Managers are the catalysts who define, shape and help influence the attitudes that determine corporate culture. Recently, more and more managers are becoming disengaged and overcoming manager disengagement is essential because it negatively affects employee engagement, team performance and cohesion. Industry research indicates that in the U.S. today, over 70% of managers have received no people management training, or their training was capped at just four hours.
Manager engagement is the extent to which managers are motivated to contribute to organizational success and are willing to apply discretionary effort to accomplish tasks important to the achievement of organizational goals. – Dr. Jack Wiley.
In a recent eBook, What Can You Do About Manager Disengagement? our Trendicators advisory board members unanimously stated that managers are increasingly stressed and need help dealing with today’s people management challenges. Our blog below summarizes the causes, impacts and how to overcome manager disengagement.
How Managers Influence Employee Engagement
Fewer variables significantly influence employee engagement, retention and productivity than employees’ relationship with their immediate supervisor. In his book, “The Employee-Centric Manager,” Engage2Excel’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Jack Wiley, identifies eight attributes 80,000 employees in 27 countries want most from managers. The results from this study show eight attributes, including five behaviors, one skill and two values.
Managers who demonstrate these attributes are likelier to get along well with employees, and their team members are likelier to get along well with each other. In addition, these managers’ teams are more highly engaged in their work and perform better.
Behaviors of Disengaged Managers
We’ve all seen the headlines about “quiet quitting.” This term is another word for “employee disengagement.” Quiet quitting, or disengagement, is when workers fulfill the minimum requirements of their jobs, putting in no more time, effort or enthusiasm than needed to remain employed. While only modest drops in overall employee engagement levels were reported in national surveys in 2021–2022, the pandemic has undoubtedly profoundly affected the workplace and attitudes toward work.
Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Realities
During the pandemic, we saw increased workplace stress, the implementation of new systems, and — in many cases — the lack of technology to meet new, growing demands, especially concerning remote work. Most fundamentally, managers lacked training on interacting with employees in this new environment.
Coming out of the pandemic, faced with record-low unemployment and rising inflation, we experienced acute staffing challenges, greater demand for attraction and retention and quiet quitting. The competitiveness of the talent marketplace complicates these challenges, increased attrition and a disconnect between employees and managers, especially higher-level managers, over return-to-work policies.
Overcoming the Challenges of Manager Disengagement
Companies that invest in helping managers succeed receive exponential returns in achieving their objectives. A greater discretionary effort by managers and employees themselves results in lower absenteeism, reduced turnover, and improved team productivity. Years of research prove that workforce engagement is a reliable predictor of business success.
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