by Melissa Perry

Engaged, purpose-driven managers lead to higher performing teams. Boost manager engagement with these 5 powerful steps.

Managers play a critical role in fostering company culture and helping employees feel connected to your company purpose and goals. When it comes to employee retention, your managers are your competitive advantage — but only when they’re actively engaged.

In this article, we’ll cover why manager engagement is so important, and how you can boost employee engagement among managers on your team.

Why do engaged managers lead to engaged employees?

Great managers are like great coaches. Without effective coaching, even the most talented team members will lose steam. By providing structure and support, successful managers inspire and develop their people to achieve their goals.

With great management, employees feel valued, appreciated, and motivated to do their best work. According to Gallup, employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

Unfortunately, disengaged managers are all too common. Approximately two-thirds of managers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work and workplace.

So how can you identify the gaps in your manager experience and put your team leaders in a position to succeed? Here’s five steps you can put in place to improve manager engagement right now.

Managers can engage team members through employee recognition

#1 Gather regular feedback from managers

When it comes to building manager engagement, you can’t overestimate the value of regular feedback. Frequent check-ins, in the form of pulse surveys, are a powerful way to understand what employees need, want, and feel.

In addition to organization-wide employee engagement surveys, it’s important to collect manager-specific feedback from team leads and supervisors. This enables managers to anonymously share feedback on issues they may be facing, so that your organization can better support them.

Manager surveys can enable you to quickly discover where managers are struggling, what skills are in demand, and what processes may need to be reviewed. You can also use manager surveys to collect ideas, such as how to re-engage disengaged employees. While one-on-one check-ins are helpful, creating a consistent strategy for pulse surveys can help prevent key topics from getting overlooked.

In addition, managers and team leaders should have an easy way to send quick pulse surveys to their own team. Regular feedback gives managers insight into what their teams need and how to better support their growth.

#2 Give managers the tools they need to engage their team

A manager’s role isn’t to create employee engagement. Instead, a great manager must sustain engagement by tapping into employee motivation. How? By measuring engagement levels, conducting frequent check-ins, and fostering a stronger employee experience on their team.

The problem is, many managers don’t have the tools they need to boost team engagement. There are a number of performance management software solutions, such as Lattice or 15Five, which can help managers facilitate 1:1s and track individual goals, but those rely largely on surveys to track how employees are feeling. Few platforms offer a simple way to assess employee engagement based on actions, and that’s where Cooleaf can help.

Cooleaf’s platform gives managers access to powerful engagement metrics, so they can get a nuanced understanding of their team’s experience across multiple touch points. The simple dashboard also makes it easy to see which team members are receiving frequent recognition, and which employees may need more appreciation. Learn more about how it works by watching the video linked below.

Learn how Cooleaf's manager panel helps leaders track team engagement

#3 Offer creative programming and activities for managers

Learning & development programs can have huge benefits for anyone in your organization. But for managers, in particular, they can offer a valuable opportunity to help develop the skills they need to succeed in their roles.

Unfortunately, less than 30% of managers strongly agree that someone at work encourages their development. The existing programs often don’t work, and managers feel unsupported and unprepared to lead.

Coaching and mentorship can help managers develop their skills and build confidence. Here’s just a few ideas for learning courses or programs you can implement to engage your managers:

  • Productivity and time management
  • Decision-making skills
  • Fostering employee well-being and work-life balance
  • Keeping remote employees engaged
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Giving employee feedback

You can also send a pulse survey to find out what skills your managers would like to develop. LMS tools like LooopSAP Litmos, and GoSkills offer engaging courses to upskill your team. Integrate them with Cooleaf to boost participation through real-time incentives tied to course completion.

Cooleaf enables you to create pre-built or custom activities for your managers to help them grow.

#4 Encourage frequent employee recognition

Employee recognition is the most powerful tool in a leader’s armory. Why? Because people will stay in a position where they feel valued and appreciated. And employees will be more willing to go the extra mile for a leader that frequently expresses their gratitude.

All in all, the best thing that organizations can do to boost retention and create a more engaged workforce is to give managers an easy way to recognize and reward their teams.

There are several recognition programs that organizations can implement to foster a culture of appreciation within their organization. The best part? Recognition is contagious. When managers start showing appreciation for their team members, team members will spread that positivity to their peers, leading to a happier, more engaged workforce.

When looking for recognition software, make sure to choose a recognition platform that enables peer-to-peer recognition and custom awards to reflect your company values.

Reinforce your company's purpose and mission with manager engagement

#5 Emphasize your company’s mission

Your company core values shouldn’t just be words that sit on a wall – they should be actively lived in your company culture. In order to lead effectively, managers need to have a strong understanding of how individual contributions tie back to the company’s mission and core values. To make that happen, management must be held accountable for their team’s engagement in your organization’s mission.

Educate your managers on the value of employee engagement as well as your company values through continual coaching. Pinpoint clear examples of your company values in action, and nudge employees to assess how their team demonstrates these values.

Businesses with strong values, driven from the top down, have higher employee engagement and retention. And this directly impacts your bottom line.

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