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The employee-manager relationship - why it matters now more than ever 1

The employee-manager relationship – why it matters now more than ever

Remote and distributed ways of work are gaining popularity and very quickly becoming the norm as companies are offering permanent work from home and hybrid work options to employees. As a result, there is an increased spotlight on the employee-manager relationship.

The way teams are communicating due to the hybrid work environment has changed at a breakneck pace. This has caused a shift in how employees and their managers interact on a day-to-day basis.

Let’s explore how the employee-manager relationship has changed in the wake of the pandemic and distributed work culture.

Building better work relationships 

According to Talent500’s recent survey, 48% professionals consider factors like team and manager as the top reason continuing to work at a company. From an employees’ perspective, there has been a decline in communication with their managers since the pandemic. For managers, this might look like a loss of control over employees, but this actually demands that both parties make the extra effort to stay in sync in their relationship, with managers taking on the load more heavily.

When done right, it could lead to employees feeling more connected and engaged with their team members, managers, and the organization. According to a survey by Paychex, around 66% of employees agree that they have received more honest communication from their managers during the pandemic. This has made them feel more confident about their roles and their productivity has improved.

As a manager, you need to bring an increased level of transparency and accountability to your communication with employees. As research has pointed out that job satisfaction is the second most important determinant, after mental health for employees for retention, managers need to create a positive experience for employees.

A new perspective on employee development needs

22% of employees report disinterest of their managers in encouraging or enabling them to learn at all. Only 17% of employees report that their managers help them create a plan or set upskilling goals. Learning and development have been the cornerstone for the engagement and retention of employees. But today, managers are struggling to keep track of what their employees need. Also, there is a growing worry among employees that their skill sets will fall behind due to rapid technological advances. They are looking up to their managers to help them keep up with these advances through reskilling.

As a manager, you must be more involved in the learning process of employees. Make this involvement collaborative. In the post-pandemic era, employees want more control over their work-life and look for opportunities that better align with their interests, goals, and experiences. This is why rather than telling your employees what to learn, have a discussion with them about their aspirations and goals.

Incorporating a bidirectional feedback loop

Collaborative conversations are more important today. A bidirectional feedback loop is what you need to reinforce trust and loyalty with your employees. In this age of work, sharing feedback with employees about their performance is just half the battle, you need to extend them the same favor and take their honest opinion on how supportive and empowering the managers are in helping them grow.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to help them proactively share their honest opinions and feedback. For instance, you can encourage opinion sharing by asking how you performed in a client meeting. You can also show vulnerability by asking them which aspects they think you can improve upon.

Many managers are letting the employees take control of the team meetings by setting up an agenda for regular check-ins. This is a clever approach to schedule meetings focused on topics important for employees. This also gives them more control over their career and development. You can learn a lot about your employees from such meetings like what they want to learn to upskill, what their career goals are, and what interests them most.

A renewed take on the employee-manager relationship

As a manager, there is a lot that you can offer to mentor and coach employees in a time when building connections is more important than ever. As employees evaluate their jobs, they want to feel more connected to their roles – a reason that is greatly affecting the attrition rate.

This is why your new approach towards the manager-employee relationship should focus on taking on the role of a coach and mentor and guiding employees to be their best – at work, but also from a holistic growth and development point of view. Taking this approach shows employees that you genuinely care for wellbeing, value their presence in the organization, and are dedicated to their growth.

Talent500 is a powerhouse managing global teams for Forbes500 companies. We hire, build and manage global talent for you. Schedule a consultation to discuss your needs.


Monica Jamwal

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