Management practices must evolve as Australian organisations embrace technology and new working styles, according to Aaron McEwan, HR advisory leader, Gartner.
“For years, the traditional manager model provided ongoing, consistent employee coaching and development,” said McEwan.
“However, as technology and innovation impact job requirements, organisations need managers who can provide employees with the tools, knowledge and connections to succeed in the midst of change.”
McEwan added that during the last 12 months, Australian employees have consistently cited a lack of future career opportunities and development as a key reason to leave their job.
“It’s clear that employees have become frustrated with managers who fail to support their professional goals and aspirations,” he said.
His comments come as new research from Gartner found manager quality is now ranked among the top three reasons Australians will leave their job.
Indeed, data from Gartner’s Q3 2018 Global Talent Monitor report reveals that manager quality rose three places from last quarter to become a key driver of attrition for Australian employees.
At the same time, people management (an organisation’s reputation for how it manages its employees) is now the number one reason employees choose to leave one job for another, followed by future career opportunity and manager quality.
Moreover, another knock-on effect of poor manager quality is employee engagement.
Gartner’s data also showed that high discretionary effort levels stalled at 17% in the third quarter of 2018.
“For employees it’s a catch 22. They’re unfulfilled with their current roles, but the last three months of the year are a notoriously slow period for hiring, making workers reluctant to seek new opportunities,” said McEwan.
“There’s only one thing worse than employees walking out the door, and that’s having a workforce that’s mentally checked out, but still showing up each day.”
In order to win back employees who are disenchanted and dissatisfied, McEwan said organisations need to seek out ambitious, high-performing managers who can develop employee skills and unite talent from within and outside of the business to deliver results.
According to Gartner research, the manager best positioned to improve performance in the current work environment is the “connector manager.”
“A connector manager links employees to the right people and resources at the right time to get the job done,” said McEwan.
Gartner data also reveals that this type of manager can improve employee performance by up to 26% and increase employee engagement by up to 40%.
Just one in four managers demonstrate the connector leadership attributes organisations need.
However, McEwan said that while these managers may be rare, they are not impossible to find.
“Connector managers proactively unite employees to an organisation’s culture, engagement and leadership team, addressing the current concerns that could see valued team members look for employment opportunities elsewhere.”
McEwan recommends HR leaders develop connector managers by finding those managers who:
Take an active role to ensure high-quality development connections rather than just delegating development responsibilities
Invest time to diagnose and understand individual employee needs
Help employees get more value from their development connections by focusing on quality not quantity
Create an environment of transparency and trust within their teams and recognise peer coaching and development