Many senior managers, organisational heads and business owners list ‘workplace culture’ as their top priority. Get that right they reason, and everything flows from there. It’s sound thinking, yet surprising how few people act on that impulse. At best the idea is given lip service, more often it simply remains on a to-do list that never gets done. 

All too often the very people that a company relies upon to stimulate workplace culture are unhappy and unsatisfied themselves. It’s obvious that nothing good is going to flow on from them.

Yet there’s a relatively easy fix, and it may well be staring you in the face. We’re talking about manager engagement.

It is well reported that over half of all managers are over-worked and are somewhere between not-engaged or actively-disengaged from their work. Since there’s a clear link between happiness and productivity, how do you improve manager engagement in order to improve employee engagement? You may be reading this because you’re looking to help your manager do their job better. Or you’re a manager looking for a few tips on how to be more engaging yourself.

Get the alignment right
It’s usually about round holes and square pegs. Any employee experience starts with first impressions – their perception of culture and brand. Managers need to be aligned with that identity and purpose so they can then bring teams together, make effective decisions, build on company culture and increase productivity. A square peg may have the right skill set but they’ll never fit in without the right alignment.

Continuous development
Just like your frontline staff, the management team needs to feel they each have a position that is stimulating, rewarding and continuously developing. Positive change reinforces engagement which is needed to motivate their teams. Coaching, training, team-building, inter-office and inter-departmental communications are all important areas that should be addressed. 

Feedback

This is a critical part of any development programme. Feedback assessments from staff as well as a manager’s own management structure stimulates employee and manager engagement alike. Because a good, engaging manager leads by example, those who can earn the respect and support of staff by collaborating, communicating and recognising their achievements has not only empowered him or herself, they’ve empowered the organisation.

Articulate your purpose

All managers – from team leaders to the executive team – need to know what they’re doing and why they’re there. They need a well-defined and clearly articulated mission that is easily related to the work they do every day. That can change, as any business strategy will inevitably do, but providing it has been defined logically and clearly, they’ll be able to see their progress and potential. 

When managers are fully engaged in their work they’re much more likely to inspire connection to the big picture right across the business. In short, manager engagement is the key to a positive workplace culture, one where everybody is enthusiastic, happy, productive. Get that right, and everything falls into place.