What do employees want from their managers?
This article is part two of a three-part analysis of original research carried out in 2021.
You can find part one of the analysis (which contains questions 1 to 3) here: Employee Happiness Statistics
In this article, we look at the differences between happy employees and employees who are looking for new jobs.
We were aiming to see if we could find clear differences between the two classes of employees so that managers can learn and improve their management style.
We wanted to see if we could find broad themes that managers could then apply.
Everyone is different and a big part of learning the art of management is learning to know how best to apply broad findings to your team’s specific situation.
A large part of the basics of management revolves around goal setting and communication.
New managers are taught that they need to set goals and communicate goals in order to ensure that their team understand what is expected of them. The subtext being that if those targets are then missed the individual concerned can no claim to have misunderstood what was expected of them.
This is true but we have always felt that employees want to be involved and engaged.
Humans want to feel part of a group, and a key part of a group is having a shared goal. Even better if you understand how you can influence that goal. It gives you a purpose.
We’ve seen relatively little research which views objective setting and targets as a positive for employee engagement. This McKinsey article which discusses this is unusual, and so we thought we should look for ourselves.
Happy employees are 87% likely to understand their company’s targets for the current year.
This is a material difference and shows how powerful feeling part of a group can be, although we would argue that this is unsurprising given the amount of time that people spend at work.
Happy employees are 61% more likely to know how they will contribute to their company hitting its targets.
Understanding your company’s targets allows you to feel part of a group.
Understanding how you will help to hit those targets makes you feel like you are an active contributor to the group, which is better again. We’re not surprised by this finding.
Interestingly the overlap between happy employees answering ‘Yes’ to Question 4 and this question was 94.5%, so very high indeed.
Happy employees are 61% more likely to be clear about how their performance will be assessed.
This is a big increase over those employees that are looking for new jobs.
However, in absolute terms, the fact that only 39% of employees were clear about how their performance will be assessed was very disappointing.
Given the above findings, managers are clearly good at communicating overall goals and also making people understand how they fit into the organisation. However, the next step of showing people how they will be assessed is getting missed. Of course, this is where managing gets more difficult.
Setting and measuring people against goals is where conflict and difficult conversations come in and so people have a natural tendency to avoid this despite the research showing that clear goals motivate people.
Happy employees 41% more likely to catch up with their line manager at least once per week.
Employees want to be engaged with the business and their managers, they just don’t want to be micromanaged.
The fact that happy, engaged employees have regular meetings with their managers has been understood for some time and this supports that.
Hopefully, this research has given you pause for thought.
It puts into hard numbers some of the differences that good management can make to a team.
Next time you’re thinking about your team, perhaps go back and make sure that they understand the basics?
Image Credit: Lukas