Interesting question. At first blush, many of you would say no. And for the most part, you would be correct. Engaging employees at every level and every area of the company is what engagement is all about. However, the opportunity exists for organizations to go one step further and maximize middle managers as the conduit for nurturing employee engagement.
Middle managers are in a unique position in most organization structures. Rather than looking at this level of management as part of the hierarchy from the top of the organization to front line employees consider them as the hub of a wheel.
Middle Managers need to connect across organization structures and functional teams. They connect with industry collaborators, partners and suppliers. This unique position makes them one on the most important vehicle for communication and discussion of organization policies, programs and priorities. Given the appropriate training and provided with the tools this group can create the environment which encourages participation, inclusion, openness and trust. Unfortunately, in many cases, due to competing priorities and lack of support they unintentionally become inhibitors versus accelerators to engagement.
When we INVEST in this group:
I Include this group early on & throughout critical communications and change initiatives
N Nurture an environment that accelerates organizational trust and ‘employee voice’
V Value the unique role of the middle manager in enabling higher levels of engagement and performance
E Encourage, champion & recognize those who model behaviours that support inclusion and advance trust
S Seek feedback often from this group, encourage them to create environments where feedback and accountability flourish
T Train and support them with tools and coaching, while modeling the behaviours to become engagement champions
Recognize the unique position of this group and the opportunity to maximize their role within the organization. They are part of management hierarchy to which key business information such as annual priorities, goals, objectives and key messages must be cascaded. They are closely connected to day to day operations and the employees who ‘do the work’, who are front line with customers and often have great insights into what’s working and what isn’t working. At Lighthouse NINE Group we recognize how important this ‘hub’ of the wheel is to business success. Prioritizing the time to INVEST in middle managers can help create champions and ambassadors for the company. Once they are engaged they can be one of the greatest assets to enable and strengthen organization-wide engagement.
To find out how Lighthouse NINE Group can help you with maximize employee engagement, please call.