Most employees feel managers out of touch with workplace needs, survey finds

More than half of workers believe their senior managers are out of touch with the views of their staff, a survey has found.

The latest Global Work Trend Index from Microsoft suggests the majority of people are broadly happy in their current jobs but for many of the 21 per cent who had recently switched roles, or the 56 per cent currently considering a move, dissatisfaction with management was a factor.

“With the majority saying that culture is a top priority, there is now a pressing need for leadership to better understand what engages their employees, and find ways of connecting that bridge the gap between physical and virtual work environments,” Microsoft Ireland general manager Anne Sheehan said. “Many of us are still grappling with new ways of working – flexible, remote and even hybrid – which are all still in their infancy.”

The Irish portion of the annual international survey, which is based on just short of 700 respondents intended to be a representative mix of the working population across gender, role and location also suggested opinion is divided on the benefits of hybrid working models being adopted as workplace culture emerges as the top priority for people in their professional lives.

While seeking remote or more flexible working arrangements remained a key consideration for those leaving roles in the past 12 months, lack of faith in senior management was actually found to be the most common factor with more than a quarter of respondents, 27 per cent, citing it. Among all respondents, 54 per cent said senior managers at their company were out of touch with what their employees want.

Almost a fifth of those who left roles, meanwhile, had been laid off, up from just 3 per cent a year earlier.

The nature of hybrid working models emerging appears to be causing many workers concern, meanwhile, with just over half saying they felt their workplace culture had deteriorated over the past 12 months and 55 per cent saying they have fewer workplace friends now.

Almost 30 per cent said they found it difficult to remain motivated within their current working arrangements and 23 per cent said it was hard to stay up to date with what was going on in work when they sometimes missed face to face conversations.

Views on how issues like participation in meetings and collaboration have been impacted by hybrid working are shown to be rather evenly divided but the suggestion 14 per cent “strongly agree” that they feel more alone or lonely now than before remote or hybrid working, while a further 30 per cent “somewhat agree” will be of concern to employers.

Two-thirds of respondents said the promotion of a good workplace culture was a key responsibility for employers. It was comfortably the most commonly cited issue ahead of the promotion of health and wellbeing and flexible working arrangements.