I have worked for both types of employers – one where employee/employer feedback was a two way process and there was a healthy flow of communication and ideas moving back and forth from manager to employee and back again. This organisation was where my personal and professional opinions were respected and asked for. I felt I could do anything professionally to move the L&D of the organisation forward and my efforts would be considered and welcomed in a positive manner. I loved being there and really felt I made a difference. I would work longer hours, not take leave and believed that I was part of a team which made a difference – and no-one told otherwise. My manager(s) – I was in a very hierarchical organisation – appreciated what I did and told me so. I went “that extra mile” for them – all because I was consulted, asked my opinion and generally had positive feedback from my managers.
I have also worked for employers who were the complete opposite. In one particular organisation, during a discussion, my manager stood over me, saying, “I’m your manager and I’m telling you that you have to do this!” Team meetings never happened as “information would be given to you on a need to know basis”. Unfortunately, even this never happened. When my manager was out of the office one day, I thought he was off sick, until I was told he was on leave – he didn’t think it necessary to tell me. In this organisation, I was a number, not someone who was responsible for the L&D of the company. The manager didn’t provide feedback. When we had review meetings, the not-so-positive comments would be; “I want you to stay later than 5.30pm.” (this wasn’t for any particular reason; he just wanted me to stay late). Instead of dealing with these in a timely manner, work review meetings became something of a courtroom, I felt I had to defend myself. Hardly an environment where employee engagement was encouraged! Yes, I know I’m ranting about this, but this is not the way to treat employees. I felt helpless and undervalued.
Line managers need support and training to be the best manager for their teams. Otherwise, like me, their staff turnover will be huge – even in this economic climate.