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The Employee Experience Platform | Culture Amp
Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

Writer, Culture Amp

Managers have become much more than just the taskmasters of their teams.

In the tumultuous last few years, they’ve also taken on the roles of sounding boards, dedicated mentors, fearless advocates, trustworthy advisors, committed coaches, and reliable guides. As their teams have endured seemingly endless changes and uncertainty, managers have become trusted sources of sage wisdom and steady reassurance.

As the role of a manager has grown beyond overseeing tasks and timelines, companies’ investments in leaders haven’t necessarily kept pace. Many managers are saddled with unreasonable demands, scarce resources, impossible workloads, and high stress levels.

While it’s tempting to point to those as the drawbacks of a more senior role, the reality is that when managers struggle, the entire company follows suit. Today, investing in success starts with investing in managers.

The importance of managers: 3 reasons why they (really) matter

Managers are the foundation of a company’s success. That might sound like a bold claim, but there’s research to back it up. In our recent State of the Manager 2023 Report, Culture Amp’s people scientists identified trends and insights from 257,234 managers at 3,304 companies.

As we reviewed the data, one thing became clear: why organizations need managers. Let’s look at three of the most notable benefits of managers to demonstrate why these positions are well worth an investment.

1. Managers boost employee motivation

Why are managers important to organizations? Motivation is a key piece of the puzzle.

Employees can’t always connect the dots between their roles and the broader company vision or objectives. Managers serve as valuable intermediaries. They’re the ones who fuel a sense of purpose and fulfillment among their direct reports.

When they do this well, the payoff is clear. When employees have a great manager they see as a role model, they score 27% points higher on motivation. This proves that it’s not policies and targets that amp up ambition and get the best out of employees – it’s managers.

2. Managers improve employee confidence in the company

Employees see headlines about layoffs, recessions, and macroeconomic concerns on a daily basis. As a result, they may have less confidence in your company.

This is another reason why management is important. Because managers directly interact with their team members, they’re crucial in fostering the belief that the company is making the right moves.

When employees rate their senior leaders as “good managers,” they’re far more likely to agree with the following statements:

  • I would recommend [Company] as a great place to work: 80% of employees agree
  • I have confidence in the leaders at [Company]: 74% of employees agree
  • [Company] is in a position to succeed over the next three years: 76% of employees agree
Leaders who are great managers drive higher company confidence

Employees don’t need empty promises or grabby vision statements to maintain a sense of trust in their organization. They need honest, engaged, and supportive managers.

3. Managers instill positive employee habits

For most employees, managers aren’t just supervisors – they’re also role models. Employees watch their leaders carefully and often emulate their actions.

This is a good thing, provided the manager is modeling positive behaviors that they want to see trickle down through the organization. When a manager takes an action first, their employee is:

  • 3 times more likely to participate in 1-on-1s
  • 4.7 times more likely to give public recognition
  • 6.4 times more likely to have a development plan
  • 19.7 times more likely to give continuous feedback
Manager behaviors instill new habits in direct reports

Put simply, employees take notice when their leaders practice what they preach.

Managers don’t just offer support – they need it

Your managers play a critical role in shaping your employee experience and your overall success as an organization. It’s a big job, and they can’t be expected to go it alone.

It’s up to companies to equip managers with the tools, resources, and training they need to do their best work – so they can inspire the same from their employees.

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Learn more about the state of the modern manager

Download the full report

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