Remain extremely accessible: As growing numbers of employees work virtually and remotely, in far-flung offices, or in large enterprises, it’s easy for them to feel disconnected from company leadership. Effective leaders must make an extra effort to be extremely accessible. That accessibility may look different for each leader, but it could include instant messaging, weekly team meetings, or a regular drop-in at each employee’s workspace.
Establish positive working relationship: From the day they start at your organization, new hires need a positive working relationship with a friendly, caring manager. From day one, the ground-level manager can set the pace for a new hire’s success better than anyone else in the business.
Leveraging on technology and digital experiences to enhance connectivity: In this technology-rich age, there are multiple ways to stay in touch with employees. Managers can use tools such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and mobile collaboration apps to stay connected.
When managers and leaders take these steps, research shows that employees become more deeply engaged in their work. Organizations should also proactively encourage their managers to develop great working relationships with their employees and should make provisions for requisite training programs. By focusing on their development plans and coaching skills, organizations can groom their managers to forge a strong relationship with employees. When leaders nurture and invest in their employees, the return on investment will benefit in ways that money cannot buy; engaged employees are not only more likely to stick around for the long term, they’re also more likely to be more productive and effective.
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. - Steven Covey
A version of this article was originally published on Oracle.com