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6 Min Read

How to Implement Manager Enablement to Boost Employee Engagement

Claire Beveridge

A healthy manager and employee relationship is essential for any business. A good manager will take the time to understand what makes their direct reports tick and form deep connections that focus on getting the best out of their employees. But what happens to employee engagement when there’s trouble in this relationship? 

Employee engagement affects just about every important aspect of your organization, including revenue, customer experience, and retention. Impacting engagement can have challenging impacts on a business. Is manager enablement the answer? 

In this article, we’ll look at the manager’s role, identify potential challenges, discuss the impact of manager burnout, and explore how enabling managers can help improve employee engagement. 

Understanding the manager role

A manager’s role is often multifaceted and includes various responsibilities and skills such as coaching and developing employees, critical thinking and decision-making, conducting performance evaluations, and planning and goal setting. 

Managers are the vital link between a company’s executive team and employees. Their role is a delicate blend of keeping both the C-suite and direct reports happy, performing operational excellence across the organization, and complying with the demands of their individual roles.

Given the level of responsibilities managers face, along with challenging socioeconomic times, including a recession and quiet quitting, it’s no surprise that burnout impacts almost 30% of American workers.

Burnout is categorized by the World Health Organization as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” burnout is represented by the following:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • reduced professional efficacy

How burned out managers and employee engagement are connected

Ever heard the phrase, “people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers?” A manager who’s burned out is a problem for any business because an underperforming manager impacts critical business metrics, including employee engagement, retention, and revenue. 

And when a manager isn’t engaged, this creates a disruptive situation that Gallup calls the cascade effect — where a disengaged manager creates a disengaged employee, impacting the business even further. Thus, it’s worth it to pay attention to how bad managers affect employees.

Employee engagement or lack thereof is a huge issue. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, actively disengaged employees cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity — an amount equal to 11% of the global GDP. Furthermore, 15Five’s 2022 Workplace Report found that unsupportive management is the top reason employees leave companies. 

Another research report from Gallup found that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units, and only 35% of managers are engaged with their job. 

So how do you solve the problem of unengaged managers, manager burnout, and falling levels of employee engagement? Focus on manager enablement. 

Manager enablement: everything you need to know

What is manager enablement? 

Manager enablement is a strategy that ensures managers are provided with the tools and resources they need to do their job well and stay engaged with the company. For example, manager enablement could focus on goal setting and alignment, manager training and upskilling, and creating an open feedback culture. 

What are the benefits of manager enablement?

Ineffective managers can greatly negatively impact the workplace and its employees. On the other hand, investing in manager enablement can drive positive results, such as:

  • Increased levels of employee motivation and productivity
  • Higher employee satisfaction and loyalty
  • Improved retention rates
  • Positive impact on organizational culture and reputation

How to enable managers and drive employee engagement

Commit to training, upskilling, and development opportunities

Even managers need direction and development. But don’t just plug them through the same tired tracks. Instead, focus on developing soft skills like delivering feedback and delegation and more business-centric skills such as interview techniques or financial planning to help keep managers engaged with their role. 

By upskilling managers, you promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement and allow managers to expand their competencies and knowledge. Not only does this give managers an opportunity to advance their professional and personal development, but upskilling improves employee engagement and performance which impact the success of your business.

Provide easy-to-use performance management software

Make your manager’s life as easy as possible and enable them with performance management software that helps to keep them engaged and organized. For example, 15Five boasts a whole suite of features, including performance reviews and management, OKRs and goal-setting, feedback tools, weekly check-ins, and engagement assessments — all on one handy platform. 

By having a standardized, easily accessible process, managers can actively focus on performance management and ensure that their direct reports have growth plans, developmental conversations, regularly scheduled one-to-ones, and check-ins — helping both cohorts stay engaged with the company and drive success.

Furthermore, such technology can also be extremely beneficial for the HR team, as it can provide insights into manager performance and discern which managers may be needing additional support or training. 

Some examples of touchpoints where having technology can amplify impact:

  • Being prompted to give a high five/recognition at the end of a check-in
  • Getting a ping to review the priorities of an employee every Friday to ensure alignment
  • Having a documented, accessible high-level performance conversation at least twice a year

Create an open feedback culture

Delivering feedback to employees can be a daunting experience — for seasoned and junior managers alike. But by developing a company culture that promotes open communication and accountability, managers will feel more comfortable and confident in delivering feedback instead of ignoring issues. 

By delivering continuous, actionable feedback, managers stay on track to creating engaged employees. For example, research by Zippia found that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, and a staggering 98% of employees say they disengage from work when they receive little or no feedback. Yikes!

To help develop feedback, 15Five includes a built-in feedback feature that includes an auto-request feature to give employees the opportunity to ask for feedback when they need to and provides managers with an asynchronous platform to respond to requests. 

Invest in Manager Enablement Today

Managers play a crucial role in the success of a business by leading and engaging their teams. But burnout among managers can lead to disengaged employees and negative impacts on critical metrics like revenue, customer experience, and retention. To address this, companies need to focus on manager enablement – providing tools and resources for effective management.

That’s where 15Five’s Transform Coaching and Education comes in – it’s a blended learning solution that offers skills intensives, coaching, and action planning. We help managers achieve business goals by leveraging strengths, setting objectives, motivating and inspiring action, driving performance, and providing feedback for growth. 

Schedule a demo today to learn more about our cyclical approach to leadership training and coaching and how it can improve your business outcomes.