There are a number of positive highlights with regard to people issues in the survey. The majority of managers say that top leaders in their organisation value their contribution. This also is true with regard to their line manager.
2 Main Challenges
The survey also reveals high employee engagement levels – on factors such as managers’ intention to stay with their organisation and feeling proud to work there. We found similarly high levels of engagement in the previous Ashridge Management Index in 2010.
However, these are the findings from a group of senior managers and we wonder whether every organisation would have similar results in a general survey of staff. There are two main challenges where organisations need to focus attention:
- Work/life balance
- Creating a better alignment between what organisations offer and what managers say motivates them
The Importance of work/life balance
There seems to be a black and white approach by employers with regard to work-life balance. Some do understand how important these issues are, but on the other side are those employers who prefer not to notice or openly discuss what’s happening. The latter view is not only more negative for an organisation wishing to be regarded as a good employer but one which is likely to de-motivate staff.
It’s also clear that organisations more interested in addressing the problems of work/life balance offer a more caring environment where staff are more likely to feel valued. The other challenge concerns motivation, and there are a significant number of managers who say their organisation doesn’t take the right approach to motivating them. We also asked managers about what motivates them as well as what they believe their organisation relies upon. One interesting difference between these two groups is with regard to the influence that managers have in their organisation. Managers would like more – for example ‘the authority to run their own show’ but say that their organisations don’t appreciate the importance of this when it comes to motivation.
Finding ways to address this would help improve engagement and ultimately business performance overall. As one manager commented: “Different people are motivated by different things. Senior management here struggle to understand anyone who isn’t motivated by the same things as them. Just working this out would be a help.”
Our Recommendation: Review employee engagement and motivation – what are the key issues for different groups of staff? Consider ways to offer more support to staff who are struggling with work-life balance.