Back to blog
Performance and growth

Manager effectiveness: Empowering people leaders in the new world of work

Manager Effectiveness: Empowering People Leaders

Create a culture that means business™

Email address

Thank you! A team member will reach out shortly.

Manager effectiveness is crucial for driving business results, from engagement and belonging to productivity and retention. We know it’s top of mind for most HR leaders, but what does it take to really move the needle and increase the number of effective managers at an organization — and what are the outcomes?

Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers recently joined Marcel Schwantes, host of Love in Action Podcast, for an in-depth discussion on how to improve manager effectiveness to drive better employee and business outcomes.

This 45-minute comprehensive podcast, The Foundations of Manager Effectiveness, dove into findings from Achievers Workforce Institute’s latest report, Empowering people leaders in the new world of work, and provided key takeaways that HR leaders can action today to improve and empower manager effectiveness in their organizations.

Only a quarter (28%) of employees would recommend their manager.

What makes a manager ineffective?

If your managers are not prioritizing contact, recognition, coaching, and professional development, they’re falling short. Research has uncovered a direct correlation between manager effectiveness and belonging. Managers who don’t foster a sense of belonging among their employees won’t be as successful. Achievers Workforce Institute found that:

  1. Individuals who feel a deep sense of belonging at work are more likely to experience greater job satisfaction, better mental health, higher levels of productivity, and lower levels of both fatigue and emotional exhaustion.
  2. Manager effectiveness and sense of belonging have a strong positive correlation. Employees who would recommend their manager are almost twice as likely to have a strong sense of belonging, compared to average, and over five times more likely than those who would not recommend their manager.

How can managers empower employees to feel a deep sense of belonging at work?

Employees feel a sense of belonging when they are connected to, and secure within, their community. To help you establish and support this important part of your organization’s culture, focus on the five pillars of belonging: feeling welcomed, known, included, supported, and connected.

The 5 pillars of belonging: Welcomed, Known, Included, Supported, Connected.

What is limiting manager effectiveness?

Many managers are lacking the support they need, specifically when it comes to training.

  • One in five managers reported that they received manager training.
  • Only 29% of managers believe that their company supports them to be a better people leader.
  • 70% of managers are not completely clear on how their success as a manager is measured.

“We are in a crisis of supporting our managers to deliver.”

– Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers

“I’ve seen organizations promote individual contributors to management roles who are not people leaders. Those managers then promote others who reflect their version of what managers should be.”

– Marcel Schwantes, Speaker, Author, Leadership Coach, Podcast Host

What makes a manager effective?

“Managers aren’t getting the training, the support, the scaffolding that they need to deliver these really critical factors that employees need to receive.”
– Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers

The four pillars of manager effectiveness

  1. Contact
  2. Recognition
  3. Coaching
  4. Professional development

When employees say their manager is good at one of the above factors, it doubles the likelihood that they would recommend their manager. When all four are present, mNPS scores (a measure of whether or not an employee would recommend their manager) almost triples.

Two of these key pillars — recognition and professional development — deserve a closer look:

  • Employees recognized weekly by their managers are 10x more likely to recommend their manager than those never recognized. Recognition should be specific, personal, and impact oriented.
  • Employees who say that their manager supports their personal and professional development goals are twice as likely to say that they would recommend their manager to others.
  • Professional development is the number one area that managers would like more training in.

“There is no such thing as too much recognition as long as it’s meaningful”.
– Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers

5 actions HR leaders can take today to improve manager effectiveness

The first step is to acknowledge that managers need more support. Next, is to put actionable steps in place to provide them with the training and tools they need.

1. Have clear metrics for success

Be clear with managers about what success looks like in their role. All managers want to be effective, but many are not being equipped for success.

2. Train great people leaders

Regular training is pivotal. Managers who do not receive training cannot be expected to know how to drive results.

3. Support employee well-being

Authentically asking “How are you?”and giving space for an honest answer, ensures managers get to know their employees as individuals and are able to support them through personal and professional challenges.

4. Collect and action feedback

Empowering managers to gather, assess, and respond to feedback is one way to ensure employees feel heard and valued.

5. Prioritize career progression

Create clear career paths, introduce professional education budgets, and ensure managers understand how to measure and improve the skills their employees need to reach the next level in their careers.

Hear it for yourself

Learn about some of the report’s surprising findings and listen to a recording of the lively conversation on demand. Listen to the podcast recording here.

About Love in Action Podcast

Love in Action Podcast features the world’s top business thought-leaders, authors, executives, and leadership experts as they reimagine the conditions necessary for creating caring, humane, and human-centered workplaces that result in high-performing cultures and bottom-line impact. The show is wide-reaching, touching listeners in 165 countries and achieving top 2% of podcasts globally.

Manager Effectiveness Report
The business case for belonging
CHRO: manager Effectiveness
Empowering Managers to Create a Culture of Appreciation Webinar
Achievers employee engagement software demo
Profile image of author: Achievers

Written by

Interested in learning more about Achievers?


We use cookies to help us understand how you use our site so we can show you personalized content and enhance your browsing experience.

Learn more by viewing our Privacy Policy