Re-engaging managers to re-engage the workforce

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Why should managers need re-engagement?

They are employees, and susceptible to the same forces that lead to employee disengagement.

What role do managers serve in re-engaging the workforce?

Executives do perform vital roles in setting the corporate framework, in creating the appropriate culture, and in communicating “from the top down”.  However, much of the work in employee re-engagement is performed directly by the employee’s manager.

What are the steps at the corporate level?

The first step is to decide upon this goal:  your organization can become the one of the best in the field of workforce engagement.

The second step is to assess and measure your current situation.  Use an experienced outside consultant, to ensure good advice and unbiased factual measurements.

The third step is to build the corporate framework.  Develop and express your organization’s goals.  Communicate them clearly throughout your organization.  Determine what must be done to re-engage your employees, and enact the appropriate measures.  This framework must support both the managers, and the front-line employees.

(As one example:  create an employee recognition program.  This will require corporate guidelines so the divisions or departments can:  plan for an annual budget; set the achievable and relevant criteria; solicit and process nominations; and make it real for all the employees).

The fourth step is to plan to receive feedback or suggestions.  Here, it is important to plan how to respond to unwanted suggestions or to criticism. Brusque dismissal of unwelcome feedback is a significant source of employee disengagement.

While the framework is being prepared, what are the steps required to re-engage the managers?

First, consider training the executives to increase their proficiency and effectiveness in re-engaging their direct reports. The executives are coaches, mentors and role models in this endeavor.

After this, re-engaging the managers is very much like re-engaging the workforce.  The same processes that re-focus and re-energize front-line workers are vital for re-engaging managers.  (The failure to use these processes leads to employee disengagement).  In addition, some of these processes provide the skills and incentives which the managers will require in order to re-engage their workers.  Some of these activities will have their major impact on the managers, while others will carry on to the front-line employees.

Communicate with the managers.  Ensure the organization’s goals and strategies are clearly stated. Encourage feedback, and use the managers’ responses to further shape the communications.

Coach and train the managers.  This process will re-connect the manager to the organization’s goals. The focus of this training will be “how to re-engage your workers”.   The best training may come from an outside training organization, but visible executive commitment is vital.

Work with managers individually.  The temptation is to simply broadcast a standard message.  However, different people have their own strengths and weaknesses; coaching must respect this fact.  As well, you will expect the managers to coach each front-line worker according to their needs.  Executives need to set the standard and serve as role models.

Set achievable and measurable targets for each manager.  Some targets may be activity-oriented: “Conduct X individual coaching sessions with each of your workers over the next X number of months”.  Other targets should be results-oriented: “Increase the number of customer referrals by X% over the next X number of months”.

Use the corporate framework to monitor and reward the managers – and the front-line workers – for achieving their targets.  This may be the ultimate “reality check” for any employee.

Let us help re-engage your managers, leaders, and staff. Contact Parrish Partners today!

Copyright protected by our associate Gary Sorrell. Sorrell Associates, LLC All rights reserved worldwide.