In 2023, the relationship between employers and employees underwent a change. What does that mean for 2024? A Gallup poll notes that "many organizations are radically retooling the ways they do business, leaving many employees, including managers, stressed and disconnected."
Some of the issues that managers faced in 2023 include:
- 64% said employees were given additional job responsibilities
- 51% cited the restructuring of teams
- 42% reported budget cuts
To address these, and other issues, the poll advises that leaders should "consider re-tooling their management strategies to better support the changing needs of their workforce and organizational culture."
Here are a few of the trends that leaders need to address. (This is an excerpt from Gallup's analysis)
Global Worker Stress Remains at a Record High
Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace report revealed that employee engagement is rising worldwide. That’s good news. However, worker stress has remained at record high levels since the pandemic.
In the U.S. and Canada, employee stress is even higher, with 52% of employees reporting they experienced a lot of stress the previous day. This trend holds implications for peoples’ wellbeing at work and home, as well as their productivity and longevity.
As we move into 2024, which trend will win out: the ongoing rise in stress or the improvement in employee engagement?
Managers Are Getting Squeezed
Changes to the workplace have hit managers especially hard. In 2023, managers were more likely than non-managers to be disengaged, burnt out and job hunting. They were also more likely to feel like their organization doesn’t care about their wellbeing and to say that they’re struggling with work-life balance.
These manager struggles are bad news for organizations because they trickle down to their teams. Managers serve as crucial connectors for team collaboration and effectiveness, accounting for 70% of the variance in employee engagement.
Overall, the “manager squeeze” largely comes from increased responsibilities and navigating numerous organizational changes. Gallup research shows that many managers now have more work to do on a tighter budget with new teams. And from a relationship standpoint, they often find themselves caught between aligning with new directives from leaders and meeting the changing expectations of their employees.
What’s certain is that managers will need more training and support to lead effectively in today’s new work environment riddled with new expectations for managers.
Leaders Are Restoring Trust Yet Have Much Room for Improvement
Trust in organizational leadership significantly declined since the onset of the pandemic until it started to recover in 2023. Yet, today, only 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization. Undoubtedly, the hardships and disruptions of today’s new world of work have created headwinds for leaders. However, when leaders communicate clearly, lead and support change, and inspire confidence in the future, 95% of employees say they fully trust their leaders.