Improving Employee Engagement: How Feedback and Development Contribute to the Growth of a Healthy Company
Every company wants their employees to be engaged in their work. They want their team members to collaborate effectively, increase efficiency, and ultimately improve the customer experience. However, it is not often that employees can improve on these efforts without oversight and guidance from their managers. A Gallup study published in 2016 by Brandon Rigoni, Ph.D., an associate director at Gallop, and Jim Asplund, Chief Scientist for Strength-Based Development at Gallup, after looking at 1.2 million employees, found that “managers account for 70% of the variance in engagement across business units.” This highlights the fact that managers leverage a powerful influence over their employees, and really set the tone and, therefore, the performance level of the workplace. With this in mind, managers need to be utilizing the appropriate techniques to galvanize their employees’ potentials.
Another recent Gallup study by Jim Asplund and Amy Atkins surveyed 7,272 U.S. adults and found that one in two employees left a place of employment because of their managers to “improve their overall life at some point in their career.” This stems as a result of misguided management styles and low levels of employee engagement.
Providing useful and open employee feedback while keeping employees happy and engaged is a significant challenge for organizations. An article published by World at Work in March of 2018 suggests three key actions managers can take to promote genuine employee engagement in the workplace.
- “Promote an employee value proposition using empathy in the workplace.” This means understanding the employees’ situation, acknowledging what struggles they are facing (internal and external, at work and at home, etc.), and resonating with them through communicating with an “authentic tone of support.”
- Managers must “Tailor programs to employees at every stage of the career lifestyle.” To do this, company leaders should be aware that their teams sometimes handle tasks more efficiently when accomplished differently than how another group may solve them. This requires managers to be aware of their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, which includes being conscious of employees’ ages, problem solving styles, age, and teamwork abilities. An effective manager will be conscientious of all of these when introducing a new task or responsibility to a group. If a manager displays a conscious awareness of these issues, employees will recognize that their leader recognizes their work-style, and genuinely cares for their contributions to the firm.
- “Prepare for unscripted moments.” Preparing for the unexpected can be difficult, if not impossible, but it is how you react to these unanticipated moments that define your abilities as a manager and an effective, engaging leader. If a manager establishes an approachable and healthy relationship with their coworkers, everyone will feel more comfortable notifying authorities of any unnoticed discrepancies in the workplace. This type of workplace relationship must be nurtured through consistent communication with coworkers, whether it be with daily email updates, work progress check-in calls, or even something as casual as having open-door “office hours” for employees. These types of interactions build trust between a network of employees and help to create a more open, approachable, engaging work atmosphere.
By utilizing these three actions in the workplace, managers can increase their team’s engagement, improving performance and customer experience.