Hiring

My Top Productivity Hack Is . . . Hire Great Managers

Gallup found that one in two employees have left a job due to a manager. Doesn't that tell you something?
My Top Productivity Hack Is . . . Hire Great Managers
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Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits
5 min read
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Employees are job-hopping more than ever before, and it’s typically due to their managers. In fact, Gallup found that one in two employees have left a job due to a manager.

So why are managers such a problem in today’s workplace?

The truth is, managing people isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest jobs out there. Trust me, I’ve managed plenty of people throughout my career, and it takes a certain skill set to be good at it.

Related: 4 Massive Mistakes Many Companies Make When Promoting New Managers

Unfortunately, not everyone has those skills; yet those people end up in management roles anyway. In many companies, promotions are given to employees who have built up the most tenure within the company or have excelled in a specific role. Because these companies aren’t focusing on the actual skills needed when filling management roles, they end up saddling their employees with bad managers.

Bad managers cause stress and unhappiness among employees. And when your employees are unhappy, your company and productivity suffer.

The effects of poor management

According to Gallup, 70 percent of a team’s engagement is based on the manager, but only 15 percent of employees are engaged. That’s a sobering statistic. When bad managers lead teams, it’s not just employee engagement that’s affected. Morale and motivation plummet as well, and that carries over to every area of employees’ professional and personal lives.

When employees aren’t engaged, they aren’t motivated to do their best work. Creativity and innovation are set aside, and they just go through the motions to get the job done and get out. Work quality isn’t high, as unhappy employees will only do the bare minimum. And when employees are only doing the bare minimum, your company suffers the consequences. Here’s what you’ll see happen:

  • Increase in days absent: If employees aren’t at work doing their jobs, things aren’t getting done.
  • Decrease in performance: The quality of their work goes down, which means the quality of your products and services goes down.
  • Lower customer ratings: If the quality of your products and services goes down, customers won’t be happy.
  • Decrease in profit: Unhappy customers mean fewer people will be buying from you.

So if you think even one unhappy employee doesn’t have a big effect, you’re mistaken. That individual's attitude will trickle all the way down to your bottom line.

Related: 5 Easy Things You Can Do to Be a Better Manager

Management and productivity

Today’s workers need to be motivated by more than just a paycheck and job security. They need to feel they’re doing meaningful work and making an impact. And no one can give them this feeling of purpose better than their manager.

Having unhappy employees means performance and productivity are going to suffer. And a decrease in productivity is going to cost you. Gallup estimates that the low employee engagement rate can be connected to approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. So you really can’t afford to have unhappy employees. You’re literally throwing money out the window.

The solution is simple and clear: Hire better managers.  

Managers have the most direct influence on employees. They are responsible for defining goals, priorities, direction and purpose. And employees need all of these things to do their jobs effectively. When employees know what they’re doing, what they’re working towards and why, they are more motivated and will therefore be more productive.

Identifying great managers

The first thing you need to do to improve the management situation at your company is to stop promoting based on tenure or performance. While long-term and high-performing employees should be rewarded for their loyalty and achievements, placing someone in a management role he or she is ill-equipped for is not the answer.

Related: How Soft Skills Can Help You Get Ahead in a Tech World

The truth is, very few of your employees are management material. According to Gallup, only 18 percent of those currently in management roles demonstrate a high level of talent for managing others. The best strategy is to hire the right people for your management positions, even if they come from outside the company, and find other ways to reward loyal and hard-working employees who are not suited for management.

When filling a management role, you need to look for more soft skills than hard skills. These are often overlooked, but they are a true necessity when it comes to management. Successful managers should excel at:

  • Relationship-building
  • Communication
  • Team-building
  • Problem-solving
  • Delegation

Communication is especially important in the employee/manager relationship. Gallup found a strong link between consistent managerial communication and higher engagement levels.

That’s because, above all employees want to be treated as a person. They want to feel that they matter. And when their managers can make them feel that way, productivity will increase and every aspect of your company will benefit.

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