Every employee will have different expectations from their managers and other superiors. While some might prefer a “hands-off” approach, where they’re left alone to get their work done, others prefer a structured work environment with a more involved manager. However, a lack of clear communication can lead to a less productive work environment, a stale atmosphere and dissatisfied employees.
Regardless of your preferred working style, there are some key things that every employee expects from their manager. If you want to be the difference between an “okay” manager and a great one, read on to discover five things that all employees wish their managers knew.
1. How to facilitate effective collaboration
In any workplace, collaboration is key to success. Approximately 75% of employees rate collaboration and teamwork as “very important”. Yet often teams aren’t equipped with the tools they need to collaborate effectively, particularly when working remotely.
As a manager, it’s part of your role to implement collaboration strategies and solutions to provide your team with everything they need to be productive whether they’re in the office or working from home. Doing this helps prevent communication and collaboration silos from disrupting your team’s productivity.
Employees also want to know that their opinions matter, so it’s important to create open dialogues where they feel comfortable expressing ideas and solutions. If employees feel like they have no say or are unable to contribute to discussions around key decisions, they’re more likely to leave.
2. Long-term aspirations and career development goals
Good leaders should recognize and acknowledge their employees’ goals and aspirations when it comes to their career. Retention isn’t all up to HR; managers who care about their workforce's development can not only help to increase team performance but also to improve employee morale and overall job satisfaction.
Great managers should be able to identify their employees' talents, strengths and personality traits to help drive their personal and professional development. It’s important to maintain communication with people about where they are when it comes to meeting these goals and provide feedback on any improvements that need to be made before they can move forward.
Be forthcoming that growth inside the organization is a main priority and outline performance measures to provide clear expectations. This involves providing ongoing opportunities for employees to learn and grow their skills, such as training and mentoring that aligns with their job purpose and the overall mission of the company.
3. The importance of honesty
One thing most employees crave is a transparent work environment. In too many workplaces, management hoard information and don’t share integral business information with employees. This can foster mistrust, causing employees to question what else they’re not being told.
It’s important to note that trust involves a symbiotic relationship. When leaders are honest, employees are more likely to do the same. Even if it’s not possible to be 100% transparent all the time, employees will be more appreciative of managers who take a direct approach, share what’s being done and are open about reasons behind decision-making.
4. How to show their appreciation
Showing employees that they’re appreciated in the workplace can go a long way. Although your employees might slip up from time to time, they work hard and the reality is they’re the backbone of your organization. But unfortunately, employees often feel undervalued by their managers.
Research shows that over 70% of employees want their employers to do more to motivate them. What’s more, the top reasons employees feel demotivated are feeling invisible or undervalued (43%), poor management (43%) and lack of recognition (40%).
A great way to combat this is to simply tell them how much you appreciate what they’ve done and continue to do. Just thanking employees by giving weekly or monthly shout outs acknowledging their effort and accomplishments will provide encouragement and reassurance that they’re respected and valued in the workplace.
5. The desire for more flexibility
A whopping 77% of American workers would accept a lower salary if they had more flexible working hours, according to Beqom's 2021 Employee Expectations in Hiring Report.
Attitudes towards the traditional 9-5 office grind are changing, with 92% of millennials identifying flexibility as a top priority when job hunting. But it’s not just employees who benefit from the improved work-life balance that flexible work yields - it’s proven that an agile labor market provides myriad social and economic benefits for employers too.
Leaders must acknowledge the desire for flexibility at work. This is why many companies have adopted fully remote or hybrid working models that give employees more freedom to choose when and where they want to work.
Managers must think about how to leverage flexible work to keep employees satisfied and reduce burnout. This means giving them more say in their schedules to ensure work gets done alongside other roles like caregiving.
If you want to be a great manager and avoid scathing reviews from past and current employees, it all boils down to simply being honest with your employees and listening to what they have to say.
In a changing and increasingly competitive work environment, it’s more important than ever before to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to be a fair and effective manager.
Employees are becoming more selective of the companies they choose to work for, so if managers aren’t providing the support, honesty and appreciation they expect in the workplace, they probably won’t be sticking around for too long or performing to the best of their abilities.