It’s Not Rocket Science: Engaging Employees (via their managers)

26 April 2021
2 minute
Its Not Rocket Science Engaging Employees via their managers

The market thinks: 

Real engagement is for the few, not the many. 

Thomas knows:     

Actually… it’s for the many, not the few. And it’s pretty simple to achieve in your business. 

Research has shown that just 15% of employees say they’re engaged [1]. Which is pretty bleak to say the least. Fortunately, we’re here to explain how you can avoid this level of ennui in your organisation.   

What’s going wrong?  

You’d be forgiven for believing the myth that people aren’t engaged because they haven’t found their ‘true calling’. But that’s not the case. A few of us at Thomas agree that we’d love to work as body doubles for Hollywood A-listers. But that doesn’t mean we’re not wholly engaged with our slightly less glamourous careers in psychometric science. 

True callings aside, then. The reason why 85% of people are disengaged at work is far simpler than that. According to Gallup, 70% of an individual’s engagement is down to their manager [2] – the person with the most direct control over their day-to-day.  

Many of us have been there. Many of us have accepted jobs that seemed suited to our skills and ambitions, only to realise that our new manager provides too little support – or too much guidance. Of course, attributes like these don’t make for a bad manager. But they can make for a poorly matched employee-manager relationship.  

Being engaged shouldn’t be special – nor hard to achieve  

Here’s an interesting quote from the same Gallup article: “All people have innate qualities that enable them to excel in unique ways […] Individualization allows managers to see workers’ unique qualities as well as their engagement needs.” 

As you’ll see, by identifying the right management style for each individual, engagement can be a perfectly achievable phenomenon. By understanding what people fundamentally want from their job, and by arming managers with this information, you can turn work from something people do, to something they actually enjoy

But how? Well, by making sure managers: 

  • Know what type of person each individual on their team is. 
  • Understand what’s important to each of these types of people. 
  • Communicate with individuals in a way that’s right in each case. 

To illustrate our point, your managers should aim to provide goals, targets and structures to people with high conscientiousness. But they should endeavour to keep things clear and simple for people with low ambiguity acceptance. 

Top takeaways

  • Employee engagement shouldn’t be hard to achieve. With the right psychological assessments, you can understand your team and find out what it takes to keep them happy. 
  • As the saying goes: people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. Arming your leaders with the right information to manage people well can significantly improve overall engagement. 

Sources:

1. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/266822/engaged-employees-differently.aspx

2. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/231593/why-great-managers-rare.aspx

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