More than 50% of employee turnover can be attributed to poor management, according to Gallup’s State of The American Manager report. Compounding that problem, many frontline managers don’t know how to develop, motivate and lead their teams – the same report found that only 18% of managers actually have the talent/skills required of their role. Those are pretty alarming statistics, and can not go ignored in any organization. Building up your management team and making sure they’re armed with the proper skillset can help your company avoid these stats.
Here are some things great managers do to engage their employees.
Leading vs Managing
The definition of the word manage is “to be in charge of,” while the definition of the word lead is “to be an example for others to follow.” While both are important, oftentimes managers forget the latter.
I spoke with Emilie Totten, Director of Marketing at Synthesis, a company that sells automation software to investment companies. Totten has led various marketing teams throughout her career, and she stressed the importance of knowing the difference between leading and managing a team. “I think companies need to rethink what it means to manage. I think it should be thought of as leading. Leadership and managing are different and I think it’s an important distinction if we’re talking about engagement. Employees thrive under great leadership, and I think great leadership is all about setting a vision and helping your team achieve that vision.”
Jessica Zweig, Founder of SimplyBe Marketing Agency, a marketing and branding consulting agency for startup and corporate clients, agrees that leading your team by example is important. “You must set the precedent for how you want your employees to act and then walk your walk,” she said.
Share The Purpose
According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 50.8% of employees in the U.S. were “not engaged” in their jobs, while another 17.2% were “actively disengaged.” A study conducted by Robert Half recently revealed that employees want more insight into how their efforts contribute to their company’s success, which helps them become more excited about their roles within the company.
Totten said getting her team excited about selling automation software posed a challenge.
“If you want people to get excited or be engaged, you need to show the human side. Tell it from the customers’ view,” Totten said. She gave an example: “There’s a marketing team at XYZ bank and they are working their tails off to update all of the data in their marketing materials and they are sick of staying at work until 8pm every night missing dinner with their families. We help them automate these updates so they can get this boring work done and do more fun work like marketing strategy and STILL make it home for dinner!”
Totten said great employees want information, transparency, and they want the human side of what their company does.
Create An Open Door Policy
It might seem like a no brainer that your managers must have open communication lines with their employees, but it cannot be overstated how important this is.
“Communication and trust is key,” Zweig said. “Create an ‘open door’ policy, where employees feel comfortable voicing concerns and/or giving feedback. This is a critical aspect in establishing trust, which is the foundation of any good relationship. If your employees feel they can trust you and talk to you, this will lead to more invested employees, which will hopefully decrease turnover in the long run.”
Know The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Your Team
It’s important for managers to identify the both the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, but to especially focus on the strengths.
Zweig suggests using an online tool, such as Gallup’s Strength’s Finders Test. According to Gallup, employees who know and use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be more engaged with their job.
Zweig said it works for her. “When you understand an employee’s natural strengths, it’s easier to empower them with tasks, communication and feedback in a way that they will more positively respond to.”
Appreciate Your Team
Feeling appreciated is motivating. Totten said that at the end of the day, people want to feel appreciated, something that is far more important than how much they’re getting paid.
“The golden rule holds up well in any area of life; business is no exception. Treat employees as you’d want to be treated. Encourage them. Mentor them. Ask them what problems stand in their way and help them get what they need to succeed. Great employees thrive when shown appreciation and given a great toolset.”
Totten suggests checking in regularly with your employees to make sure they have everything they need to achieve their goals and meet their performance expectations.
Learn more about manager enablement by downloading our eBook, Talent Crisis: Ineffective Managers.