Jennifer Stewart, HR Advancement Center
We all know managers impact employee engagement levels—but how?
Advisory Board Survey Solutions data suggests that manager engagement and staff engagement are moderately linked (r2=0.347), but manager effectiveness and staff engagement are more strongly correlated (r2=0.607).
Manager engagement has limited impact on staff engagement
Leaders and managers can both positively and negatively impact staff engagement, but organizations can't expect high degrees of management engagement to simply trickle down to the front line. In fact, those in leadership roles are already almost twice as engaged as frontline staff, as shown in the graph below.
Where to target engagement efforts
Instead, managers must play a hands-on role in elevating engagement levels.
The Manager Effectiveness Index, developed through the Advisory Board Employee Engagement Initiative, identifies the seven most influential drivers of staff-perceived manager effectiveness.
- I have helpful discussions with my manager about my career
- I receive regular feedback from my manager on my performance
- My manager communicates messages that my coworkers need to hear, even when the information is unpleasant
- My manager helps me balance my job and personal life
- My manager helps me learn new skills
- My manager is open and responsive to staff input
- My manager stands up for the interests of my unit/department
This index not only helps organizations understand the interactions that contribute to overall manager effectiveness, but also enables leaders to better target manager-driven engagement strategies.
Clearly, managers and supervisors have a profound impact on their staff's work life and well-managed employees are able to overlook other shortcomings of their organization, including lower pay, older equipment, and slimmer benefits.
These findings highlight the importance of frontline managers and their ability to effectively communicate, provide regular coaching and feedback, and recognize the contributions of their direct reports.
Ready Your Frontline Managers
HR Advancement Center members and Talent Development partners can access the Leadership Competency Diagnostic to pulse-check manager performance by analyzing the strengths and development needs of managers across the house against 15 proven leadership competencies. Learn more.
Learn how to deploy the tool in our on-demand webconference.