The majority of Australian workers are more productive if they have a manager who cares but most would not describe their current manager as appreciative, a new study has found.

The inaugural Reward Gateway Workplace Engagement Index found that the relationship between managers and their employees is crucial to efficiency, retention and wellbeing, but that there is often a strained workplace relationship.

The study, consisting of a survey of 1,000 HR managers and 10,000 employees, found that more than 80 per cent of respondents said they were more motivated and productive at work if they have a manager who cares.

But of those surveyed, 65 per cent said they would not describe their manager as appreciative, and more than 60 per cent did not feel frequently recognised for the work they are doing.

More than 40 per cent of those surveyed said they wouldn’t describe their manager as respective, while more than a third feel like this relationship is transactional.

This may be contributing to the ongoing workplace exodus, with the report finding that more than a third of workers who said they were looking for a new job were doing so due to a lack of recognition.

More than 35 per cent of those surveyed said they frequently feel burnt-out due to a lack of recognition from their superiors.

Overall, 83 per cent of employees said they were more motivated and productive when they have a manager who cares, and this figure jumped to 87 per cent for Gen Xers and 94 per cent for Baby Boomers

Show me you care

Reward Gateway APAC managing director Kylie Green said managers need to actively show recognition and appreciation for their employees.
“We know that engaged and productive employees are the lifeblood of every successful organisation, and that recognition and rewards are crucial to keeping productivity high,” Green said.

“If employers do not make significant efforts to bridge the clear disconnect gap in priorities, they will run the risk of further disengagement and, ultimately, employees leaving.”

The report found that Australian managers are not receiving the support they need to provide this assistance to their employees.

One in five of the managers surveyed said they don’t feel enabled and supported to be great managers, while more than a quarter said they were not offered sufficient training when becoming a manager.

Overall, the study found that the Australian workforce has an engagement store of 6.2 out of 10, showing that it is “not exactly thriving”, Green said.

“We have some work to do to support our people to be at the top of their game, creating an environment where they can thrive and maximising productivity and performance,” she said.

The study also found that flexible work options remain an essential offering for all employees.

Just under 60 per cent of those surveyed agreed that remote work or flexible work schedules have improved their productivity and motivation at work, while over two-thirds said they can still effectively collaborate and build connections with colleagues no matter what their work arrangements were.

More than half of the individuals surveyed said they were considering leaving their current job in the next six months.

A report last year found that there is a significant disconnect between Australian managers and their employees.

The study found that the primary reason for people wanting to leave their job was a lack of work-life balance and a lack of skills development and career progression opportunities.

In contrast, the managers surveyed said they believed people were wanting to leave mainly for compensation reasons.

There is also a need for more part-time managers to help Australia bridge the existing gender gap, another study found.

According to the report, just over 20 per cent of all Australian employees work part-time, but this figure drops to just 7 per cent when it comes to managers.