In a recent study conducted by Gallup, it was found that only “20% of full-time employees worldwide are engaged in their work.” This is an alarming figure and raises an important question. What would the overall global productivity be if employee engagement was raised to even 50%? How about 80%? It’s hard to imagine, but this figure from Gallup exposes some major flaws in the current mentality governing how employees become engaged.  

When CEOs and managers want to increase their employee engagement, they often turn to a rewards-based system. Things like free food, raffles, and office espresso machines have historically been common “go-tos” for increasing engagement. While these things can have some marginal success and motivate your employees, they often prove only to boost morale for a short time. Sustained employee engagement over the long term is a much harder goal to achieve. As Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO at Gallup puts it, “there is little to no connection between these activities (giving employees food, ect.) and mental health outcomes (lower stress and burnout), let alone connections to customers and shareholders.” 

Usually, the job of keeping employees engaged falls on the company’s managers. As demonstrated above, the current methods in place for accomplishing that task are not as effective as they should be. Perhaps not surprisingly then, Gallup also found that managers report higher stress and burnout than the people they manage. So then, the million dollar question becomes this: How does a company increase employee engagement without burning out their managers? 

The answer lies with the manager and how they are trained to do their job. In reviewing the methods used by the most successful managers in the workforce, Gallup found that successful managers coach instead of direct. It’s a simple concept, and one that makes a lot of sense. Behind every winning sports team there is a stellar coach that knows how to keep his/her players engaged in the task at hand. As Clifton puts it, managers need to learn to “develop people just like a winning coach develops a great player and team in any sport — by maximizing their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.” With this in mind, how does one go about making this crucial shift? 

Gallup leaves us with 5 advice points on how to do it:  

  • Embrace the “learn and grow” mentality that the workforce is yearning for. 
  • Make it known that you are changing company culture. Let employees know that you want to move from “administrating teams” to “coaching teams. 
  • Define the change precisely. Develop a “culture mission statement” to give employees a clear picture of how they’re going to be managed. 
  • Center questions and conversations around “goals”. This keeps employees focused on what they are trying to accomplish and how their current performance stacks up against their desired outcome.  
  • Know that you are going to have to coach your managers on how to be coaches. This sounds silly, but just because you announce the fact that you are changing mentalities from directing to coaching, doesn’t mean that your current managers know the difference. Plan on helping them develop a coaching mentality and giving them the tools to maintain it . 

So, if you’re left wondering how to best equip your managers to become effective coaches, Performance Scoring can help. A good coach needs to stay continually engaged with their employees, drawing out their strengths and avoiding their weaknesses. Performance Scoring’s dynamic performance engagement application helps managers keep track of how their employees are doing and how they are stacking up against the goals set for them. Coaching may not be easy, but it’s the key to successful employee engagement. Let Performance Scoring help you by contacting us to learn more about how we can help the transition from manager to coach be a homerun for your company. 

Clifton, Jim. “Gallup Finds a Silver Bullet: Coach Me Once Per Week.” Gallup.com, Gallup, 27 May 2021, www.gallup.com/workplace/350057/gallup-finds-silver-bullet-coach-once-per-week.aspx. 

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