I noticed a headline last week which read “Employee Engagement Confusion Still Reigns.” I’m well aware that this is true, and that how employee engagement is defined depends on who you ask. That’s not a surprise, but the disappointing thing is that it really shouldn’t be that confusing. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that asking “What is the definition of EE?” is to ask the wrong question.
I firmly believe that the main difference in how engaged an employee is – and therefore how productive he/she is – all depends on the line manager. Yes, I do think that every employee has a responsibility to make the decision to be engaged when they’re at work; but with the best will in the world, that’s really difficult when a line manager constantly manages the team is a way almost guaranteed to dis-engage employees.
I have been privileged over the years to work with and support some fantastic line-managers; those who are utterly committed to to doing things right, even if they don’t always manage that as well as they would wish. I have also – sadly – seen those who are either unable, or unwilling, to lead and manage their team well, with the consequence that team members become disinterested and disengaged from their work, and the organisation. In either case, it’s the manager who makes the difference.
The role of the line manager (however senior) in creating an environment in which employees are most likely to be engaged is so important, it’s surprising that more emphasis isn’t placed on this key relationship. If your managers aren’t making a positive impact on employee engagement, it’s worth asking why you still keep them on the payroll. They will be having an impact, even if it’s not a good one.
At emenex, we’ve developed a new programme that address exactly this challenge: Take Charge of Your Team. Are you ready to make sure your managers are maximising employee engagement across your organisation? It’s too important to leave it to chance.