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Would Your Employees Recommend You?

No matter how good a workplace a company provides, it may come not matter if employees dislike their immediate line managers. Most of us have at had direct experience with egocentric or micromanaging bosses and have seen how much damage they can cause.

So why is there so much bad management? "Most managers have a remarkably narrow or ill-thought-out understanding of how their employees actually look at the world," writes Julian Birkinshaw, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He says that "we need a better and more focused way of assessing the quality of management in our organizations."

Birkinshaw's solution? Focus on a single question: Would your employees recommend you?

"Your employees aren't just passive recipients of your efforts to create a great place to work; they are also potentially your biggest promoters," he writes. Highly engaged employees make a real difference, because their enthusiasm is infectious.

For instance, a team at the Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. developed its own metric, called the Net Management Promoter Score (NMPS). Their question was worded as follows: "How likely is it that you would recommend your line manager to a colleague, as someone they should work for in the future? (1=not at all, 10=extremely likely)." The team's thinking was that this question would be a useful way to get a grip on the overall quality of management in the company.

Birkinshaw agrees. "In my own surveys using the NMPS, the correlation between employee responses about their level of engagement at work and the likelihood that they'd recommend their manager to a colleague is approximately 0.75, which is very high," he writes.

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