Bothered about the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting? Help your managers to use the human touch.
"A company is not really much more than the people that make up that company" says Ambre Soubiran, CEO of Kaiko, in the Manageable Conversations podcast, where leaders talk frankly about themselves and organisational issues.
It's become increasingly clear that when employees resign, it's their managers who are top of mind. Over half of employees thinking about quitting say it’s down to their manager, according to 2022 research by Visier Inc. They conclude that the most common attributes of good managers include treating employees well, listening to them and showing them respect.
A 2021 study by Ten Spot points to micromanagement and a lack of training as key underlying issues: 78% of managers say they need training on how to be better managers, particularly in hybrid and remote work environments. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, of Zenger Folkman, report in Harvard Business Review that ‘quiet quitting’ is significantly higher among teams where the manager is rated ineffective - with approximately 14% of direct reports quietly quitting and only 20% being willing to give extra effort.
These figures are very worrying and the human touch of managers could be the key. Ambre adds: “It’s about having high expectations when it comes to the quality of the work, but also understanding that it’s all human beings in the back”. Set high standards, but be prepared to adapt and offer support if things don’t go to plan.
One of the most valuable things managers can do is establish trust by showing them you have their back and care about them. This is a key focus for Andy Clark, CEO of EdenTree Investment Management: “I start from a position of trust with everyone I meet. It’s my go-to position.” Trust your employees, and they will be far more likely to trust you back - and will also want to keep working with you.
If managers want to get the best out of their teams, they also need to be dependable themselves. For Ian Trenholm, CEO of Care Quality Commission, this is vital: “If you are going to promise to do things, you should make sure you go and do them.” Managers have a responsibility to lead by example, and proving their own commitment to tasks will foster a stronger and more productive team culture.
In order to counteract the post-pandemic workforce crisis, the first step is to take care of your managers. If they're leading with the human touch, you will build a culture in which everyone feels supported and understood, in turn boosting productivity and loyalty.