Jenny Perkins, Head of Engagement at Cirrus, offer some practical advice based on her experience of helping managers to engage teams with new initiatives.
When it comes to effective employee engagement, it is widely recognised that line managers have a pivotal role to play. There is plenty of evidence to back this up. When Engage For Success identified organisations with both high levels of employee engagement and high levels of performance, they found engaging managers to be a common factor and a key enabler. So, how can line managers deeply engage the people in their teams?
At Cirrus, we have vast experience of working internationally with a wide range of organisations across different industry sectors. Here are ten top tips to help line managers engage teams in any business:
- Be authentic: If you don’t believe what you say, your team won’t believe it either. Engage in open, values-based discussion. This builds trust and helps overcome any cynicism.
- Be consistent: You’re aiming to get buy-in across your team, and ultimately across the entire business. Make sure you continually communicate the same message.
- Be disruptive: To change mindsets, you need to challenge preconceptions. Take managers out of their comfort zones. Help them feel comfortable about being uncomfortable.
- Have fun: If it’s not enjoyable, it won’t be effective. And make sure you celebrate success along the way.
- Build momentum: Engaging people with change takes lots of energy – not just at the beginning, but on an ongoing basis. Regular reinforcement helps engagement to cascade and build momentum.
- Keep learning: Develop your key skills of dialogue, facilitation and coaching, to help engage others.
- Interact: It’s all too easy to broadcast messages, but others are rarely engaged in this way. We need questioning and two-way dialogue to really make sense of things.
- Track progress: Measure progress through feedback loops focused on what people are learning and what they are actually doing with it in practice. Make the feedback visible and simple, and review it as key management data alongside ‘hard’ metrics such as sales and profitability.
- Make it stick: Celebrate progress. If you don’t see any, ask why – and offer support. Give people the opportunity to feedback and influence the process as it progresses.
- Persist: It takes time and determination to make major changes permanent. Keep going even when times are tough. Adapt as you go but always keep your big goals in sight.