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Your manager experience is failing. Here’s how you can fix it.

Roshan Nair

22 May 2024

In this article:

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A few months back, our People Science team took a deep dive into manager data at a financial services company. The findings painted a clear picture of the gaps in their manager experience.

This prompted us to expand our research to a broader data set.

The second time around, we went through data for 800K+ employees across 200+ organizations and identified one universal truth across the board.

For a long time now, managers have been superheroes, minus the fame.

They juggle a bunch of challenges right from navigating hybrid teams and fostering workplace flexibility to prioritizing employee well-being. At the same time, they're still expected to ace the traditional responsibilities – managing changes, hiring critical talent, and driving productivity.

In fact, data even suggests that managers are the real MVPs and make a big impact on both business and employees.

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Despite all this, managers are treated like another cog in the wheel.

And all of this is hurting their effectiveness - significantly!

In fact, Amber data suggests that in the past year, we’ve seen a

  • 3% jump in managers eyeing the exit since 2021
  • 2% rise in manager attrition since 2022
  • 5% increase in managers zipping their lips on feedback since 2021

Why are managers struggling to stay engaged?

Higher tenure = lower engagement

While the general understanding is that an increase in tenure means an increase in engagement, that’s not the case with managers. Our research showed that manager engagement decreases with increasing tenure.

This happens because managers feel overworked, undervalued, and lose a sense of purpose over time. Duri Arisandi, the Chief People Officer at tiket.com, shared his thoughts on how to fix this.

🎙 CHRO Recommendation
5 ways to make your tenured managers more effective:
  1. Provide access to online or offline channels to cope with challenging situations.
  2. Set up a process for regular feedback and check-ins.
  3. Build a culture of rewards and recognition.
  4. Promote work-life balance.
  5. Provide a clear personal development plan.

Gender disparity continues to widen among managers

Amber data reveals a decline in women in managerial positions, falling from 24% in 2021 to 19% in 2023. On top of this, employees with longer job tenure (and hence, experience at the company) are less likely to have a female manager. This highlights a systemic bias favoring men in career advancement.

Amber data suggests women managers have shown lower satisfaction with compensation, career development, recognition, opportunities to connect with leadership, and work-life balance. The Forbes Business Development Council suggests actionable steps to address these issues.

5 ways you can enable women leaders
  1. Don’t trivialize or undermine their efforts.
  2. Remove biases about working mothers.
  3. Give women a voice at the table.
  4. Provide equal compensation and work flexibility.
  5. Encourage their path to leadership and foster C-suite mentorships.
🎙 CHRO Recommendation

“To keep supporting women in their careers, we must create a work environment with ample flexibility, empathy, and orientation around the various life stages that women go through. They shouldn’t be forced to make a choice.”

Sonali Chatterjee, Dy. President & Head - People, Performance and Culture at Aon

Gen Z managers are less engaged compared to Gen X & Gen Y

And finally, it looks like there's more to leadership effectiveness than just tenure and gender. Generation plays a big role too, especially as we're seeing Gen Z stepping into managerial roles.

Here are some early findings from Amber's data:

  1. Gen Z managers are less engaged compared to Gen X.
  2. They tend to stay silent more often.
  3. Unlike Gen X, they're not big promoters, scoring lower on eNPS.

Amber's data uncovers 5 key insights that highlight why this could be happening.

Why are Gen Z managers disengaged?
  1. Gen Z expects more support & collaboration from their teams.
  2. They feel tasks don't align with their personal & professional goals.
  3. They expect skip-level managers to be more approachable.
  4. They want managers to be more involved in career growth.
  5. They want high-performance cultures at their workplaces.

Considering that Gen Z is set to be nearly 30% of the workforce soon, these insights are like a glaring preview of what's coming down the pipeline. And it might be time to take notice of it before it’s too late.

🎙️ HR Leader Recommendation

”Gen Zs are expecting a very highly collaborative environment, an environment that is non-hierarchal, completely transparent, and highly inclusive. Most importantly I think they're expecting an environment that is highly productive and technology-rich.

Naveen Janjirala, Head Digital & AI - COE & Corporate Functions, at TVS

Make your managers cornerstones for organizational success

From boosting their support systems to enhancing their decision-making arsenal, it’s on us to ensure our managers are thriving. Because when they win, we all do.

A well-supported manager leads to a happy team. And a happy team leads to outstanding results.

For more actionable insights on how to enable your managers, check out our Manager Effectiveness 2024 Report.

Explore Gen AI today!
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