The survey says …

Employees love to complain about their
bosses. But how bad, really, are those
managers who occupy supervisory positions in a company? According to a
recent study, most employees think that
their bosses are not so bad after all. More
than half (52 percent) of employees polled
say they are satisfied with the performance
of their bosses; similarly, 60 percent of
workers say they can trust their managers
and less than one-quarter (24 percent) of
workers feel they could do a better job
than their bosses if put in charge.

The survey, developed by Robert Half
International, the world’s first and largest
specialized staffing firm, and, the United States’ largest
online job site, was conducted via a Web
panel and includes responses from more
than 3,000 U.S. workers.

“Our study shows that despite the fact
that some employees complain about their
superiors, managers are actually doing a
fairly good job and employees are happy, in
most cases, with their immediate supervisors,” says Robin Webster, branch manager
of Robert Half International’s Houston

Smart Business spoke with Webster
about the results of this survey and the
characteristics that make a good boss.

What are some of the highlights of this survey?

Not only did we learn that the majority of
employees view their superiors in a positive light, we also learned that managers
draw the highest marks when it comes to
addressing day-to-day problems. For
example, 58 percent of employees say their
bosses make time to review their job concerns; only 22 percent disagree. However,
workers are somewhat less enthusiastic
about their supervisors’ willingness to help
them advance professionally. Only 45 percent of respondents say their managers
help them develop new skills.

In addition, while most employees are
happy with their immediate supervisor’s
performance, workers aren’t as thrilled
about top executives … only 45 percent of
workers say they are satisfied with their corporate leader’s performance, which is
about 8 percent lower.

Why do workers have different views of their
managers and corporate leaders?

It appears that the higher up the ranks an
executive goes, the more difficult it is to
communicate with staff. It is this communication that is key to creating an environment where the employee feels heard. The
fact that employees are not as satisfied
with company executives as their own
immediate supervisors reveals that some
companies may not be doing a good job of
relaying company objectives and communicating with employees. Executives really
need to go that extra mile to keep the lines
of communication open with staff.

What makes a good boss?

There are many characteristics that make
a good boss, but good communication
skills are key. There is a need for supervisors to constantly communicate with their
staff; this is particularly important in this
competitive hiring environment when top
employees may receive job offers from
other companies. Retention is key. Bosses
need to continually ensure that employees are satisfied with their jobs and feel like
they are being heard. Good bosses also
lead by example, are good at relaying information so that all employees are on the
same page, and help employees achieve
their own career objectives, as well as the
objectives of the company.

While good bosses help employees achieve
their career objectives, your survey reveals
that managers are not doing a great job in
this area.

That’s right. Our survey shows that only
45 percent of respondents say their managers help them develop professionally.
This is an area for improvement since helping employees advance is a good way to
foster company loyalty and help increase
employee performance. This is an area that
often gets put on the back burner because
professional development takes time and
many managers feel they’re too busy to
take on this role.

How can managers improve this?

Managers need to take the time to regularly touch base and communicate with
their staff. It’s important for people to
know their bosses will support them. Sit
down with employees and find out what
their personal career goals are, and then
take steps to help them achieve these
goals. Supervisors need to be proactive in
addressing challenges and help workers
solve problems they may have. Managers
may feel they don’t have the time, but this
is a critical step in retaining top workers in
the long run.

ROBIN WEBSTER is the branch manager of Robert Half
International’s Houston office. ( Reach her at (713)
623-4700 or [email protected].