On average, employee engagement drops as much as 6 percent for each succeeding management level in the organization. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Each worker may perceive a company’s goals in their own way depending on their role within the organization, which is why a holistic approach to management is best, according to the Six Disciplines research study, “What Employees Say Drives Engagement and Performance.”

“Every part of the organization has a different understanding of the local needs required to serve the global strategy,” the authors write. “This explains why organizations that implement holistic management approaches that consider the needs of the whole organization perform better.”

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However, having a consistent management approach is valued more at lower levels than at the top, according to a survey of 600 company leaders at varying management levels, conducted by Elite Research on behalf of Six Disciplines. Indeed, 88 percent of front-line leaders feel having a broad-based management process is critical, whereas only 74 percent of senior leaders deem it necessary.

“This truth is counter to the instincts and perspectives of those in top leadership,” the authors write. “Their role can take their focus off what is going on everywhere else. The organizations that realize their greatest potential act on the fact that every single person in the organization sees and understands aspects of organization performance no else does.”

The winning strategy for building highly engaged, effective organizations is centered around providing front-line leaders with the training, tools, coaching and processes to deliver on both the hard skills — planning, goals setting, monitoring, revising, deciding, and the soft skills – openness, honesty, integrity, caring, integrity to values, according to the report.

The survey also found that more than 75 percent of employees value an organization’s commitment and clear understanding of strategy and its ability to be open and honest. However, strategic vision, purpose and clarity (82 percent) was rated the toughest area to perform well and execution management (85 percent) the third most difficult “as it requires relentless, on-the-ground action that affects every person, every minute of every day.”

The top drivers for employee engagement include feeling the organization cares about them(83 percent), openness and honesty (82 percent), caring about the organization (81 percent), and values (79 percent), all which are directly related to the top employee performance driver of being purpose-driven.

On average, employee engagement drops as much as 6 percent for each succeeding management level in the organization, according to the report. Management systems must offset the complexity of growth by empowering their front-line leaders to communicate to workers in ways that foster their sense of purpose.

“It is on the front-line that the magic happens,” the authors write. “Of course the front-lines can’t function unless the rest of leadership is doing its job as well. Its just another way of saying it takes a holistic approach to engage the hearts and minds of people.”