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3 Manager Metrics That Can Significantly Impact Engagement

The performance of managers and their teams is measured all the time.

Companies look for revenue growth, cost reductions, productivity, output, customer satisfaction… There really are so many data points that are measured. However, there are other equally important metrics that go unmeasured in almost all organizations. And these data points could uncover solutions to retention issues and the lack of employee engagement in workplaces.

Executives spend a great deal of their time developing strategies to increase revenue and decrease costs. They have set aside funds to cover costs associated with people quitting the organization. Unfortunately, most don’t consider moving some of that budget over to activities designed to keep people from quitting. Engagement metrics are measured (and, sadly, seldom acted upon), but the real things that influence employee engagement and retention are challenging to quantify and, therefore, not considered in strategy. However, if we could just find a way to measure them, the impact could be substantial. Since most of the variance in employee engagement rests on the shoulders of the managers, this is where it makes sense to focus measurement.

Here are some manager analytics I’d like to see:

  • Number of weekly one on one conversations.

Employees everywhere are seeking a relationship with their bosses. This is something that is simple to implement and costs nothing, yet it’s also something that’s dropped to the bottom of managers’ to-do lists whenever things get busy.

Notice, I said this is something very simple to put in place, but it’s not necessarily easy. Managers often tell me they’re in a real time squeeze and have so many other deliverables that conversations with their team members just have to be put aside. If, however, they were being measured on it, managers would certainly find the time to hold these conversations. From the leadership side, this mandate means there is a stated commitment to having one on one conversations organization wide. So not only will managers make the time, but they will also be encouraged to find the time if their success in the organization will depend on it.

According to Gallup, only 13% of employees feel their organization communicates effectively with them. Having regular, consistent, and frequent one on one conversations is the best way to ensure communication flow between manager and team.

  • Number of people in training.

One of the biggest motivational factors for employees is learning and professional development. By providing company-sanctioned training, employees will have access to the information they need to excel in their jobs. People love to do good work, and they love to be recognized for it. So, providing the training they need is a sure way to make them feel good and be more productive in the process.

Employees like to feel they are growing and improving professionally. Incentives like company subsidized learning opportunities are a huge plus for workers. They’re also huge for the employer, as they will have happy employees who are learning and, presumably, applying what they’ve learned to the job, and readying themselves for future roles.

The manager is the go-to person for discussions about training. They know best what their team needs and what their reports need to bring them up to speed or help them to advance. Having proper training, delivered by the right people for the job, will provide the knowledge. Ongoing coaching will ensure application on the job and associated surges in productivity.

  • Number of people promoted.

An engaged, involved workforce will be looking for ways to learn and grow (see above). After growth has occurred, many will be looking for positions in the company to flex their muscles and see what new challenges they can tackle. Need some convincing? 45% of millennials say that a job that accelerates their career or professional development is very important to them.

Often managers don’t take the time to talk with their people about professional development. Generally, conversations of this type are left for the annual review. However, they should be part of the one on one conversation, since it demonstrates an interest in the employee now and in the future. It also helps companies determine who is a candidate for the leadership pipeline. Of course, the key benefit to organizations is that employees will look within their organization for upward mobility, rather than outside.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace tells us 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. If they are happy in their current company, they’ll look there first for opportunities. If they don’t find them, they’ll go elsewhere. And that costs companies up to 400% of their annual salary to replace them!

It may seem as if I’m picking on managers and putting undue pressure on them. Well, maybe that’s somewhat true. What I know is managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. This means managers are the chief reason people leave organizations, but they are also the chief reason people stay in organizations. Therefore, the manager is the linchpin in an employee engagement and retention strategy.

An executive team that demands tracking and reporting of the metrics suggested above is investing in the future of the organization and its people. It believes in the power of developing people and keeping them in the company versus losing them to outside organizations.

Let’s not forget that most executives have reports, themselves. As a result, they are also managers who will be held to the same reporting standards. Imagine the impact that would have on communication, productivity, and retention within an organization!

I’m here to help you create and manage programs such as those suggested above. My manager training will prepare them to have the crucial one on one conversations that every engagement strategy should include.


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