Employee engagement is a hot topic nowadays for many companies because of its undeniable impact on productivity and creativity.Creating and sustaining this engagement is particularly necessary in France given the low motivation of employees: surveys show that less than one in ten employees is fully engaged in their professional life! Many companies are therefore investing in ways to increase it, in particular by seeking to improve employees’ Quality of Life at Work (QWL). They offer flexible working hours and teleworking days; more friendly premises; relaxation rooms; they organise interdepartmental events…. These efforts, like the new legal provisions, do contribute to improving the quality of life at work. But their effects on engagement are not always up to the desired expectations….
Does there exist a solution that would multiply the results already obtained?
Yes, but on condition that…… companies are aware of the significant factors affecting the quality of life of employees. And of the key role the manager plays in the deployment of such factors! The factors that influence employee engagement are well known. For nearly twenty years, the Gallup Institute has been measuring employee engagement using its Q12 questionnaire, which evaluates how each employee lives their daily life, specifically if they:
- Clearly know what is expected of them
- Have the means to achieve the objectives set
- Can work on a daily basis on topics where they feel effective
- Are recognised for the quality of their work
- Feel that their manager is interested in them
- Have opportunities to develop
- Observe that their opinions matter
- Feel that their work is important
- Consider that their colleagues do a good job
- Regularly discuss their progress with their manager
- Are encouraged to acquire new skills
- Can balance personal/professional life
However, the implementation of these factors depends essentially on the DIRECT MANAGER.
But these managers are often insufficiently prepared to install QWL in their teams!On the one hand, they are not asked to concern themselves with the wellbeing and commitment of their employees. On the other hand, they rarely have the necessary know-how, as traditional training courses do not address the specific skills required. As a result, managers are often powerless in everyday situations where the quality of life at work is at stake.
To increase employee engagement, the company must therefore support its managers!
How can companies support their managers?Ideally, through a change in managerial practices, promoted and driven by top management and involving all levels of the hierarchy. This represents a lengthy process requiring significant investment from the directors. Moreover, faced with more pressing economic issues, the approach runs a high risk of stalling, despite the desire of management to move forward.
To avoid this risk, an approach targeted directly at the line managers is more appropriate:
- It would be aimed at the managers who are directly in charge of 80% of the company’s employees. Often young and recently appointed themselves, these managers are often conscious of the need for improving wellbeing at work. And they generally have the freedom to choose the way they manage.
- This approach does not require significant investment by top management. It is simple and quick to set up by the HR Department.
In concrete terms :After a broad communication showing the benefits of QWL for managers and employees, the approach consists of:
- Ensuring that each line manager is aware that QWL is a priority for the company
- Involving the manager’s N+1 in the process
- Integrating a QWL module into the training curriculum
- Strengthening the weight of QWL criteria in the annual evaluation process
- Communicating regularly on the progress of QWL in the field