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Middle manager engagement is critical to employee engagement

Middle management is something of a dirty word. Yet they are a key connection between the boardroom and the shop floor. Undervalued? Certainly. Under-invested? Most definitely. All of which hasn't been helped by the focus on leadership. A focus that comes at the cost of middle managers.

The allure of leadership outshines the reality of middle management

89% believe strengthening organisational leadership is a top priority. It's where most money goes. Noticing a theme here?

Leaders have been championed, debated, and analysed. Companies are investing heavily in primping and priming their leaders. That's logical. Commercially-savvy even. After all, few other factors influence every layer of a company as its leadership.

The focus on developing leadership is in stark contrast to middle management who appear to be expendable and unnecessary. Only adding to the bloated levels of a company. Yet line managers are closest to those on the ground.

The importance of having engaged middle managers

Middle management have the biggest influence on staff engagement. They are the ones making their staff happy or woefully discontent. Motivating their team or simply frustrating them. And driving productivity or hindering it. Studies show that more regular feedback leads to a 15% reduction in employee turnover. People leave managers, not companies.

So, to drive productivity you must put the spotlight back onto the middle manager. It's time to:

Promote the right middle managers in the first place

UK businesses are losing managers faster than they can produce them. So figuring out how to support first-time managers more effectively needs to be top priority for employers moving forward. How companies support new managers can vary significantly.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your newly promoted employee knows how to lead just because they thrived in their original role. They’re more likely to leave than ask for help.

Pick people with an innate talent for people management. When companies pick candidates with high management talent, they can achieve 27% higher revenue per employee than average.

Focus on management engagement

Employees are 59% more engaged if their manager is. Leaders must understand and address common gripes of middle managers. Which, according to Harvard research, includes:

  • Feeling undervalued
  • Their organisation being inefficient and ineffective
  • Being overworked
  • Having work that lacks meaning and purpose
  • No career or promotion opportunities
  • Poor leadership
  • Feeling that issues are ignored

Train your managers to become coaches

Few managers are born with the skills demanded by their role. Most only become the managers they are because of training and development. Central to which is getting and listening to feedback on a regular basis. We're talking weekly here, not once a month, quarter, or year.

HR, you have a problem with your middle management

Middle managers often feel awkward talking openly with their team. Another challenge often cited is delivering constructive feedback. This isn't a weakness. There's a lot to be said for managers who care. Yet they equally must also be able to provide honest and open feedback, being candid in their communication.

Weekly10 removes the sometimes intimidating nature of face-to-face formal feedback. It provides a collaborative, constructive environment for open communication..

Feedback is a critical success factor

Feedback continues to flow, regardless of the daily firefighting and ever-changing priorities. This also sidesteps the need for often detested and ineffective quarterly or annual employee reviews. 96% of employees said that getting regular feedback is a good thing. And when we say regular, we don't mean every other month. We mean weekly.

Leadership has rightly become a hot topic in HR circles. Being blinded by this comes at a cost. Weekly10 tackles some of the most common sticking issues of streamlining communication between teams and their managers, empowering both in their roles.

Support your middle managers with our latest best practice guide: How to be a better manager for your people. Get your free download below 👇