A Gallup study from 2013 still holds up, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) — employees leave because of managers, and managers need help to be as effective as possible.
Managers are having “a moment,” author and work strategist Erica Keswin tells HBR, and they’re feeling overwhelmed by employee flexibility, hybrid work, and the Great Resignation. Also, managers are people, and they too are worried about inflation and an upcoming recession. According to a poll from Salesforce, managers are the most important thing to an employee, and they instruct others how to understand their teams, organizations, daily tasks, and general work lives. Consequently, they need to be treated like the treasures they are, lest they become another statistic by quiet quitting or finding another role elsewhere.
Keswin says that bringing a dose of humanity to the hybrid work world will help reestablish the importance of a managerial connection. While socializing with employees becomes a chore for many and moves to the bottom of their to-do list, creating a holistic relationship with employees is key to productivity.
Additionally, it can feel isolating or overwhelming to allow employees so much more flexibility than ever before. Managers who once believed that employee visibility was the most important indicator of a hard worker are having a tough time working with those who prefer to do head-down work remotely. What LinkedIn calls the “butts in seats” strategy of managing is over in a post-pandemic world, and figuring out where to go from there is tough for many.
To help managers in this uncertain time, Keswin says that organizations should have support measures built into policies. Socialization should be made official by utilizing feedback networks that require employees and managers to talk to each other regularly to improve everyone’s performance. Ways to measure productivity should also be updated and upgraded, using software solutions if necessary, so that managers don’t feel helpless when their teams seek flexible working hours.