Employee Engagement

Managers and Employee Engagement in the Age of Hybrid Work

Picture of Barbara Marzari Wibaux By   Barbara Marzari Wibaux  

Managers now have new digital tools at their disposal to communicate and increase employee engagement. But what is the best use of these new solutions? Let’s discover some effective examples of managerial communication in the age of hybrid work.

 

The pandemic has turned companies’ lives upside down, and managers now have had to adapt. New communication tools are available to them: they need to make good use of them in order to design effective communication streams with their teams. In this article, you will discover some examples of successful managerial communication that generates employee engagement.

 

Summary :

  1. 1. Massive resignations due to poor management
  2. 2. New skills required of managers
  3. 3. Examples of effective digital managerial communication
    1. a. Daily briefing for store managers
    2. b. Communication channel dedicated to managers
    3. c. Evolving documents according to managers’ feedback
    4. d. Employee pulse with manager involvement
  4. 4. Digital tools in an environment that promotes dialogue

 

1. Massive resignations due to poor management

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review reveals that more and more field workers in the US are leaving their jobs. In fact, there are an estimated 11 million unfilled jobs to date. Dissatisfaction with wages and problems with Covid are not the only reasons why field workers are quitting in droves. Another reason is dissatisfaction with their managers.

 


Boston Consulting Group researchers found last year in a survey of hourly U.S. workers in the retail, distribution, travel, and food service industries that while compensation and Covid 19-related reasons were the biggest reasons for turnover, next on the list was a bad relationship with their boss.”

Harvard Business Review, March 2022


 

2. New skills required of managers

Managers have a considerable impact on employee engagement and, consequently, on company results. This is often due to the ability of managers to interact with their teams. The way they interact and exchange with their employees is crucial, especially in the new hybrid working environment.

 


The latest Gallup study (1) confirms that the role of a manager goes far beyond supervision: Gallup found that 70% of a team’s commitment is influenced by the managers.


 

Deprived of traditional communication channels such as the face-to-face team meeting or simply the informal coffee break, managers have had to acquire new managerial skills. For example, active listening, the ability to encourage dialogue from a distance, empathy and caring. Not to mention the digital skills needed to use the new communication tools.

 

More than ever, managers are de facto the first link in a company’s communication chain. Thanks to their proximity to their teams and their knowledge of their environment, they can provide context to the information transmitted by top management to their employees.

 

Aware of this added value, companies are equipping themselves with digital tools to facilitate managerial communication.

 

3. Examples of effective digital managerial communication

 

Thanks to the digitalisation of communication tools, several companies have encouraged the implementation of new management communication practices. The aim of these new communication methods is to strengthen the commitment of employees in the field to their company.

 

Here are some effective examples, the implementation of which is facilitated by the Sociabble platform:

 

  1. a. Daily briefing for store managers

A major player in the field of clothing distribution has decided to equip store managers with the digital platform Sociabble, which allows them to distribute the daily briefing to the teams. In concrete terms, after the briefing meeting held before the shop opens, the managers share all the information in the application.

Available on the smartphones of department managers and sales staff, it gives access to all the important messages such as the day’s promotions, stock levels, team schedules and rotations, turnover updates, etc. It is an asynchronous communication: it allows employees who take their shift at different times to have the same information as those who attended the morning briefing.

Also, employees can interact with their manager via the Sociabble application, as well as with their colleagues: this improves the accessibility of the information, but also of the manager as such, who is easily reachable via the application.

Finally, in the event of an unforeseen problem or emergency at the point of sale, Sociabble is the most effective way to notify everyone immediately.

 

Managers and employee engagement

 

  1. b. Communication channel dedicated to managers

Several companies have decided to encourage peer-to-peer communication between managers by providing them with specific channels. For example, one of the world’s leading optical lens manufacturers has deployed a channel dedicated to managers within its internal communication platform, Sociabble.

This channel aims to encourage exchanges between peers, by sharing best practice in terms of managing employees in the field.

It is also where managers find deadlines and HR reference documents (e.g., end-of-year interviews), as well as all the information that concerns them directly (e.g., logistics for the next managers’ meeting).

Note that this is a communication channel where informal exchanges are encouraged.

 

Managers and employee engagement

 

  1. c. Evolving documents according to managers’ feedback

One of the challenges of internal communication is to play an advisory role with managers and to prepare communication materials for them. To be effective, the materials must include clear and structured messages, be adapted to hybrid work, and be relevant to the realities on the ground.

One of the leaders in the automotive sector has systematised this with documents distributed at regular intervals by newsletter, and that are always available to managers via Sharepoint, accessible directly from Sociabble.

These documents not only update managers on group news, but also contextualise messages in relation to events in the field (for example, why such a message is important for a particular production site, what the repercussions might be for employees, etc.).

These documents are designed entirely with the needs of managers in the field in mind: surveys and one-to-one interviews are conducted regularly via Sociabble, to constantly adapt them.

 

Managers and employee engagement

 

  1. d. Employee pulse with manager involvement

More and more companies have realised the strategic importance of employee engagement in meeting business objectives. Employees have high expectations when it comes to having their opinions considered.

Sociabble offers a wide range of tools to facilitate communication between teams and their managers. For example, it is possible to set up regular employee surveys to monitor indicators of employee confidence in top management decisions. Specific surveys can be deployed in a matter of minutes, from a very small team to thousands of employees.

Managers are encouraged to do this as often as possible with employees in the field: thanks to their proximity to their teams, managers can contextualise feedback from their teams and clarify it with top management.

 

Managers and employee engagement

 

 

4. Digital tools in an environment that promotes dialogue

In conclusion, managers are one of the priority communication channel for employee engagement.

For this to happen, companies need to invest in their professional well-being: managers need to feel equipped with the right tools and free to express themselves with top management and their teams in a climate of constructive dialogue.

The easier the communication and the more fluid the exchange of information, the higher the level of employee engagement, including managers. After all, managers are also employees—let’s not forget that.

 

(1) https://www.gallup.com/home.aspx

 

 

 

 

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