Getting managers involved in employee engagement initiatives

Join us as we embark in a quest to “HR-ify” managers.

One of the roles of an HR manager is to help, coach, advise and educate management on how workforce issues can affect overall performance.

To get managers on board employee engagement initiatives, the HR department needs to help managers communicate regularly, develop their team, use the right tools and actively listen.

1.      Communication

Everyone knows the theoretical need and importance of constant communication. But the reality is that you’re too busy to tell others that you’re busy. Managers are oftentimes too busy to talk about communication, company vision and values, short-term and long-term goals, engagement levels or workplace happiness.

Still, employees expect that information from senior and middle management. Moreover, they need to hear it. This type of communication builds trust and engagement, as you can see in these top engagement drivers identified by Quantum Workplace in their 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report; this is what employees expect to feel in order to be engaged:

1. The leaders of this organization are committed to making it a great place to work.

2. I trust the leaders of this organization to set the right course.

3. I believe this organization will be successful in the future.

4. I know how I fit into the organization’s future plans.

5. I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization.

6. The leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource.

7. I trust the senior leadership team to lead the company to future success.

8.The organization makes investments to make me more successful.

Communication must be frequent and interactive. There has to be an exchange of information. Managers need to know what’s going on and what progress is being made.

As an HR manager, you first have to make sure that managers themselves are engaged. Then, you can create a communication plan and some clear initiatives that they can successfully implement, under your supervision. They will need to understand what they should do more of, do less of, or what needs doing differently.

Help them find that time and give them a plan that makes it easier for them to connect with employees in an efficient timeframe.

Team development and performance

Sometimes managers have so much work to do that they don’t have much time to actually manage. Clients, deadlines, objectives, timeline, billing, re-planning … it can all get pretty hectic. It seems like finding the time to teach people, develop skills and support performance is simply not possible.

The definition of managers’ work needs to include the development and performance levels of their team and here’s where HR has a crucial role. It’s up to the HR manager to balance management’s attributions and focus areas so that they include these key talent objectives.

This process also involves creating learning and development programs that managers themselves can implement within their teams, tracking their evolution. Aligning performance management and engagement monitoring systems with this definition is also a must do.

Another key aspect that needs to be planned and guided by the HR department is employee recognition. Providing consistent and frequent acknowledgement of good work. Providing informal and formal rewards.

These kind of initiatives have a maximum impact when they are supported and even delivered by management. Having your work and your efforts recognized by the very people who managed you and who helped you grow is surely an engagement driver.

HR plans it, organizes it and facilitates its implementation with the help of managers.


Fear of paperwork has been known to keep managers awake at night. It’s probably the first thing that comes to their minds when you tell them “Here are our HR initiatives to drive employee engagement that you’ll need to help implement.”

Luckily, the age of digital dominance has arrived and companies that don’t take advantage of cloud computing will be in the minority in less than six years, according to

HR can help managers by streamlining performance, recognition and engagement administration. Implementing smart, easy-to-use tools will help you meet employees’ needs.

What you’ll need to consider when choosing these tools is user experience, speed of implementation, tech support, data privacy, data security and integration. Make sure you properly roll-out these tools and get managers accustomed to using them.

By fostering collaboration, engagement monitoring and real-time data, these tools will prove to be an immense help to managers in no time at all.

Active listening

Simply listening without acknowledging, responding, or acting on what is being heard can damage credibility and engagement. That doesn’t mean that managers should act on every little thing, but they should acknowledge it.

Every feedback, conversation, suggestion has to be heard. It’s a matter of mutual respect in the workplace, which sometimes escapes us when we’re too busy.

HR can coach managers into caring more, giving them the tools and the knowledge they need in order to actively listen and act on employee’s suggestions.

Feedback is a critical management instrument. It has to be given in a constructive manner and received with a proactive attitude.


Employee engagement is a reflection of good management. Your company is a living organism that has to balance all of its functions in order to perform to optimum parameters.

As soon as you realize that HR managers are there to improve management processes and optimize the overall work experience, things will fall into place, ensuring the success of your employee engagement initiatives. Trust your HR manager : )

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