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Employee Experience

Throw your drowning managers a lifeline before it’s too late

Do you feel like your managers are submerged in the depths of employee attrition and low morale? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s how to help them stay afloat.

Employees don’t quit their jobs – they quit bad managers.

Managers are a critical lynchpin of team engagement and business outcomes. One in two employees have left a job to get away from a manager, according to Gallup's State of the American Manager report.

And SHRM estimates it costs 6-9 months of salary to replace an employee – in addition to the lost revenue opportunities from being shorthanded.

Often, managers are untrained, underprepared, and burned out.

Our study found that 43% of managers feel more pressure to produce results than they did a year ago. But as budgets tighten, productivity is increasingly important, and employers can’t afford to lose high-performing members of the team.

Compounded with that is the fact that leaders themselves are being asked to do more than ever before.

We spoke to nearly 14,000 participants as part of our 2022 Employee Experience Trends report, and leaders’ intention to leave emerged as the top Employee Experience trend for the year ahead.

How can we get better at supporting our managers?

Give managers the insights they need to take the right actions

When managers lack visibility into what’s working and what needs addressed, they struggle to make informed decisions that affect their team’s performance. They can feel overwhelmed and prioritize the wrong actions. This can lead to frustration and low morale among employees, which ultimately causes higher turnover rates and lower productivity overall.

On the other hand, managers who are trained on how to effectively manage their teams tend to have better relationships with their staff members and are more likely to understand how best to motivate them toward success. These types of managers also have access to resources such as performance reviews or feedback surveys which allow them to take appropriate corrective action when needed.

Having insight into the performance and morale of employees is an essential part of any manager’s role. Unfortunately, many managers are left in the dark about their employee’s needs and struggles, leaving them unable to make effective decisions that'll benefit their team.

Providing employee insights to managers helps them make more effective decisions which can have a positive impact on the organization.

The key takeaway here is that providing employee insights helps managers identify potential problems before they become major issues while also enabling them better decision making, which ultimately leads to improved organizational performance overall.

Employee Experience isn’t just for HR – it’s for all managers

At the Qualtrics X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, our President of Products and Services, Brad Anderson, shared how if EX toolsets can only be accessed by a small percentage of employees (i.e. HR teams), they'll struggle to have the right impact.

Brad stressed the need for organizations to empower managers, as well as HR teams, to own their teams’ engagement and take action to improve their experiences.

Foster a culture of communication and feedback

Open lines of communication are essential for managers to thrive. Encourage a culture where employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns, ideas, and feedback. Regular check-ins, team meetings, and ways for teams to provide confidential feedback can provide valuable insights.

A study by The Economist found that the absence of good communication had a direct impact on a lot of important business outcomes, according to a panel of over 400 US employees, managers, and senior leaders.

52% said poor communication had added to stress. 44% said communication barriers had led to delay or failure of projects. And 31% said communication problems had lowered morale.

Help facilitate this process by organizing training sessions on effective communication, conflict resolution, and active listening, enabling managers to build strong relationships with their teams. You can also:

  • Offer regular updates
  • Make objectives and results public
  • Be open to constructive feedback
  • Acknowledge feedback and take action
  • Communicate the actions taken (or why the reasons they haven’t been)

Empower them to get to know their people properly

Invite teammates to come and share their ideas, ask questions, solicit feedback, or even chat about plans for the upcoming weekend.

Don’t only open your “door” (office, desk, or Google Chat) to people, but more importantly, open your mind to their comments, questions, suggestions, or complaints. When people know that you are welcoming and open to hearing their thoughts and ideas, they’ll continue to come back to you in the future. If team members aren’t coming to you, try to reach out to them individually to solicit their feedback and share with them.

Another avenue for collecting feedback is via an employee suggestion box – online or otherwise – which can lower barriers to communication by allowing employees to stay anonymous if they choose to.

You should also aim to build a culture of psychological safety. In team meetings and one-on-ones, let people know that you welcome their suggestions, ideas, and feedback, especially when it challenges or is in disagreement with the current view.

When an opposing viewpoint is shared, allow them to share their entire viewpoint, solicit questions and perspectives from others, and acknowledge that their opinions will be considered.

Work-life balance comes from the top

And finally, it’s critical that leaders are seen taking time off, as well as time in lieu. Not only will this help your people to feel comfortable doing the same, but it’ll also help managers themselves to rest and recuperate. Make sure your leaders are taking the time off they need to recover – and your organization’s culture not only encourages this, but requires it.

Get your free copy of the 2023 State of HR Report