Employees Worldwide Like Their Managers, Yet Seven Out of 10 Claim They Can Do Their Boss’s Job Better

Over 90% of Workers Say the Manager-Employee Relationship is an Important Factor to Remaining at Their Current Job

LOWELL, Mass., Sept. 9, 2019 — Today, on “National Boss/Employee Exchange Day,” managers should seriously consider giving their employees the reins for a day to test new research that indicates seven out of 10 employees worldwide (69%) say they can do their boss’s job better, despite nearly the same number of workers (71%) grading their boss’s competence a B or better.

This “Global State of Managers” research comes from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace, which examined how nearly 3,000 employees in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. would grade their manager’s effectiveness across five factors: communication, competence, empowerment, professional development, and support.

News Facts

  • The manager effectiveness report card: Employees grade their managers high on competence but nearly fail them when it comes to work-life balance and job coaching.
    • Overall, managers are good at their jobs, with the majority of employees grading bosses an A or B for competence (71%) – the highest grade given – and work ethic (70%).
    • Bosses also received high marks (B or better) for their communication skills, people management skills, and ability to handle performance-related issues (all 67%).
    • The older the employee, however, the more critical they are of their boss: Baby Boomers1 and Gen Xers grade managers more harshly with a C, D, or F for overall people management skills (37% and 38%, respectively).
    • Worldwide, the employee-manager connection remains critically important: 70% of employees say their relationship with their manager is an extremely or very important factor when deciding to remain at their current job, with 22% agreeing it’s somewhat important. Millennial (79%) and Gen Z (73%) employees feel strongest about the importance of the manager relationship for retention compared with Gen X (66%) and Baby Boomer (62%) counterparts.
  • Anything you can do I can do better! Nearly seven out of 10 people think they can do their boss’s job more effectively.
    • While bosses worldwide are well regarded by their employees, these same employees think they could personally manage even more effectively, with younger Millennial (73%) and Gen Z (70%) employees most confident they could do better.  
    • Based on grades given of a C, D, or F, at least one in three employees feel their manager could improve at modeling work-life balance (37%); their ability to coach for better job performance (37%); handling performance-related issues (33%); and communication (33%).
    • For overall people management skills, the majority of workers would “pass” their boss with an A (26%), B (37%), or C (25%); yet 4% of employees give a solid F for performance.
  • French, German, and U.K. managers graded worst for competence, while Indian and Mexican workers are happiest overall…with one big exception.
    • Indian employees are by far the most satisfied with their managers, with at least eight out of 10 grading managers an A or B in every category. Conversely, French, German, and U.K. workers are by far the most pessimistic about manager performance, as those countries ranked in the bottom three in every category surveyed.  
    • Globally, here is where employees grade managers an A or B for the core skills surveyed, as ranked by country:
      • Most competent: India (87%); Australia (76%); Canada (75%); Mexico (75%); U.S. (71%); Germany (62%); U.K. (61%); and France (59%)
      • Best communicators: India (90%); Mexico (74%); Australia (68%); Canada (68%); U.S. (67%); Germany (59%); France (58%); and the U.K. (56%)
      • Hardest-working managers: India (81%); Australia (75%); U.S. (73%); Canada (72%); Mexico (70%); Germany (63%); U.K. (62%); and France (58%)
      • Best job coaches: India (83%); Mexico (70%); U.S. (64%); Australia (63%); Canada (61%); France (56%); Germany (55%); and the U.K. (51%)
      • Most adept at handling performance-related issues: India (86%); Mexico (73%); U.S. (70%); Australia (68%); Canada (66%); Germany (59%); U.K. (57%); and France (56%)
      • Role models for work-life balance: India (80%); Mexico (70%); Canada (65%); U.S. (65%); Australia (62%); France (55%); Germany (55%); and the U.K. (53%)
    • Despite rating their managers No. 1 in all categories, a whopping 95% of Indian employees still say they could do their boss’s job better all of the time (47%) or some of the time (48%). This sentiment is followed by 87% of Mexican workers and 71% of French workers. Canada (61%) and U.S. (59%) workers feel the least confident that they could do their boss’s job better – yet it’s still more than half of all employees.
  • Frontline industry managers have some homework to do, while managers in technology and professional services industries receive highest marks.
    • Managers in the technology industry are on top overall, scoring highest marks (A or B) in people management (81%), communication (75%), and modeling work-life balance (70%).
    • Professional services managers (e.g. accountants, engineers, lawyers) rank second-best, with 70% of employees grading them a B or better for people management and communication.
    • Employees in the technology (77%) and finance (70%) sectors say they have a strong or very strong relationship with their boss, followed by manufacturing (62%); education (61%); retail (61%); and professional services (61%).
    • There is room for managers to model better work-life balance in frontline industries – i.e. those who must be present to do their jobs – with 53% of employees in federal government, 42% in healthcare, and 42% in retail giving their boss a C or worse.
    • Regarding pure competence, managers are graded worst – C or lower – by public safety (44%); federal government (39%); transportation/distribution/logistics (35%); and healthcare (34%) employees.
    • More than one in three employees give poor marks of a C or worse for their manager’s work ethic in federal government (37%); healthcare (34%); transportation/distribution/logistics (34%); and manufacturing (33%).

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos

“As the working world continues to evolve, and new generations enter the workforce, styles, preferences, and perceptions will continue to change. With the number of Millennial managers growing, attitudes toward aspects of management and working style will also change. As the student becomes the teacher, organizations should have a clear lesson plan for leadership development and effectiveness in key areas to set tomorrow’s managers up for ongoing success.”

  • Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and research director, Future Workplace

“It’s no surprise that employees globally feel they can do their manager’s job more effectively – especially with the generation gap continuing to widen. Organizations should take note of the state of their managers and continue their education and training – focusing in areas of relationship development, communication, and modeling empathy – while ensuring managers have time and bandwidth to regularly check in with employees to ensure harmony and satisfaction across the board.”

Supporting Resources

About The Workforce Institute at Kronos

The Workforce Institute at Kronos provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute at Kronos is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit www.workforceinstitute.org.

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

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Survey Methodology

Research conducted by Future Workplace on behalf of Kronos Incorporated based on a survey fielded by market research agency VIGA between July 31– Aug. 9, 2018. For this survey, 2,772 employees were asked general questions about their workplace, managers, time, and work burnout. The study targeted full- and part-time employees living in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. VIGA respondents are recruited through a number of different mechanisms, via different sources, to join the panels and participate in market research surveys. All panelists have passed a double opt-in process and complete, on average, 300 profiling data points prior to taking part in surveys. Respondents are invited to take part via email and are provided with a small monetary incentive for doing so. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 1.9 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. For further questions about survey methodology, contact Domenic.Locapo@kronos.com.

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Contact                

Domenic Locapo

Kronos Incorporated

+1 978.947.4777

domenic.locapo@kronos.com         

Footnote 1: Generations are defined as follows: Gen Z, ages 16-25; Millennials, ages 26-37; Gen X, ages 38-54; Baby Boomers, ages 55-74; and Silent Generation, ages 75-94.