Employee engagement is on the lips of every modern manager with interest in getting the best of his/her employees.
Organisations are realising the value of their human resources and are seeking ways to make them happy at the work place, knowing well that happy employees are more productive. This is basically the context of Performance Management.
A Gallup study showed that employee engagement was responsible for 10% increase on customer ratings, 17% in productivity, 20% in sales and 21% in productivity. In addition, the study showed the effect of employee engagement in decreasing turnover, absenteeism, safety accidents and quality defects.
From the above statistics, it shows that managers have a lot more to gain when they reach that spot where engagement at the workplace is optimal. Here are five ways a modern manager promotes employee engagement.
1. Make engagement a priority
This means starting on engagement with employees from their first day at work. New employees usually bring in positive energy, zeal and curiosity. A modern manager encourages engagement at this stage so that employees that they carry on with the same behaviours along as they grow into the company. This also makes them become emotionally invested in the company, buy the company mission and gain passion in playing a part to achieve this mission.
2. Encourage flexibility
A modern manager encourages flexibility by allowing employees freedom to make decisions, adjust their work schedules or location and to be more creative. Employees working in flexible work environment are more engaged than those in rigid positions since they do not feel stifled. Thanks to technology, a manager can still keep tab on employees’ project despite their location. In addition, employees who work from home tend to spend more time working than those in a remote place.
3. Authentic leadership
Modern managers are aware of authentic leadership which means a person is genuine to self and to others. Authenticity means that you have shown your true self and your human side to the employees. This way, they gain trust of their manager and the organization and you get authenticity from them too. A study by Blessings White showed that managers who show their true self to employees were rated hire and preferred by employees. As earlier mentioned, employee engagement results from employees become emotionally invested to organisations. Authentic leaders are able to create an emotional bond with their employees, hence derive commitment from this bond.
4. Empowers and appreciates employees
Modern managers say thank you and acknowledge the efforts of their employees. They also empower them to make decisions, be creative and create opportunities for them to grow and develop. Feedback is central. When employees feel appreciated, they become more invested at their work and take pride at it. Allowing them some autonomy gives them room to make mistakes, correct them, learn from them and make decisions without being so dependent on management. As a result, their performance improves since they feel responsible and don’t want to let themselves and their colleagues down. Further empowerment means creating opportunities for them to expand their knowledge and skills. Many organisations do have development programs that employees undertake and up their skills. In order to make employees more satisfied at work, it is the role of management to show employees that they are invested in their growth alongside the growth of the organisation.
5. Encourages play at work
Modern managers understand group dynamics and the importance of letting employees create informal relationships at work. Due to the pressures of life, employees may not have enough bonding time away from work. It is therefore the manager’s role to create an environment to encourage employees to bond while at work. This can be done through organising team building activities, encouraging employees to have meals together, organising office parties and other forms of informal interactions. Such also help in reducing stress and pressure related to work, and employees feel that they are allowed to kick back and relax once in a while. A manager should encourage informal activities by setting an example and being actively involved. This is helped by authentic leadership whereby the manager genuinely shows the need to play once in a while and encourages employees to do so.
In a nutshell, modern managers seek ways to engage employees through actively involving them in organisation’s activities. This can be differentiated from the traditional work context where managers made all the decision and there was a clear line drawn between employees and management. Employees were expected to do as told without raising questions. If you are still managing the old way, you really should reconsider your management style and embrace modern day management.
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