Each time your team has an open role, productivity takes a hit. Because of this, not only is it important to quickly fill your open roles with qualified talent, but it's just as important -- if not more so -- to keep the employees you already have engaged. Unfortunately, many organizations fall short when it comes to making their employees feel valued and motivated to do great work.

According to the Employee Engagement Trends 2020 study from Emplify, an employee engagement survey company, 35.3 percent of employees meet with their managers one-on-one once a month or less, while an additional 12.2 percent of respondents almost never meet with their managers. For the study, Emplify surveyed 1,000 employed individuals from across the U.S. 

As the saying goes, "Employees leave managers, not companies." If managers at your organization don't put in the effort to build relationships with their direct reports, employee engagement will likely decline -- and your top employees might even start looking for jobs elsewhere. In fact, the Emplify study also found that 73 percent of the employees surveyed are currently open to new career opportunities.

What can your team do to ensure managers are building rapport with employees -- and boosting productivity as a result? Here are three steps that can help.

1. Set expectations and goals from the start.

The last thing any employee wants is to start in a new role without having an understanding of what it will take to succeed in that role. To set new employees up for success, it's important for your managers to meet with each new hire during his or her first week to set day-to-day and long-term goals. 

For example, if you have a new sales hire, the day-to-day goal might be to make a certain number of calls. When it comes to bigger-picture goals, he or she might need to reach a certain quota to get promoted. By ensuring each new hire understands their goals from the beginning, your employees will be motivated to reach and exceed these goals, which will not only help them grow but will contribute to your overall business success. 

2. Prioritize recurring one-on-one meetings. 

As highlighted in the Emplify study, "Nothing sends a louder message to employees that their needs aren't valued than their time constantly getting shuffled around on their manager's calendar." It's one thing for your managers to promise a weekly or biweekly one-on-one to employees during onboarding, but if these meetings are constantly canceled or rescheduled, employees will soon become disengaged. 

The Emplify study also found that 62.2 percent of employees report experiencing burnout at work. By meeting with employees regularly, your managers can get a better pulse on their workloads and take action to ensure employees don't reach burnout. Ultimately, this can help your team stay engaged and drive productivity across your organization. 

Outside of weekly one-on-ones, you can set meetings quarterly, twice a year, or annually for more formal performance reviews. During these meetings, managers and their direct reports can review the bigger picture goals that were set earlier in the year and discuss key successes and opportunities for improvement.

3. Act as a coach or mentor, rather than a micromanager.

While employees tend to be more engaged when they meet with their managers on a regular basis, it's also important not to cross the line into micromanagement. 

Today's most driven employees want autonomy and to feel as though their managers trust them to do great work. At my company of about 200 employees, some of our core values empower employees to have a sense of autonomy. 

One of our core values is "Own the result," which means employees take responsibility for the results that we as individuals achieve, whether it's a good result or a bad result. This means we're not afraid to make mistakes, we own the mistakes we do make, and we see these missteps as learning opportunities. Overall, core values like these help create a work environment that supports autonomy instead of micromanagement. 

Your employees are your organization's most valuable asset, and employee engagement is critical to the success of your business. By holding your managers accountable to building strong relationships with their team members, you can boost productivity and profitability at your organization for the long run.

Published on: Feb 13, 2020
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