The Role Of Managers In Engaging Employees
MANAGERS play a critical role in increasing the level of employee engagement in the workplace. This is because the managers are always at the forefront of every employee-related matter, therefore, the duty of ensuring a healthy and engaged workforce also lies in their shoulders.
This is one of the reasons why the job of managing is not as easy as people think, because getting everyone in the organisation engaged can be a herculean task as employees come from a diverse cultural and religious background, and are motivated by different factors.
Though, smart managers can achieve this feat of getting their employees engaged by being fair and making the employees feel valued for their contributions to the growth of the organisation and attached to the organisation’s goals.
The level of advancement in technology has greatly reduced the rate of person to person interactions. This has also been greatly fuelled by the recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID 19), the result of which has in a way created a distance among employees and erode employee engagement as interactions and meetings are now done using Zoom video conferencing, Google meet, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other social media handles.
Some employees now work from home and all the protocols stipulated in reducing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are appreciably affecting the level of person to person interactions.
Despite this, managers can still put in place measures that can guarantee employee engagement from both the organisational and managerial perspectives.
From the organisation’s perspective;
I. Leaders should put in place structures, systems, and strategies to make employees fall in love with the organisation and see it as a good place to work and meet their own career goals.
II. The organisation’s goals mustn’t be ambiguous; it should be easy to understand and guarantee the future of the employees.
III. Adequate working tools should be made available while the environment should be designed in such a way to make the employees as comfortable as possible.
From the Managers perspective;
Managers play a significant role in employee engagement, creating a respectful and trusting relationship with their direct reports, communicating company values, and setting expectations for the day-to-day business of any organisation.
Research has shown that many people leave their organisations not only because they got better opportunities or they couldn’t cope with the company’s practices but because they have irreconcilable differences with the managers or they just can’t cope any longer with the manager’s attitude and/or supervisory style.
Therefore, line managers must be well tutored to understand the meaning and need for employee engagement in the organisation.
It is important to note that;
I. An Employee feels engaged when the level of interactions with the supervisor and/or manager is very cordial. The cordiality goes a long way to build trust between them (Manager and employee). This invariably affects the behaviour of the employee positively, increases productivity, and improves organisational profitability.
II. The level of responsibility assigned and authority delegated to employees also determine their levels of commitment. Managers who are good at delegating bring out the best in their employees as they can take decisions and have the freedom to show their ingenuity to the progress of the organisation.
Therefore, middle managers need to be empowered by the management by giving them larger responsibilities and trained for such expanded roles, also, made more involved in strategic decisions so they do not begin to see their jobs as monotonous.
III. The level of employee engagement is also greatly determined by; workplace culture, organizational communication, and managerial styles to trust and respect, leadership, and company reputation.
In as much as employee engagement is the responsibility of all, the human resources department has a unique role to play in keeping the employees engaged.
The HR must be able to design a strategy to attract and retain the best for the organisation, put in place a proper reward system, and effective succession planning to ensure the continued existence of the business. The human resources department should properly put in place effective and efficient strategies concerning; recruiting; selection; compensation; job enrichment; training and development and performance management.
A study by Gallup explains the elements responsible for employees’ engagement to their organisations to include;
a) What the employee gets, that is; clear expectations and resources
b) What the employee gives, that is; the employee’s contributions
c) Whether the individual fits in the organization especially based on the company mission and co-workers and
d) Whether the employee has the opportunity to grow which may involve getting feedback about work and opportunities to learn.
By next week, we shall look at the barriers to employee engagement and how to overcome those barriers.
Sunday Ade Bello is a multi-talented, analytical and highly qualified Management Trainer, Inspired Writer, Examiner and Education Specialist. He is the CEO of WorkLife Training Professionals, Lagos.