Employees leave their manager, not their company. Numerous studies show that disengagement and retention is heavily determined by manager interactions and communication, rather than overall company culture. Many employees may be losing quality employees, if their managers aren’t properly trained to recognize and tackle employee disengagement. Employers can take steps to improve employee engagement by training managers to engage their subordinates properly, and improve their overall relationship with the employees.
Signs of disengagement
Many times disengagement goes unnoticed because managers are unaware of the signs until it’s too late. Below are some classic signs of disengagement. Three or more can signal a significant problem, and should be addressed quickly.
• Employee previously enthusiastic about the company now is enthusiastic about your competition.
• Employee no longer shows interest in learning the company’s new products and services.
• Employee stops attending and participating in company activities or functions.
• Employee shows less creativity and provides fewer alternative ideas to problems.
• Competitive employee loses his or her drive to compete.
• Employee is no longer concerned with bottom line results.
Train managers to be effective
When most employees are asked what qualities they believe distinguishes a good manager from a bad one, they overwhelmingly mention communication, empowerment, vision, and genuine personal interest. Many of these qualities can be found and expressed by most managers, if they receive the necessary training. Employers can incorporate the following initiatives to encourage manager development:
• Train managers in effective communication – Communication is a key component in all aspect of business. Be sure your managers communicate with their subordinates on a regular basis, and do so effectively. Provide training that teaches important skills that are useful in communication.
• Encourage managers to learn what their subordinates actually do – Nothing frustrates an employee more than a manager who knows very little about what they do. Encourage managers to stay abreast on what their subordinates do on a regular basis. This will ease communication and task efficiency, and show employees that their work is an important and valuable part of the business.
• Encourage managers to develop their job skills through seminars and continuing education – A manager who is on top of his profession and industry will gain the respect of his or her subordinates. Both the manager and the company will gain tremendously when he or she continues learning, and provides the business great best practices principles.
• Encourage creativity and teamwork – Be sure your managers are encouraged to think innovatively, and express their creativity. This will set a great example to the rest of the employees. Provide training and opportunities for teamwork. This will help managers to work more effectively with the rest of their team, and foster a better working relationship.
• Require all managers to develop meaningful professional relationships with their subordinates – The key to a successful subordinate and manager relationship is quality time. Encourage your managers to become mentors to their employees. Be sure your managers spend sufficient time interacting with their employees on a regular basis. This should not be done when a manager is crunched for time. Meetings should be done when there is adequate time to answer any questions, and to listen to any concerns the employee may have. Managers should also find some time to really get to know the employee on a one-on-one basis. Lunches or social get-togethers are a great way to get to explore each other’s interest.
The bottom line
Disengagement is a costly problem for both managers and employers. According to studies, employees often become disengaged, and leave a company due to their manager’s lack of communication and involvement. Employers can design initiatives that help and train managers to spend quality time with their subordinates will help foster great work relationships, and ensure retention of your top employees.