The quality of the manager-employee relationship has a large impact on job satisfaction and retention, with employees saying they place considerable value on working with managers who are approachable, transparent, and honest, according to the findings of a survey conducted by human capital management solutions provider Ultimate Software.

The results of the survey of more than 2,000 U.S. employees and managers, which were released on December 4, 2017, revealed that there are complex differences in perception and experience between managers and the people they manage. Of the employees surveyed, 93% said that trust in their direct boss is essential to staying satisfied at work, and more than half indicated that if they aren’t satisfied at work, they can’t put forth their best effort.

The findings further suggested that a good manager-employee relationship can play a significant role in retention, with more than half of the employees saying they would turn down a 10% pay increase to stay with a great boss. However, while the survey found that 75% of the employees consider approachability to be the most important quality in an effective manager today, only half of these respondents said they have an approachable manager.

The survey also looked at how well managers and employees communicate. The results showed that whereas 80% of the managers think they are transparent with their direct reports, only 55% of the employees agree that their managers are transparent. While the bulk of the employees polled said they feel comfortable communicating, 57% of the managers surveyed indicated they wish their reports would be more open about what is on their minds.

In addition, the results showed that of the managers surveyed, less than half reported having a mentor who gives them guidance on how to be a better leader, and 45% said they have never received formal management training. But despite this lack of training, the managers expressed confidence in their skills: only 16% acknowledged that they frequently make mistakes, and less than one-third admitted that they do not know what to do in personnel situations. Whereas 71% of the managers surveyed said they believe they know how to motivate their team, only 44% of the employees agreed that their manager knows how to motivate them.

Finally, researchers warned of a possible end of “the manager” as we know it: 80% of the employees surveyed indicated that they think they could do their job without managers, and deem them unnecessary.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 2

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