Around the world companies large and small are waking up to the importance of the employee experience and how it impacts the
This is where management comes in. Human Resources aren’t solely responsible for improving the employee experience. Everyone has a part to play and a line manager’s role is particularly influential for an employee. A committed, hands-on manager can make all the difference between a positive employee experience and a toxic company culture.
Before we go on to explain why this is, it’s important to clarify what a hands-on manager is — and what it isn’t. A hands-on manager is involved in the day-to-day needs of his or her employees and the everyday operations of the business. They take the time to coach their team, invest in their progress and they prioritise
They are also committed to regular employee feedback and employee mentoring. Importantly, however, a hands-on manager knows when to step back. They don’t micromanage. They are constantly present but on the perimeter of things rather than insisting on taking control.
“Importantly, a hands-on manager knows when to step back. They don’t micromanage. They are constantly present but on the perimeter of things rather than insisting on taking control.”
Hands-on managers decide to take this approach because they are well aware of the difference they can make to an employee’s work experience. Below, we’ll explore six ways in which managers have a direct and substantial bearing on the employee experience.
1. Hands-on managers can build trust and familiarity with their employees
Increasingly, modern organisations are moving away from annual appraisals and towards more frequent performance discussions. When catch-ups like this are more informal and commonplace, employees can let their guard down and relax, while building relationships with their managers.
Familiarity breeds trust and when employees trust their leaders, they feel more secure and confident in their position within the company. Rather than viewing management as intimidating authority figures, regular check-ins allow employees to get to know their managers.
2. They can deliver reward and recognition more frequently
Reward and recognition are important in terms of performance management and employee experience. In fact, according to a Gallup Analysis, employees who don’t feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to say they’ll quit their company in the next year. And it’s not about money — it’s been shown that for the modern employee, intrinsic motivators are much more effective than external motivators such as salary or cash bonuses.
Managers who rarely communicate or check-in with their employees don’t have the opportunity to deliver recognition when it is deserved. Hands-on managers, however, are usually present to witness the accomplishments themselves, so they can provide recognition promptly, letting the employee know they are appreciated.
3. A hands-on manager is more likely to pick up on employee burnout
We all know that it’s crucial to build an employee experience that reduces stress. Stress can lead to employee burnout and the relationship is cyclical — employee burnout has a seriously negative impact on employee experience. In fact, according to Gallup, employees who suffer from burnout are 2.6 times more likely to leave their employer and 63% more likely to take a sick day. This is because they are simply not happy with their working environment or their company culture.
Employee burnout can present in different ways. Unless a manager is present and observing, they might not pick up on the telltale signs that an employee’s well-being is spiralling. With increased communication and familiarity, hands-on managers can intervene and help employees early, before the problem becomes unmanageable. This might mean helping an employee achieve a healthier work-life balance, or it might mean adjusting goals to be less demanding.
4. When employees have hands-on managers, they are more clear about SMART goals
Traditionally, goal setting has been very long-term focused. They were allocated downward once a year during an annual appraisal and employees were expected to remember and track these goals throughout the year. These days, we know it’s better for employee engagement and the employee experience in general if we focus on shorter-term goals that are re-visited every few months. This keeps businesses more agile and allows them to react to immediate pressures or barriers.
As a hands-on manager is more present and more communicative, employees can discuss their SMART objectives with their managers, get clarification and discuss concerns. When employees have a clear purpose and they are certain of their goals and how they align to organisational objectives, they can keep focused on the bigger picture and they generally have a better employee experience.
5. Hands-on managers are more receptive to feedback
We’ve already established that hands-on managers can deliver more timely feedback, which ultimately improves performance. Further to this, frequent communication between employee and manager allows for feedback to flow the other way. A hands-on manager is open to discussing how workplace processes, the technological environment and company strategies can be improved. In the long run, this stands to greatly enhance the employee experience.
6. They are in a good position to know what training and development Is needed
We know that the Employee Life Cycle (ELC) is an important part of the employee experience. This employee lifecycle is a chronological journey of an employee at your company and it includes onboarding, development and off boarding. An ideal hands-on manager is well aware of how important coaching, training and development is to the employee experience.
He or she also has an acute understanding of how to tailor development for each employee. A hands-on manager acts as a coach and is eager to help their employees progress and accomplish their career goals. When an employee knows their manager supports them, they are all the more confident and content in their role and with their company.
By all accounts, it appears that improving the employee experience is going to be a serious concern for all businesses moving forward. Not only is it the for employees but it also helps to boost levels of performance and productivity, while creating a dynamic and supportive workplace culture that is attractive to top talent. Managers have a significant role to play — and it’s clear that the more present and hands-on management is the more the employee experience benefits.