Category Training

Employee engagement and managers

To improve engagement in your team, you need to become an engaging people manager. But what does that mean? And what’s involved?


We all know the saying, ‘people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers. Manager behaviour is especially important to employee engagement. According to Gallup, 70% of the variation in employee engagement is determined solely by the manager. 

To improve engagement in your team, you need to become an engaging people manager. But what does that mean? And what’s involved?

The role of engaging people managers

Becoming an engaging people manager is about helping your team to become more driven, more capable, more adaptable, and more resilient. Developing these traits will help your people to thrive in a climate of increasing complexity, challenge, and change. 

That obviously brings a tonne of benefits to your organisation. But there are also huge benefits to you personally and professionally. 

  • Cultivating the right attitudes and behaviours dramatically can enhance your team’s efficiency, productivity and performance – giving you a distinct reputation and career advantage.
  • By empowering your people to do their roles well, they’ll demand less of your time – freeing you up to work on the more strategic aspects of your role, as well your own professional development.
  • Managing an engaged team massively improves your own experience of work. It’s more challenging, rewarding and fun. It’s also a lot more exciting than leading a disengaged team.

The solar system of individual engagement 

While managers have a huge role to play in team engagement, responsibility for employee engagement is shared by different roles in your organisation. 

  • HR play a vital role in championing employee engagement and providing support and coaching. They can help adopt the right approaches, set the right targets and plan effectively, but ultimately engagement has to be owned by senior leaders, employees and managers.
  • Senior leaders set the tone for engagement. They help by ensuring that engagement is a strategic priority, setting a clear direction and aligning their direct reports. They’re vital to removing barriers to engagement and causes of disengagement.
  • Engagement is deeply personal and is driven by an individual employee’s values, strengths, purpose, goals and preferences. It’s important that individuals are aware of what engages them and take proactive ownership of their own engagement. 
  • As the closest and most frequent contact of employees, People managers have a huge responsibility for engagement within their team.

How to be an engaging people manager 

Being an engaging manager involves commitment, consistency, authenticity, empathy and valuing each member of your team. It isn’t easy, but the benefits you’ll get from leading an engaged team are well worth the effort. 

This two-minute video explains a bit more about what’s involved.

Think about your own team’s engagement

Pause for a minute and take a temperature check of your team’s current engagement levels. Be honest with yourself – how engaged are they really? These five questions can help you work it out. 

  • If you’re face-to-face, how do they arrive at work? Are they on time and in a good mood? 
  • How do they behave in conversations, meetings and other events? Do they pay attention to others and get involved themselves? 
  • Are comments and conversations about your workplace generally positive or negative? 
  • How healthy do the relationships between your team members appear to be? Are there any tensions? 
  • Are your team generous or grudging with their discretionary effort?

Tip: Take a look at the free online diagnostic tool that Engage for Success developed alongside Hult-Ashridge, Stillae and SurveyLab:

The Team Engagement Diagnostic

Want to become a more engaging manager? 

We partnered with Engage for Success to create a free eLearning course on employee engagement for managers. There’s also a wealth of information available on the Engaging Managers’ Zone.

If you don’t have time for a 30-minute eLearning course, be sure to check out our blog on 10 tips to improve team engagement.

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