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How Managers Can Survive An Employee Engagement Crisis

How Managers Can Survive An Employee Engagement Crisis

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According to a report regarding the State of Employee Engagement in Australia, our nation is experiencing a considerably low level of employee engagement. 

This represents a significant issue to businesses nationwide, as employee engagement not only correlates with employee loyalty, but also the effort employees will put in at work. The same report found engaged employees to show effort scores 77% higher than disengaged employees. 

Australia is experiencing an engagement crisis, and frontline managers need to do something about it.

Leadership Expert and former ‘Best Place to Work’ award winner Kevin Kruse claims that employee motivation and engagement can be achieved by focussing on management and relating the company’s goals to individual values.

Kruse claims that top-down initiatives to improve employee engagement are on the rise but are a waste of time if they don't change the behaviour of individual managers.  This has become a problem, as these initiatives tend to focus on cosmetic employee benefits that don’t actually increase motivation.

In recent years, companies have tried to increase their staff’s motivation by introducing employee ‘perks’ such as casual Fridays, employee appreciation events like picnics and dinners, and adding game tables and televisions to lunchrooms.  Although on the surface these initiatives may seem to have an impact on an employee’s happiness at work, they do not improve the performance of managers and therefore will not increase engagement.

Kruse looked at employees of large retail businesses to understand the impact of individual managers on their employee’s engagement levels.  He found that although employment conditions are the same across the network, employee engagement scores varied considerably – which he attributed to the behaviours of individual store managers.

Employee engagement defined

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their company and organisational goals. The more the employee cares, the more effort they are likely to put in.

Kruse defines the three key triggers that a manager should consider to increase the engagement levels of their employees as:

Growth: Challenging employees and encouraging them to learn new things

Recognition: Ensuring employees feel appreciated by their colleagues and superiors  

Trust: Building trust between the employee and their manager, their company and their future possibilities within the business

It’s essential that businesses, and more importantly individual managers, shift focus from the overall organisational goals and consider specifically what's important to their employees.   Managers can then refocus their workforce around employee objectives and align them with overall corporate goals to generate increased business success through a more engaged workforce.