Organisations looking to retain staff should look into the relationship employees have with their supervisor.
According to a survey by Accountemps, 34% have left a job because of a strained relationship with a supervisor, and 17% would feel happy if their boss left the company.
Polling more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older, the survey pointed out that among the different age groups, professionals aged 35 to 54 were the most likely to have quit a job over a strained or dysfunctional relationship with a manager. More than one in 10 (12 %) of professionals in this age group were also found to be unhappy with their boss – the largest of any age group.
On the brighter side, overall, 64% said they are happy with their supervisors, and another 29% are somewhat happy with their bosses. Only 8% of workers give their manager a thumbs down.
Furthermore, half of workers surveyed said their boss understands the demands of their job, while only 16% noted their supervisor has little understanding of their day-to-day reality.
At the same time, 49% of Millennials and 67% of workers 55 and older felt their boss recognises their potential.
Despite the generally positive attitudes about their supervisors, respondents felt their managers could improve on certain areas including communication, cited by 37% of those polled; recognition named by 31% of respondents; helping staff with career progression, pointed out by 25% of workers; listening, as highlighted by 25% of those surveyed; and standing up for employees in difficult situations, noted by 24% of respondents.
The survey noted that the youngest group of workers had the most extensive wish lists. Compared to the other age groups, these professionals were more likely to want their managers to provide better communication and listening, support for career progression, recognition for accomplishments and help promoting work-life balance.
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Interestingly, the survey also found most professionals (67%) don’t aspire their boss’s job, citing reasons including not wanting the added stress and responsibility (45%) and a lack of desire to manage others (27%).
Among those who want the job, those aged 18-34 were the most eager to move up the ranks, with 56% saying they want their boss’s job compared to 34% of respondents 34-55 and 13% of those 55 and older.
“Managers can sometimes get a bad rap, but in reality most professionals understand that the job is tough and complex and may not be for everyone,” said Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps.
“The challenge for many bosses today isn’t just identifying a successor but convincing that professional to step up to the challenge.”
Additionally, the survey found that while the majority (61%) cited their relationship with their boss as strictly professional, 23% of workers consider their boss a friend.
Driscoll added, “The employee-manager relationship is a two-way street, and both parties play a role in the dynamic. The best relationships are built on strong communication combined with mutual trust and respect.”
In order to help managers improve the boss-worker relationship, Accountemps came up with the following advice:
Set clear expectations, and foster an environment where they feel comfortable coming to you with questions. Seek learning opportunities to become a better communicator. Don’t forget that communicating also involves being an active listener.
Formulate and share career plans for your staff members. Identify specific milestones they need to reach and how you and the company can help them achieve their objectives.
Professionals are happier and more likely to stay with a company if they feel appreciated. Hence, show gratitude for a job well done and announce accomplishments to the rest of the team to boost morale.
Explore offering flexible schedules and on-site perks such as gyms, nap rooms and free meals to help employees juggle the demands of work and personal obligations.
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