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In a recent Gallup article (June 2015) they explored the secrets to staff engagement. Aon Hewitt defines engagement as ‘the psychological state and behavioral outcomes that lead to better performance’.

Great managers consistently engage their teams to achieve outstanding performance. They create environments where employees take responsibility for their own and their team’s engagement and build workplaces that are engines of productivity and profitability.

Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.

This variation is in turn responsible for severely low worldwide employee engagement. As Gallup has reported, only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged. Worse, over the past 12 years, these low numbers have barely budged, meaning that the vast majority of employees worldwide are failing to develop and contribute at work.

Performance fluctuates widely and unnecessarily in most companies, in no small part from the lack of consistency in how people are managed.

So to create staff engagement, companies must demand that every team in their workforce have a great manager. They must invest in management development training to provide them with the necessary skills so that they can get the best out of the staff.

In order to provide the right training, organizations need to understand what managers are doing in the workplace to create or destroy engagement.

One instrumental skill great managers employ is having reliable and meaningful communication with their staff

Gallup has found that consistent communication — whether it occurs in person, over the phone or electronically is connected to higher engagement. For example, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not.

Gallup also found that engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face to face, phone or digital) of daily communication with their managers. Managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone and electronic communication are the most successful in engaging employees. And when employees attempt to contact their manager, engaged employees report their manager returns their calls or messages within 24 hours.

The Gallup study also revealed that employees who feel as though their manager takes a personal interest in them and is invested in them as people are more likely to be engaged.

When a company raises employee engagement levels every metric used to measure success gets better.