Best Practices

This Gallup Study Is a Must Read for Managers and Leaders


The State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders report provides an in-depth look at what characterizes great managers based on over four decades of extensive talent research.

This is what you should know:

Neither employees nor managers are engaged
  • Only 30% of employees are engaged at work.
  • Only 35% of managers are engaged at work. (Gallup Study)

Now, we know not all employees in the organisation work using their full potential. And we know there may be many reasons responsible for this result, but this is not encouraging knowing that disengagement acts like a disease if left unchecked ‒ infecting the workforce at large.

Managers are to blame for the low engagement

Yes, when it comes to responsibility, studies indicate that leaders and managers are primarily responsible for employee engagement. We wrote about that before but the old adage holds true: People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.

Employees who leave their job usually decide to do so because of relational issues. They leave dysfunctional relationships.

  • The manager accounts for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement.
  • 50% of Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” (Gallup Study)

That’s why managers should focus on building a team spirit that relies on trust, open communication, and solidarity. Companies and their leaders definitely have an impact on employees’  job satisfaction rates. Managers can either make this impact a positive, or a negative one.

Employee engagement is linked to measurable ROI

A workforce must be kept fully engaged for any business to succeed. In order to do so, leaders must first identify the key psychological drivers of their employees. It is important to intimately understand the individual levels of employee engagement throughout your workforce and its overall impact on your business.

How managers and leaders can improve employee engagement rates

Start at the top of your company and work your way down

Employees’ engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement, whose engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement. Gallup calls this the Cascade Effect. For example, managers who work for engaged leaders and 39% more likely to be engaged. Employees who work for engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged. (Gallup Study)

This might look like an obvious realization ‒ it’s about setting the example – but there is a difference between knowing or understanding something and actually doing something about it.
Employees want leaders and managers to communicate clear expectations, listen to their team members and give recognition.

Take the time to build authentic professional relationships

Otherwise, you will struggle to be a great manager. It is important to know what motivates your people, individually. In fact, there is a difference between building a team culture and deindividuation. It’s really important for people to feel that they are being recognized as individuals as well as part of the crowd.

Just like employees need to feel an emotional investment in their work for them to stay, they need to feel that their supervisor and the company cares about them. When they actually see the direct impact they have on the bigger picture and feel that their employer cares about their satisfaction, they’re able to see themselves staying for the longer haul. Just like most relationships, it’s necessary to receive as much as to give. It’s the only way this is going to be mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

Give your people the opportunity to use their strengths in their daily work

Leaders, Human Resources representatives and managers should bear in mind that the best thing an employer can do is constantly make their employees feel appreciated and understood. The best leaders are the ones who regularly check in with their employees and colleagues about their satisfaction, ask for their opinions and listen to their concerns.

It is also crucial to give the right job to the right person and that’s only possible if you know your employes well enough.

So, are you a leader who makes their team feel appreciated? One of the first (most essential) steps to take when speaking of employee engagement is showing your team how much you actually appreciate their individual contributions to a project. Let’s make work more human!