Employee-manager relationships are mission-critical for every business
Employees don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.. so the saying goes. In reality, it’s much more nuanced than this.
The relationships between employees and their managers directly impact business success and it’s a key aspect when it comes to retaining, developing, and inspiring employees.
In a recent McKinsey study that delved into the impact of managers on employee job satisfaction, employees cited “relationships with management” as a top factor when it came to job satisfaction. In fact, it came second only to mental health in their overall wellbeing.
So the employee-manager relationship is a huge deal for workplaces of today.
But there’s a problem.
People management is tough. Like really tough. Especially with so many additional pressures for managers of today; minimal time for people management, complex employee wellbeing, and distributed teams.
It’s not that managers don’t want to lead their teams better, but with so much to juggle, it becomes complicated to implement changes and difficult to report on.
Another issue for new or young managers often arises after a promotion. When an employee is recognised as a high performer and promoted to a management position, for example. Great results don’t necessarily mean great people management skills, and being thrown into a role with no training can add huge pressures and stress.
But don’t worry, we’re not here to tell you to throw out your management teams or to scold managers for not doing a good job. Quite the opposite actually.
Employee satisfaction starts from the top
Improving the job satisfaction of your employees is crucial to long-term business success. And when it comes to employee happiness, line managers and team leaders play a bigger role than you might realise.
For years now, burnout, stress, and anxiety have been on the rise, and this was hastened by the pandemic. The emotional health of your workforce is more important than ever, and plenty of organisations are investing in initiatives to provide support to their employees.
Your people need the environment and opportunity to thrive; achieving this will take a holistic approach across the business. And employee-manager relationships are a great place to start.
Why are employee-manager relationships so important?
Good managers have a positive impact on productivity, employee morale and wellbeing, and organisational culture.
They instil trust in their teams by encouraging autonomy and innovation with clear, attainable goals. They promote a psychologically safe environment for teams and individuals to thrive. They offer support and understanding. They ensure employees feel valued, respected, and heard.
But we know this is no mean feat. Especially when you consider that line managers reportedly now have less than 30 minutes per day to develop their teams.
So, let’s break it down 👇
What makes a good employee-manager relationship?
The steps needed to improve employee-manager relationships are surprisingly, and thankfully, quite simple.
Fundamentally, the elements of a good employee-manager relationship are similar to those of every other relationship. It involves mutual trust, vulnerability and empathy, encouragement, and excellent communication. When employees are treated with respect, have an optimum working environment, and are communicated with regularly, they do their best work.
Vulnerability and empathy
The best managers can open themselves up to others' compassion and show vulnerability. Doing so not only demonstrates that you are human but it can also help your own wellbeing too. Carrying too much on your shoulders can be detrimental to your wellbeing, and being vulnerable can help you to build a trusted support network.
Empathy is another key skill managers should possess. Being empathetic towards your team demonstrates that you care about them and want to understand their situation. Showing empathy often results in your employees opening up to you, which aids the relationship, and helps to uncover pain points before they progress.
Both empathy and vulnerability come under the umbrella term of emotional intelligence (EQ), which is defined as the “ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognise and influence the emotions of others around you”.
Without trust, relationships soon break down. Micromanagement can be seriously harmful to building trusting relationships, implying that you don’t trust employees to make the right decisions on their own.
You can build trust by being open and honest with your teams, providing regular, actionable feedback, and giving people the autonomy to complete their work.
Recognising and appreciating the work your teams do, encouraging them, and solving their problems will go a long way to improving the employee-manager relationship.
It could be as simple as a few words of support during a project or promoting someone's idea during a brainstorming session. If employees feel their work is not valued and their contributions go unnoticed, they are likely to lack motivation and may consider leaving their current role for a job that is more rewarding and enjoyable.
Communication is vital; it boosts employee morale, engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. Effective communication at work not only drives better results for individuals, teams, and the organisation, but it also impacts engagement. In fact, 85% of employees report feeling more motivated when their manager offers updates on company news.
How do you build relationships between managers and their employees?
So, how does the employee-manager relationship link to organisational success? When employees are happy they are more likely to engage proactively and thrive in their roles, leading to higher levels of productivity, and reduced levels of poor wellbeing and turnover.
Leaders and HR teams have a fundamental duty to create and enable an environment of good management. Doing so not only improves business performance but also means your employees will have better mental health and enjoy their jobs - which is crucial when we spend so much of our time at work!
CEOs and business leaders
Your managers are under more pressure than ever. Between high workloads, pressures outside of work, and the growing call for supportive leadership, they are bombarded from all sides. Now is a crucial time to support and inspire your managers.
Business culture is often set from the top, and you have an opportunity to implement processes that enable good management practices. Integrated analytic tools provide a way to support your managers and prevent burnout in your organisation.
With a blend of Ai predictions, personalised actions and resources, and physical coaching, Loopin is a cost-effective solution that helps managers and leaders make more informed and decisive decisions on the problems in their company before they occur. Using employee sentiment data to foresee risks in burnout, engagement, productivity and turnover, Loopin is transforming organisations and securing future business success.
If you’d like to see Loopin in action, click here to book a free demo.
The behaviour of managers and supervisors is something organisations can and must influence. It has far-reaching consequences when left unchecked and yields incredibly positive results when done right.
For HR professionals, we understand the challenge may be in persuading your senior leadership teams that they should be investing in employee-manager relationships. That’s why we’ve written about it!
Managers and team leaders
We see you.
People management is tough right now. But it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
Setting aside time to check in with your employees, being open and honest, and setting achievable goals will make all the difference.
If that feels like a difficult task; predictive tools can provide you with the necessary support. Loopin provides real-time organisational insights and alerts to managers to help you target your efforts where they’re most needed.
Employee sentiment data helps you truly understand your people, create high-performing teams, improve employee engagement, increase retention, and improve your soft skills.
Ongoing coaching and recommendations provide you with a consistent approach to leadership, so you’re never alone. We’re with you all the way!
Book your free demo here to learn more.
We’ll be discussing the importance of employee-manager relationships more over on our LinkedIn page, so be sure to follow us and join in the conversation.