The age old saying is that people join companies but leave bosses.
I spoke to a friend recently who had just received the most bizarre rant from his boss in response to his email that he was unwell and wouldn’t be at work. The impact of this? The relationship, already a little fractured, became yet more damaged. The employee who would otherwise have busted their gut to return to work quicker than was medically advisable, told me that he was now going to take his full allocation of sick leave. And yes, he’s actively looking for a new job.
According to new research by McKinsey – this presents an enormous opportunity for organisations both to increase profitability and social good.
The link with making more money
McKinsey reference previous research where they state this:
Healthy companies, we know, dramatically outperform their peers. The proof is strong—the top quartile of publicly traded companies in McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index (OHI) delivers roughly three times the returns to shareholders as those in the bottom quartile—so strong, indeed, that we’ve almost come to take it for granted.
But now we see new, longitudinal evidence that redoubles our conviction. Companies that work on their health, we’ve found, not only achieve measurable improvements in their organizational well-being but demonstrate tangible performance gains in as little as 6 to 12 months. This holds true for companies across sectors and regions, as well as in contexts ranging from turnarounds to good-to-great initiatives.
That is, organisations with positive engagement and culture; better leadership make more money.
So, what’s the link with the boss?
When it comes to employee happiness, bosses and supervisors play a bigger role than one might guess. Relationships with management are the top factor in employees’ job satisfaction, which in turn is the second most important determinant of employees’ overall well-being.
Over the years this link has waxed and waned a bit as work life balance and development have also become important to people; but the last year has thrown the boss/employee relationship into the spotlight once again. This evidence shows strongly that employee’s relationship with their boss is THE most important determinant in job satisfaction, which then predicts a whole lot of positive indicator for both the organisation and the employee.
How do you improve the relationship?
There are a number of ways to think about this:
Systemically – what is the culture of the organisation? How does that support positive, constructive relationships? How does that enable the right people to be promoted and employed into leadership roles?
The Boss – what support is there for a new manager around leadership and people related skills? And how do these skills get honed and built on? In my travels with organisations, I am constantly surprised around manager’s lack of knowledge and skills. Organisations tend to think that sending new managers on a three day off the self training course is sufficient, with little thought as to how those skills will be reinforced and grown back in the workplace.
The relationship – what opportunities do both employee and boss have to give honest feedback? Is there clarity around the roles, remit and breadth the responsibility?
McKinsey add to this:
It stands to reason that managers would play a crucial role in their employees’ workplace happiness. The wealth of literature on what makes for a good workplace highlights two aspects that line managers directly control: good work organization—that is, providing workers with the context, guidance, tools, and autonomy to minimize frustration and make their jobs meaningful—and psychological safety, which is the absence of interpersonal fear as a driver of employee behavior. With burnout on the rise, and stress and anxiety a leading cause of ill health and absenteeism, the emotional health of workers becomes particularly important.
If there is one area that makes a huge difference to the profitability and the productive of organisations, and the satisfaction of employees, it’s the relationship the they have with their boss.
Think about instances when you’ve had a great relationship with your boss – how did that make you go above and beyond? Equally, you probably don’t need to think too hard about where a relationship wasn’t positive, and the implications of that.
Today’s takeaway is to ask – what relationship do you have with your team? And what are the implications of that relationship? Good or bad? What do you want to do about it?
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