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Shock news: sympathetic management helps staff go the extra mile

The extent to which managers provide guidance, feedback and the appropriate level of autonomy for staff, is key to whether employees go the extra mile for their organisation, according to the CIPD.

The organisation commissioned research to help organisations develop practical guidance for use in promoting better line management performance among managers.

The research asked employees what management behaviours supported them in three areas: focusing on what they do; feeling good about themselves in their role; and acting in a way that demonstrates commitment to their organisation's values and objectives.

The four most frequently mentioned management competencies for supporting employee engagement were: reviewing and guiding; feedback, praise and recognition; autonomy and empowerment; and level of interest the manager shows in employees as individuals.

Ben Willmott, CIPD senior public policy adviser, said: "The central role of managers in boosting individual and organisational performance is well recognised - with the recent Government-commissioned MacLeod review of employee engagement making the point particularly well. But managers need more specific, tried-and-tested guidance on what they can do on a day-to-day basis to fulfil this key role well. Our new research is designed to fill that gap.

"The research findings may seem on the face of it simple, commonsense recommendations. But it is precisely that kind of plain-speaking commonsense that managers need. Our findings shine a light on what managers can really do on a day-to-day basis to ensure employees will go the extra mile.

"In today's tough economic environment how, managers manage is even more important in supporting employee commitment and motivation in the face of job cuts, pay freezes and cuts to training and development budgets."

Emma Donaldson-Feilder, research author and director of employee wellbeing consultancy Affinity Health at Work, which conducted the study, added: "The framework, and particularly the specific behavioural indicators, can help managers understand what they need to do. They can be used in learning and development, performance appraisal and even assessment and selection to ensure that those with people-management responsibilities behave in ways that will best engage those they manage."