Always Learning Blog

Back to All Posts
Learning

Employee Engagement Training for Managers

"To win the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace," according to Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell's Soup. Employee engagement training for managers can teach managers how to encourage and keep employees. 

When your employees are engaged, they are more likely to be invested in the work they do, rather than just going through the motions. A company with engaged employees sees work quality, productivity, and talent retention increase. 

Conversely, disengaged team members lead work quality, productivity, and talent retention to suffer. 

To win the workplace, managers need to encourage employee engagement. To promote and grow employee engagement, you need employee engagement training. 

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment your employees have to the company, its mission, and its goals — it can be summed up as employee buy-in to the company. 

Engaged employees care. They don't just want to contribute to and advance the company—they want to grow with it. Engagement shows through exceptional work results, like better products, improved services, increased sales, and expanded customer satisfaction. 

Moreover, employee engagement is not the same as employee happiness or satisfaction. While those are important to the well-being of both employees and the company, they are different. 

Happy or satisfied employees can perform their tasks yet remain unengaged. Low turnover and employees working extra hours don't necessarily equate with employee engagement.

Manager engagement with employees is key to fostering engaged employees. Employees with engaged managers become committed themselves because they feel respected and valued. 

Three factors that have a powerful impact on employee engagement are:

  • Relationships with managers
  • Organizational pride
  • Trust in organizational leadership 

While building trust and relationships takes time, it is worth the effort to reap the benefits of having more employees with higher engagement levels. 

It takes a lot to engage employees, so employee engagement training for managers is critical. 

Why Is Employee Engagement Training Important? 

Employee engagement (or lack thereof) has a massive impact on businesses. Employee engagement training is a critical aspect of this. That's because companies that engage their employees and create a strong culture see quality of work, productivity, and customer satisfaction increase. 

A recent study by TinyPulse found that the number one reason people leave a company is for career growth. The same report also found: 

  • 44% of workers don't feel like their positions offer sufficient growth
  • 60% don't think their managers have clearly defined their roles and responsibilities
  • 75% don't strongly agree their feedback and suggestions are taken seriously

What would those statistics mean if applied to your company's numbers?

Higher levels of employee engagement relate to lower attrition rates. Fortunately, employee engagement training can help improve the levels of employee engagement. 

What Causes Low Employee Engagement?

When employees don't feel valued by managers or the company as a whole, they're less likely to engage. These feelings can often relate to fair compensation, but there is more to it than that. 

If your employees feel disconnected, unmotivated, and unappreciated, they either won't engage, or you'll slowly lose their engagement. 

As a manager, you may be unintentionally contributing to lower levels of engagement, and employee engagement training can help correct this. 

How are you conveying expectations?

Unclear or erratic expectations can cause employees to disengage. Even if you are busy, it's crucial to convey clear, concise expectations. 

While sometimes changes to a project can't be helped, and you have to change course mid-stream, plan projects carefully from the beginning. If things do change, make sure to let employees know that you appreciate the work they've done thus far and explain what the change is and why it's necessary.

Are you unintentionally showing favoritism? 

While it's natural that you'll get along better with some employees than others, be careful not to show favoritism as a manager. For example, do you give more of your time to or share more information with one employee than others?

Favoritism can be unintentional, but your employees notice, so endeavor to be consistent in how you treat all of your employees. When managers play favorites, it causes some employees to feel excluded, and they are less likely to engage.

Are you distracted and disengaged?

Understandably, you'll become occasionally distracted, especially during busy stretches; however, be careful not to become too distracted or disengaged from your employees. While you don't want to micromanage, your employees should see you often and find you accessible and approachable.

Give your team members attention when interacting with them. Don't half-listen while checking your email or reading something else. Model the behavior you want to see from your teams. After all, if you ignore them, they'll start to reciprocate, but they'll do the same if you engage.

Be involved, engaged, and supportive. 

Are you micromanaging?

Like favoritism, micromanagement can be unintentional. Remember to step back and trust your employees to do what they need to do. 

Give them clear guidance and encourage them, but constantly checking up with employees or giving them overly detailed and frequent instruction isn't helpful. It's detrimental to morale and performance. 

If employees feel micromanaged, they think you — and management as a whole — don't trust them. Micromanaging causes employees to disengage and takes up a lot of your time and energy.   

What Is Employee Engagement Training for Managers?

Employee engagement training for managers consists of guidance and strategies for knowing why and how to encourage employee engagement in your organization. While building trust and relationships takes time, it is worth the effort to reap the benefits of more employees with higher engagement levels. 

Developing Executive Presence

Download Free Exercises for Developing Executive Presence

What Employees Need from Managers for Engagement

To be engaged, employees need you as the manager to provide certain things, and employee engagement training can help you learn how to offer them. 

Engagement isn't a one-way street. If you don't reciprocate the engagement and give employees what they need, your employees will disengage and may look elsewhere for what they need, and you'll lose talent. 

Make an effort to provide your employees with:

  • Appreciation 
  • Feedback
  • Contribution 
  • Listening
  • Information 
  • Connection
  • Encouragement
  • Training and development 

Let's take a closer look at each of these. 

Appreciation 

Though underappreciation is very common in workplaces, employees don't like it, especially when going above and beyond. Thoughtful, personalized, and public appreciation for specific accomplishments goes much farther than a general announcement of "good job everybody" at the end of a meeting. 

General admiration doesn't come across as sincere appreciation, though it is often the only appreciation many employees receive. Shift your focus to the specific acknowledgment of the value of each team member's contribution. 

Feedback

Like engagement, feedback is a two-way street. It helps to get feedback from your employees, but they need feedback from you too. Feedback makes employees feel they have a stake in the company and that you're invested in them and value their input. 

Contribution 

Employees need to know their contributions matter to the company's success. Employees who feel their contributions matter are more likely to become and remain engaged. 

Let your employees know how what they do moves the company toward its goals and makes a difference. Involve them in decision-making as much as possible. 

Listening 

Your team members need to be listened to (not just heard) and to feel that their opinions and suggestions matter. Letting them use their voices is critical and encourages engagement. Remember, your team members are your in-house experts, so it pays to listen to them and think about what they say.

Information 

Keep everyone informed. It's frustrating to be continually kept out of the loop and not know what's going on. Why be engaged if you don't know what's happening around you?

Update people on short and long-term goals and their various projects' impact. Informed team members feel like they are a valued part of the company and are more likely to engage.

Connection

Team members who feel connected to their peers and managers engage more organically with the company culture. Deliberately help them foster connections within the company by engaging with them on a personal level. 

New hires need to build connections, so find ways to connect with them and help them develop their relationships to and within the company. During onboarding is a great time to start making connections with new employees. 

Encouragement

Regular encouragement inspires people to perform better and increases their desire to get involved. When you notice and encourage members' work, they'll be more likely to engage with their teams. 

Training, Learning, and Development 

While few people would argue the importance of training employees, it's critical for training to be helpful. Are your employees getting the training they need to develop professionally and succeed in meeting company goals? 

Learning and development is a significant contributor to employee engagement. Many studies have found ongoing learning and development has extensive benefits to organizations. 

Are you providing your employees with learning and development opportunities so they can sharpen old skills and learn new ones? Learning and development opportunities are vital to engaging and ultimately retaining your team members.

Lead by Example: Be an Engaged Manager

One of the best ways to foster better employee engagement is to be engaged as a manager. Remember that as a manager, you set the tone in the company for your whole team. If you want people to be involved, you need to be engaged yourself. 

Some things you can do as a manager to improve your employee engagement include: 

  • Getting to know them
  • Focus on supporting them
  • Coach and develop them
  • Consult them and involve them in decisions
  • Learn and develop yourself 

Let's explore these concepts further.

Get to know your teams 

According to Forbes, someone's relationship with management is the most crucial factor in employee engagement. Start by welcoming new employees personally. Begin getting to know new employees and build relationships with them from day one to set the engagement tone and expectations immediately. 

However, don't neglect your veteran employees. If you have a good relationship with your employees, you'll better understand how to motivate and support them, which increases their engagement. 

Focus and support your teams 

Giving your employees clear objectives and priorities provides them with needed focus. When instructing them, provide the tools and support they need to carry out their projects. Engage in proactive planning with your employees and encourage innovation; in turn, they'll be engaged constructively. 

Mentor and develop people

Serve as a mentor to your employees. Help them develop their skills and confidence. Give them new opportunities and learn their goals so you can help build a plan to reach them.

Consult with your team members

Your employees' knowledge makes them a significant resource. Leverage this by consulting with them to solve problems. Hold regular team question-and-answer sessions to develop ideas and to facilitate improvements.

There are few better ways to show employees you value them and their input than seeking their opinion and advice. It stimulates their engagement and encourages them to take a problem-solving approach to their work.

Learn and develop yourself 

Learning and development aren't just critical for team members. Managers need to continue their management training to keep engagement up. Managers are vital to promoting a learning culture in an organization. When employees see that you are making efforts to learn and develop, they recognize the importance of self-betterment.

Set Clear Expectations about Employee Engagement Training

Clearly establish the expectations of employee engagement training. The goals of employee engagement training should align with business goals, strategy, mission, and priorities. 

Also, consider how you will measure progress. What are successful outcomes?

Reward Successful Employee Engagement

Remember to extend your appreciation to your engaged employees! Reward signs of increased engagement, while remembering that rewards for employees don't always have to be monetary. 

For example, perks such as certificates for discounts for a gym, restaurant, store, spa, or even access to education programs or classes can be rewarding. Perhaps offer some days with extended lunches or an additional paid day off. 

The Importance of Onboarding to Employee Engagement

Employee engagement should start when onboarding employees. Onboarding is generally the window during which employees decide whether to engage with the company. 

Instead of taking the time to connect with new employees, managers and human resource personnel alike often swamp the new employees with materials, information, policies, and standard operating procedures. While these things are essential for new employees, they aren't the same as forging connections with new coworkers. 

Onboarding isn't the same as orientation, which usually involves a lot of paperwork and the exchange of information. Orientation lasts a few hours or a day, but onboarding can extend for months as new employees get up to speed on their tasks and roles and establish their place in the company. 

Organized onboarding is critical

The onboarding process should be clear, orderly, and organized, complete with goals and objectives. A chaotic or disorganized onboarding period can cause employees to doubt the company knows what it's doing. 

Worse, poor onboarding results in disengaged employees early on. Many new hires quit within six months, and lousy onboarding practices significantly contribute to the decision. 

Having an employee quit so soon results in the company spending more time, energy, and money on recruiting, interviewing, and candidate selection. 

Wouldn't it be better just to retain new employees? An organized and carefully planned onboarding process helps.

How a Learning Platform Helps with Onboarding and Engagement 

Onboarding is too critical and involves too much information to leave to one person. While onboarding liaisons offering assistance and guidance to new employees is crucial, it isn't enough. Consider a learning platform to organize and streamline onboarding and facilitate training and development. 

A learning platform enables many people to contribute content to the onboarding and training of new employees. Having more contributors means employees get a more rounded view and broader understanding of the company, its workings, and their role, leading to a better engagement for new team members right from the start. 

With a learning platform, you can:

  • Incorporate clear goals and objectives
  • Establish learning tracks for personalized learning
  • Measure progress 
  • Collect feedback 
  • Initiate surveys, assessments, and quizzes
  • Increase collaboration 
  • Initiate employee engagement training

Meet the challenge of remote onboarding 

Having organized, flexible, positive, and effective remote onboarding for new team members can be challenging if your company does not meet in person. 

Using a learning platform can greatly facilitate in-person or remote onboarding. With a learning platform, you can organize remote onboarding and future employee training and development opportunities in an asynchronous matter that best fits everybody's timelines. 

Make onboarding and training tailored and flexible

No two employees play the same role within a company, and as a result, onboarding shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all solution. A learning platform allows you to customize onboarding and ongoing training to specific roles. 

Related Posts

Bring Continu to your organization today.

Let us know what you need
Get a personalized demo of Continu
Say hello to your new Learning Amplification Platform™