The five key roles of managers: how HR can build engagement that lasts

Jane Sparrow (The Culture Builders, South Warnborough, UK)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Publication date: 15 February 2013



The purpose of this paper is to show how human resources (HR) can influence sustained engagement by supporting managers to be expert engagers of others.


This article discusses the limitations of organizational level engagement strategies in relation to sustained engagement. It outlines the critical task managers and leaders play in securing meaningful, long‐term engagement, based on the author's personal views, experience and analysis of effective engagement strategies. The article outlines five key roles that managers need to be proficient in if they are to influence high performance in others. The effectiveness of the roles is supported with the author's observations of managers, leaders and HR practitioners who all excel as engagers.


Whilst organizational level engagement strategies play a key role in building understanding and awareness for employees, this is rarely enough to secure deeper and more meaningful levels of engagement that endure. Managers are the missing link in building cultures of performance but they cannot do so alone. HR must support their managers and leaders as engagers with the practical skills and personal development they need to ensure they can deliver.


The article refers to the type of support and counsel managers require of HR to help them fulfill their five roles as engagers. Some practical steps are given within the article for this specific purpose.



Sparrow, J. (2013), "The five key roles of managers: how HR can build engagement that lasts", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 83-88.

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