Fewer than one-third of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their work, and a recent study links that low number directly to managers.
Gallup’s latest study surveyed over 7,000 employees to examine how their managers’ behavior impacts engagement, and ultimately, whether or not workers jump ship.
The study found that bad managers have a huge effect on retention and engagement. Fifty percent of employees said they left their jobs because of their managers, and 70% reported managers are responsible for how engaged they feel at work.
Gallup went more in-depth and had respondents identify which manager behaviors made them feel engaged and more likely to stay. Here are the top three responses:
1. Consistent communication
Simply put, the more communication an employee has with their manager, the more engaged they feel. This can be in almost any form — email, phone calls, meetings, etc. The study found that regular meetings can result in employees being three times more engaged.
And work talk is just the half of it. Employees are truly engaged when they feel their managers care about their lives outside of the office. When workers can form a personal connection with their managers, they’re much more likely to stick around.
2. Performance management
Those surveyed said frequent feedback from their managers made them more engaged. When employees aren’t clear on their goals, duties or how they’re performing, they can feel disconnected from the organization. When managers consistently discuss responsibilities and progress, employees are much more focused and engaged.
3. Focus on strengths
The study found that employees respond much better when managers help them build their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses. When workers are encouraged to get better at what they’re already good at, they’re 67% more engaged and much more likely to produce good work — people enjoy using their natural talents. Only 31% of those surveyed felt engaged when their managers focused on improving their weaknesses.