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Engaged Employees – Key Manager Activities

Submitted by  on March 19th, 2011

In my previous blog post on the latest BlessingWhite global survey on employee engagement, I looked at how levels of manager-employee trust impact on employee engagement and what managers and senior leaders can do to build trust in their organization. In this post, I will review what the BlessingWhite report can teach us about the important management activities you need to be engaged in if you want peak performance from your employees.

Summarizing the results globally, here are the actions BlessingWhite found most strongly correlated with high levels of employee engagement:

  • delegate assignments effectively
  • treat each employee like an individual with unique interests and needs
  • ask for and act on employee’s input
  • encourage employee to use their talents

The survey found immediate managers performed the above practices to a reasonable extent, with at least 65% of respondents agreeing that these activities are done. Congratulations are in order here!

Some actions, though, are highly correlated with engagement scores but are less frequently done. With these actions, 60% or less of respondents agreed that their immediate manager performed these activities. It is these practices that should be on every manager’s hit list:

  • recognize and reward employee’s achievements
  • build a sense of belonging in the department or team
  • provide the employee with regular, specific feedback on their performance

That covers the results for immediate managers. What does the report say about senior managers and executives? For senior leaders, BlessingWhite found the four practices listed below most strongly correlated with high engagement scores:

  • create a work environment that drives high performance
  • communicate honestly
  • act in alignment with the organization’s core values or guiding principles
  • link the work of the organization to a larger purpose

Alarmingly, the action that is most strongly correlated with high engagement is the one respondents’ rate as least likely to be done. Less than half of respondents (49%) agreed that senior leaders create a high performance environment. And the message is no less worrying for the other key factors mentioned above, with not one of them rating higher than 60% agreement. Clearly, there is much work to be done by the executive suite if employee engagement and performance are to rise to the next level.

Whether you are a front-line manager, middle-level manager or a senior executive, how many of the above actions are you performing on a regular basis? If not, why not? More importantly, what are you going to do tomorrow to change your situation?


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