A great deal of employee engagement, motivation, and satisfaction lies on the shoulders of management. When we define engagement, we look at four key factors: competency, engagement with the organization, strategic alignment, and engagement with the manager.
Dumping, not delegating. (Or not delegating enough): The overwhelming result of surveys ranks failure to delegate as management’s number one problem. The company ideal is to have employees invested in their projects. So giving employees the opportunity to ask questions, give ideas, and understand why they are “the perfect fit” for each project gives each employee a sense of commitment and worth. On the flip side, some managers are hoarders, keeping projects to themselves, not letting go, making their employees feel more like puppets than valued members of a team. The key here is two-way communication.
Failure to communicate: Information is power; unfortunately, some management systems use this information to set up cliques of power. When there is effective dissemination of information across the company, on all levels, all employees feel part of something. Failure to communicate company goals and priorities sets up a kind of “need-to-know” system that keeps some employees in the dark, making them feel like they’re not part of the organization, instead just props to keep it up. Healthy organizations practice effective communication strategies, empowering employees on all levels to make decisions that align with the organization’s goals.
Communication problems: On a one-on-one level, a manager needs to communicate with her seasoned employees to make sure they don’t feel like their work over the years is being taken for granted and has become stagnant, instead, making them feel challenged and valued. Managers need to cultivate young talent, talk to new employees, find out what makes them tick, what drives them, and work to harness individual strengths and how those strengths can better the company. Managers should solicit ideas from staff, work to keep creativity bubbling. Again, all of this is two-way street, dialogue, communication, and implementation of these ideas. A sounding board without actionable results does little to encourage engagement.
Year-round Feedback: Staff results can’t be held out until the year end review, instead managers should take the time to work with their staff and discuss what’s working, and what’s not. Feedback needs to be both positive and negative. This is key to keeping employees on task and motivated.Our work with companies has, time and again, come back with ineffective communication being one of the biggest problems with management. Everything has to do with effective communication – from building strong teams to giving feedback, fostering environments of creativity to setting clear goals and expectations. When working toward success, everybody in the company needs to be part of the conversation.