For most organizations who partner with Strategic Programs, Inc., the most successful and sustainable change occurs at the direct manager level.
Is every action item within the control of the manager? No. But what I have seen lately is dissatisfaction around several items that are within the control of the direct manager, such as employees feeling like they’re being heard, knowing their opinions matter, perceiving opportunities for development (or lack thereof), and feeling like the company cares about them as a person. Furthermore, we’ve conducted several recent studies that show that a healthy relationship (that includes regular check-ins) between an employee and their direct supervisor leads to higher satisfaction across the board- even in areas that don’t seem to relate directly to the manager. To most professional drivers, their manager is the face of the entire organization. Because so many aspects of a driver’s engagement are directly related to the relationship with their direct manager, it is important that the managers be able to see the data that pertains to them.
In what ways have some of our clients promoted successful and sustainable change within their organizations? One client not only shares information with every manager who has enough data to report, they also have a meeting with each manager to review that manager’s opportunities for improvement and develop 90-day action plans. This obviously takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the managers and the leadership group who hold the meetings, but this client has seen positive change and an ROI that makes the pain well worth it.
Another client gives all of their direct managers access to our client portal, Strategic Insight, which allows them to see their data in real time and how it compares to the organization as a whole. Each manager is expected to log in to view their data on a regular basis in order to take action on their data. This creates a healthy sense of competition between the managers, as well as promoting responsibility and accountability. This idea works best if you have a healthy organization where people view feedback as helpful and constructive rather than threatening and punitive.
No matter how our clients choose to share data at the direct manager level, the common theme seems to be setting expectations with managers to take action and create change. Setting these expectations and giving managers the authority and autonomy to take action is one of the best ways that I’ve seen organizations create successful and sustainable change.