According to a 2019 survey conducted by staffing firm Robert Half, nearly half of all employees cite poor management as their top reason for leaving their job. On average, poor management costs companies $960 billion and $1.2 trillion per year. This statistic isn’t surprising considering how poor management can lead to high turnover rates, decreased productivity, and lower employee morale and job satisfaction rates. 

While poor management can result from incompetent hiring practices from corporate, they are often the result of inadequate or ineffective training from the person who promoted or hired them into the role. Combine this with the simple fact that managing a team of employees is hard, especially when it involves discipline and providing constructive criticism and actionable feedback. 

Even though your team might not express these concerns to you, these are the top 6 things your employees wish you’d do to be a better manager:

1. Understand Their Job Functions

Job Functions are a big one for many reasons. Here’s why. First, knowing what your employee does during their day-to-day gives you a better understanding of what’s on their plate before you assign more work to them or shift around their responsibilities. Jobs are stressful, and it’s only compounded by a manager who fails to take the time to understand what truly goes into their employee’s workday. Second, it helps build up trust and rapport. 

If you want to change a procedure or add/remove steps from a particular process, your employee is the best person to discuss this with. Since they are performing this job function each day, asking them if this new procedural change is feasible or effective will provide honest feedback about improving an existing system. When a manager fails to respect the employee’s experience, it creates a culture of distrust and makes the employee ultimately feel like their voice, knowledge, and experience aren’t valued. 

2. Dependability

While everyone might think that a lazy boss is #workgoals, the reality is that employees need to have a manager they can depend on for answers, guidance, and direction. Dependability extends to far more than simply showing up for work that day. Employees want to work for a boss that wants them to succeed and provides them with the tools and opportunities they need to do just that – even if it’s something as simple as being accessible to answer a question they may have. 

When you dedicate your time to your employee’s success, it creates a culture of accountability and productivity, which will generate more revenue and increase profits. It’s a win-win all around.

3. Recognition 

As a manager, you need to know how to make your employees feel valued. Recognition helps increase employee productivity. Companies that practice frequent recognition practices have a 31% lower turnover rate when compared to companies that forwent this practice. Recognition can come in many forms, such as providing a simple “thank you” when an employee goes out of their way or providing Fringe Benefits such as retirement plans and educational courses that can provide a pathway for further success. 

Regardless of which you choose, the bottom line is that recognition goes a long way in helping employees feel valued. When an employee feels like their manager is a pivotal component to either their department or company’s overall success, they will be more likely to stay and continue producing the same results, if not better. 

4. Honest and Open Communication

While this may not have been a priority in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how important it is for employers to be transparent with their employees during times of upheaval and uncertainty. 

One way managers can do this is by clearly communicating the company’s stance on policies such as masks, temperature screenings, and precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus in the workplace. Furthermore, managers should be doing everything they can to avoid leaving their staff in the dark if the desired timeline for everyone to return to the office safely should be indicated in a company memo, meeting, or email. Likewise, measurable goals and access to the tools and resources the team needs to meet those goals should be clearly outlined so remote employees can achieve success. 

According to a 2020 survey, many employees felt like the shift to remote work required them always to be accessible. However, this constant pressure to be available caused employees to feel like the boundaries between their work and personal life were blurred. Managers need to be mindful of this and set explicit rules and boundaries surrounding workplace policies, after-hour communication, and expectations in the “new normal.”

5. Independence and Autonomy

Micromanagement is incredibly common in the workplace. Unfortunately, this need to control an employee’s tasks and how they accomplish their work is detrimental to productivity. Studies show that micromanagement can negatively impair employees and cause them to get detached from their work, breeding a culture of apathy and unwillingness to participate. 

Employees want their managers to trust them and their ability to decide how they tackle their day. Furthermore, employees want to utilize their creativity to develop solutions to existing problems or develop innovative ways to reinvigorate a current system. Allowing employees to take charge of this can not only help them feel valued, but it can reaffirm that their voices and opinions matter. 

6. Actively Listen

It’s a fundamental need but so crucial to any thriving working environment. While managers may not be able to reinvent the wheel or change specific policies, they can help foster a safe and productive environment by listening to their employees’ concerns and taking the time to address their concerns and develop viable solutions. Out of everything mentioned on this list, active listening is one of the most effective ways managers can improve employee engagement and well-being.

Practicing These Tips Can Improve Your Employees’ Productivity and Loyalty to the Company

Managers play an integral role in a company’s success. With these tips, you can develop a closer relationship with your employees and foster an environment of security, loyalty, and productivity. According to the Work Institutes, 2020 Retention Report, “Organizations must ensure managers are well-trained in relationship skills and conduct or continue to lose the talent war.” This training focuses on The Complete Manager Makeover Membership program, composed of dedicated business owners and managers who strive every day to become stronger leaders.