How Can HR Help Managers Improve Employee Engagement

BY Judah Hirsch Articles

How Can HR Help Managers Improve Employee Engagement

If there is one part of the company that is mostly in tune with employment engagement and nuances of its people, it’s the HR department.

While managers often spend their time working on ways to optimize the business,  HR creates policies for the workforce  to follow.

Take for example the issue of employee engagement. This is still a common issue among managers, as the average level of engagement remains abnormally low for most companies. Keeping the employees happy and engaged is essential to keeping the company’s customers satisfied. This is not an easy task.

Another common managerial problem is the inability to provide timely and relevant feedback to one’s employees. The rank-and-file usually look up to their immediate supervisors for feedback on their professional development. However, even higher level managers should have a hand in providing regular feedback. As it stands, thousands of managers aren’t able to give timely feedback in time to stem potential problems.

In both instances, managers can bring in the big guns in the form of the HR department. Employee engagement is not a unique issue — it is a concern that runs across all level, and all industries. With their policy-making, HR can make  changes to employee-engagement policies tol help managers keep a handle on the subject. Likewise, the manager’s grasp of business statistics coupled with the HR’ visibility on the individual employee’s performance and productivity can be used to provide timely and contextual feedback that will help improve the business.

Backing Up The Business

Both the HR and the managers help provide support to the business, so it is imperative for them to support each other along the way. This is a type of synergy that is still missing in most companies.

In a 2013-2014 study,  only 37% of US employees understand how the company can be instrumental in charting their career growth. Around round 26% are positive that their managers provide the necessary career advancement support. On the other hand, 16% say that their managers discuss career-related issues outside of the regular performance management.

These numbers have an immense room for improvement. When optimized, this can result in huge leaps in employee engagement. Employees who know what their company can do for their personal and professional growth are consequently more loyal and more productive. But this can only happen if the managerial and HR departments work together to create a company-wide career-management framework. The HR can help define career paths and equip the managers with the right tools to help address relevant aspects.

In the same light, HR personnel should actively reach out to managers to help develop policies to help improve the business. Since HR also creates job descriptions, even these can be optimized in order to meet business needs. Both HR and the managers should understand each other’s parts of the business.

Strengthening The Connections

 There are also other opportunities for both the HR and managers to work together on a regular basis. One of the most common is the matter of the workforce. As the managers understand the peaks and troughs of the business, they can relay information about staffing requirements to HR. The latter can then work towards redesigning schedules and creating appropriate succession plans.

The HR and managers could also work together in terms of performance management. HR should be equipped with resource trainers that create coaching philosophies for the company. This should then be cascaded to the managers, who will use this in reaching out to the rank and file. Inconsistencies in coaching techniques and in other areas of performance management can cause issues in employees’ job satisfaction. Thus, collaboration between the HR and the managerial group is a must.

Finally, the two branches of the company can work together in resolving conflicts within the workplace. By default, it is the HR that has the primary responsibility in conflict resolution — but unless they have working knowledge of the business specifics and the culture prevalent in the individual teams, such a resolution is hard to come by. In contrast, a good synergy between HR and managers can birth effective policies that will defuse tensions and improve connections.


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