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Lots of employers say they value their people, but do they? Candidates searching for new opportunities point to a company’s culture as a key differentiator when applying for a new position. Yet if a company doesn’t practice what they preach, employees quickly catch on. But on the other hand, businesses that develop–and commit to–a strategy to engage employees and build happy, productive teams create a positive workplace culture and improve key performance outcomes across the board.

Not sure you agree? Let’s start with a short quiz.

Q: Do happy employees have a direct impact on revenue?
A: Happy employees impact performance to the tune of 21% greater profitability.

Q: Are employee engagement surveys beneficial?
A: If you’re ready to listen and incorporate feedback, surveys can be powerful tools.

Q: Should you care if happy employees serve as evangelists for your company?
A: Nearly 50% of businesses report that their high-quality hires come from employee referrals.

Q: Would your employees describe your company as a great place to work?
A: When you commit to becoming an employer of choice, you’ll attract top talent.

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, it’s time to up your game.

Who Impacts Company Culture?

Company culture truly starts at the top. How a CEO speaks about the company and its values, and how he or she treats others certainly sets a tone for the business. However, because most employees leave their manager, not the company, investing in great managers can make all the difference.

Why Finding and Developing Great Managers is Important for Your Company’s Success

Employees can achieve job satisfaction due to factors such as pay, vacation policies and benefits. But engagement is largely influenced by how they’re managed. How employees relate to their direct manager impacts how connected they feel, and engaged employees who have confidence in leadership are happier. The outomce: happy employees are better collaborators, open to new challenges, more productive, deliver higher quality goods and services, are less likely to leave and serve as great evangelists for your company.

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Training Managers for Greatness

If you’re fortunate enough to have wonderful managers, keep them engaged and acknowledge them often. If you struggle to hire great managers, the first step is to invest in employee training and development. Not only will you improve the managers you have, you’ll potentially uncover leaders you didn’t know existed.

What Does it Take to be a Successful Manager?

Communication Skills

Some people are born naturally gifted communicators. But even they can enhance their skills in listening, conflict resolution and coaching. Conveying clear and precise instructions or feedback leads to greater productivity and fewer misunderstandings.

Conflict Resolution

An effective manager is also skilled at remaining impartial during conflict resolution. Employees trust a manager more if the manager exhibits neutrality and open communication during workplace disputes.

Organizational Skills

Managers need to be organized about setting priorities, time management, decision making and delegating. They should know how to match tasks to the right employees. Employees are happier if they receive assignments for which they are well suited.

Performance Management

The best way to connect individual goals to company goals is to engage in a constructive performance management process. Managers need to be skilled in team building, providing (and requesting) feedback, motivation and evaluations.

Laws and Regulations

Managers need to be up to date on employment laws and workplace safety regulations. Be sure your company policy addresses state and federal regulations and provides managers and employees with the appropriate training to remain compliant.

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5 Characteristics of a Great Employee Manager

A successful manager knows how to achieve the right work/life balance that results in a happy and productive team. In theory, this sounds magical, but the fact is companies are learning how to train great managers and accomplish this goal.

1. The best managers define each employee’s role clearly.

Employees need to know who they report to. Updated organization charts should be shared with all employees. It’s an engagement tool that ensures everyone knows who does what and where they fit in the company structure.

Great managers ensure employees understand their specific role and function, which decisions they’re encouraged to make independently, which require teamwork and which ones require manager approval. Removing the guesswork will improve efficiency and productivity.

2. An inspiring manager demonstrates and fosters pride in the company.

A manager can get a head start by hiring employees who display pride about past work and a positive attitude about past employment challenges.

Managers should to convey to employees current and future company objectives. Great managers inspire employees by sharing with them how their individual contributions will help the company meet its goals.

3. An effective manager helps employees feel engaged beyond their daily tasks and objectives.

Each manager must know how to set clear objectives for their employees. Performance evaluations need to be well thought out and professionally implemented. Ideally, managers communicate feedback about responsibilities and expectations more often than just annually. Frequent feedback helps employees better understand their work priorities and, just as importantly, their rate of progress toward performance goals.

Communication with employees is vital. It can be in person, electronically, or over the phone, but the employee who receives almost daily communication with their manager is going to be more engaged than those who don’t. Done well, this level of engagement boosts employee performance, job satisfaction and retention rates.

4. Managers with excellent people skills make employees feel valued.

Feeling valued as an employee depends on connection, motivation, appreciation and communication. Managers who show interest in the employee as a person, and who take time to learn about an employee’s life outside of work, are better able to develop important connections.

Employees should be comfortable bringing a concern to their manager’s attention. Whether it’s access to a specific software, upgraded equipment or other essential resource, managers who let employees know their needs matter produce employees who are more motivated to come to work each day.

5. Managers who show appreciation motivate employees to perform at their best.

Motivating employees is a critical management skill. Recognizing work done well is an important way to let employees know their contributions are valued.

Great managers get to know employees well enough to understand what forms of acknowledgement will work best for each member of their team. Is your employee an introvert who prefers to be acknowledged in private, or an extrovert who enjoys the spotlight? Great managers take time to identify and understand personality differences and find ways to connect with each unique employee.

For more best practices and inspiration to help develop and coach managers, check out Paycor’s Career Development Guide.


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