Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs

Engagement Vital but Managers Not Trained

Posted on August 17, 2010 by Carl Bonura in Uncategorized
Is the gap between management salaries and the rank and file growing wider? Are there big bonuses for the bosses while everyone else endures pay freezes, furloughs and doing more with less?

This could be disastrous to your future and certainly profitability of any company. There is irrefutable evidence that employee engagement is correlated with productivity, so plummeting engagement is a real threat to the standard of corporate excellence and the need to get more from less.

Many managers, with little sense of ownership, will throw their hands in the air, bemoan their circumstance and blame the company for not providing resources. Others will strive to make the best of the situation by taking internal action. What will you do?

Engaging your workforce for success requires some basic action that every company can and should take.

First, building trust is vital. One course of action is initiating reviews of the organization’s values and soliciting employee opinions. This is highly recommended. It creates a sense of ownership and responsibility as long as employees believe their voices are being heard and will be acted upon.

Second, managers should understand that engagement is fundamentally an emotional response, not a rational one. Perceived unfairness in pay of the executive compared to the staff can be a potent cause of disengagement. The need to feel fairly treated is an innate human given. Others are:

• the need to feel valued
• appreciated
• listened to
• involved in decision making
• be trusted and given the opportunity to increase in knowledge and skills

Company practice too often ignores these needs.

Third, we suggest that many employers are underestimating the huge influence on engagement levels made by line managers. It’s not that other things are unimportant it’s just that they are trumped by a far more important factor – the atmosphere in the workplace. The evidence suggests that around 76% of decisions to engage or disengage are made on the basis of the relationship with an immediate manager. People join organizations, they leave managers.

Yet, fewer than 20% of managers have received any training in engagement skills, how to bring out the best in their people. The old command and control management paradigm is still all too common but is no longer effective in the knowledge economy. It creates disengagement.

The bottom line? There’s an underlying principle for engagement, whether it’s employee engagement, customer engagement or even two people entering a personal relationship – and it is this: engagement correlates with how the relationship makes us feel about ourselves.

Employers whose policies make people feel good about themselves are engaging employees. Managers whose behaviors and attitudes in the workplace make their people feel good about themselves create engaged employees. That’s the long and short of it.