As retirement rates are due to increase significantly over the next decade, according to census data, a void is appearing among middle management talent. This serves as poor timing for businesses as the pandemic acted as a catalyst for organizations to become leaner and more efficient, putting even more pressure on middle-level professionals to produce value.
Heading into the future, one thing has become abundantly clear: to sustain success, companies must double down on developing, upskilling, and empowering the middle layer of their organization. In this blog series, we’ll explore just how you can do it.
3 Strategies to Keep Your Middle Managers Engaged
For as much as you can help middle managers step into their roles and develop skills fundamental for their success, it’ll all amount to little if you don’t have a plan to keep them engaged and motivated in their day-to-day work. Here are three strategies to help you achieve just that within your organization:
- Identify Key Business Goals Internally From the Start: In order to set up your middle managers for success, you’ve got to do some work on the front end—most likely even before you’ve made a hire. Before a middle manager even starts their first day, senior leaders within your organization should spend time identifying and clarifying key business drivers for success. Once these are solidified, your HR team is now armed with the information required to understand the core competencies your new middle manager must possess in order to be successful within their role. After making a hire with this criteria identified, middle managers will have a strong, clear understanding of their objectives and expectations—key ingredients to healthy employee engagement.
- Support New Hires as They Transition into their New Role: Stepping into a management role at the middle level of an organization can be daunting, even if your new hire has prior management experience in their past. Whether it’s with delegating to a new team of direct reports, communicating effectively across multiple departments, or influencing senior management, middle managers can quickly become overwhelmed—unless you step in to help. To help start off on the right foot, make sure you have a formal, well-constructed onboarding process that explains all of the intricacies of their new position and helps take some of the burden off of their learning curve. Crafting a comprehensive onboarding program also shows your commitment to your new hire’s success, an important ingredient for employee engagement.
- Empower Your Middle Managers to Meet Business Objectives: Middle managers are well aware of how crucial they are to the success of their company; expectations of their ability to deliver results from senior leadership can quickly surpass their own sense of what they’re capable of. To address this, make sure you’re actively motivating and empowering your middle managers to flourish in their new leadership positions. How you do this can take many different forms and is ultimately up to how your organization is structured, but potential ideas could be allowing for autonomy in meeting business objectives, providing opportunities to develop or enhance certain skills, celebrating their achievements, and enabling them to lead organizational projects.
Employee engagement is a buzzword year-round and for all levels of an organization. But as the importance of the middle layer rises, so too does the need to ensure those that occupy that layer are supported, empowered, and engaged in their work.
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