In spite of the continued wave of trendy training, “employee engagement” is not a program.
Yep, you heard it here first. No matter what outside consultants are telling your executives, HR department, and training people, employee engagement is just not a corporate wide, culturally driven initiative.
Or at least, it shouldn’t be.
Then what is it?
It is what good managers do.
Individual managers, named Harry, Sylvia, Tish, Bob, Jeremy, and Jennifer. These are the people who’ve been promoted to a position where they are now “the boss” and good bosses recognize that they can’t do it alone. They need staff who are dedicated, excited, and passionate about their work and believe in the team’s goals—and skillful, too.
And how do managers get people to that level? How do they create “engaged” people?
Good old-fashioned people management.
Sadly, that’s tough for some supervisors, since somebody chose to elevate them but didn’t help them elevate their skill-set. As we’ve written before, happens all the time. Organizations take an effective “individual contributor,” make them a manager—and do nothing more!!!
I recently conducted a full day workshop for a venerable home appliance company. A brand name you’d know. At one point I asked the management team in the room, “How many of you have received quality management skills training designed to give you the ability to manage people?”
Even though I’ve been in the training industry since 1986, I was stunned to see fifteen folks stare back at me, each quietly shaking their heads. Not one of them had been trained to take on the mantle of management.
And yet, this is where employee engagement begins … with the manager.
In our research, here is what “engaged employees” tell us their manager does—regularly:
- My boss communicates what I should do.
- He talks to me—and listens.
- When I get it right, she praises me.
- He tells me when I am off track.
- I am trained and coached.
- She spends time with me.
- He shows me respect.
Guess what? Every item listed above is a people management skill. A learnable, trainable skill. Not a “program.” These are the things effective managers do, day in and day out, with and for their people.
Are you a manager? If so, congrats! But instead of waiting for the organization to bring in yet another trendy training program, practice personal accountability—invest in yourself—and go get some training. We certainly wouldn’t want to ask a victim thinking kind of question like, “Why didn’t they train me?” but rather The Question Behind the Question (QBQ): “What can I do to develop myself?”
Believe me, your dedicated, excited, passionate, and skilled people will thank you for it.
What was the best people management training you’ve ever received?
What are the skills needed to be an outstanding manager?
Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!