After two years of working from home during the pandemic, it is not surprising that most people don’t desire to go back to the traditional office working environment. Of course, working remotely is very convenient and comfortable. For some employees, it is more of the latter than the former because of the kind of bosses they have. They are not excited to have someone usually awarded the title ‘manager’ breathing down their throat and watching their every move.
Is the significance of hierarchy eroding?
Not to take away from the vital role of hierarchy in the working environment, but if we are honest, some positions are just overrated. Let us specifically look into the role of a manager.
Some companies have managers who only supervise people. Of course, someone must be in charge of daily operations, but the issue occurs when they become joyriders—good at giving orders and doing the bare minimum. Although these types of managers may be few and far between, I believe it is important to ensure there’s no place for managers who don’t do work.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemingly shares the same opinion. In a Bloomberg report, the tech guru said that 2023 is Meta’s “year of efficiency.” In that plight, the company asked some of its directors and managers to move to other roles or resign. The step was crucial to improving all employees’ efficiency, including the company’s leadership, by forcing these people to individual contributor jobs.
Meta, Amazon and other prominent tech companies are focusing on this crucial area. For example, Zuckerberg pointed out that flattening the organization structure and removing some layers of management would fasten the decision-making process. It is also worth noting that Meta’s approach to downgrading some of its staff was made individually, suggesting that performance was a primary determining factor.
What can managers learn from the Great Resignation?
Back to matters of remote working, the era of the Great Resignation exposed those we thought were in charge in a manner they cannot deny. According to a GoodHire survey, about 73% of managers admitted that productivity improved significantly or remained constant when people worked remotely. Additionally, 61% of the managers said their companies retained top talent during the remote or hybrid working arrangements.
In a way, the remote and hybrid setups demystify the role of top leaders such as managers. Employees need a comfortable space to be productive and not feel as though someone’s watching them every second. The managers agree that employee performance changed positively under the hybrid work system. Sixty-eight percent of the managers, according to the GoodHire report, agree that their companies either maintained or generated more profit.
While other factors like the cost of running an office come into play, employees work better when they can manage their time independently from their preferred spaces. Regardless, there is a disconnect between what managers admit and the ongoing mass layoffs in tech companies.
Top leaders quickly let go of other employees without looking at the resources wasted on ghost leadership roles like managerial positions. What entails a manager’s job description if everyone is doing their job so well away from the office? Should they be the first ones out the door?
The Great Resignation poses a challenge for managers and leaders who need to reflect on how they can retain their employees and ensure that their role as managers remains relevant in a rapidly changing work environment. Managers can retain their value by focusing on employee engagement, adapting to remote work, embracing flexibility, investing in professional development and communicating effectively with their teams. By taking these steps, managers can demonstrate their relevance in a rapidly changing work environment and retain their employees’ loyalty and commitment.
Employees discovered freedom and peace of mind they lacked at the workplace. Some have worked their entire life to build careers but end up unhappy due to too much pressure. Managers need to give them motivation and inspire them to stay.
How are other companies handling slacking managers?
Many leaders have realized the need to make necessary changes early enough. Doing it on a personal level is vital, as not every fruit is or has gone wrong. The role of a manager is much more than supervision; thus, getting rid of them altogether may not guarantee optimal performance.
Managers as leaders should understand that their role is to manage things and lead people, and it is possible to achieve both. Most tech giants, like Google, Meta and Twitter are letting go of some of their staff to manage the recession or eliminating roles to promote efficiency. These drastic moves are only sometimes a show of bad leadership.
Zuckerberg is one of those bosses who prefers to consider firing as the last option. Reasonably, as much as some managers can be a pain in the neck, they did not get there by chance. Most of them worked their way to the top and were also trying to figure out the best ways to dispense their duties. In between, they make mistakes, and the first step to correcting them is redrawing any blurred lines and restoring individual responsibility so that everyone is doing the actual work.
Good leaders must ensure the company remains alive to serve its course. If those in the hierarchy do not align, they must step away to create room for success. Major tech companies are setting the pace by pushing managers to take up direct and functional responsibilities beyond delegating tasks to their teams and managing them.