Two new studies are out that underscore the importance of managers in determining whether employees consider themselves engaged in their work and in the mission of their companies.
The studies focus on different levels of management as being determinative in employees' feelings of engagement. But the overall point is that workers' sense of welcome by their company, and commitment to their work, tends to be highly influenced by the behavior and attitudes of their leaders at any and all levels of the company.
Three key drivers of employee engagement, identified in a survey this fall of 1,500 employees nationally, were their relationship with their immediate supervisor, belief in senior leadership and pride in working for the company.
"The attitude and actions of the immediate supervisor can enhance employee engagement or can create an atmosphere where an employee becomes disengaged," the recent study by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training concluded.
At the same time, in a recent study by Modern Survey, the No. 1 factor in driving engagement was this: "I have confidence in my company's senior management." The biggest problem with that finding, the survey outfit said, was that "favorability ratings of senior management haven't changed much over the past year, and remain at depressingly low levels."
This outlines a clear challenge for corporate managers and executives: As much as they may massage other lever of employee engagement ranging from benefits to good business performance, the biggest influence they can have on the men and women in the next cubicle or out in the field or on the factory floor below is individual exhibition of leadership qualities and their personal relationships with their subordinates.
Or, as the MSW-Carnegie study put it, "Believing in the ability of senior leadership to take their input, lead the company in the right direction and openly communicate the state of the organization is key in driving [employee] engagement."