Middle Managers take strain as employee morale bottoms out

26 November 2008 Accenture

According to a new global Accenture study, 75 percent of South African middle managers feel that the economy is having a negative effect on their work environment.

The survey of more than 2, 600 middle managers also found that approximately 60 percent feel this is affecting morale as people are concerned about losing their jobs.

“In an uncertain economic environment, employers will need to take extra care in keeping employees engaged and ensuring that they maintain their job performance,” said Steve Smith, Senior Executive, Talent and Organisation Performance. “Sound talent management strategies are now more important than ever.”

As a result of their dissatisfaction, two-thirds of middle managers in South Africa would consider another job; however they are not actively looking. Another 15 percent are actively looking for a new job. Three-quarters of middle managers cite the reason for their desire to find a new job as better pay or benefits.

“Clearly, job security is of paramount importance to employees right now,” said Smith. “Nevertheless, employers must continue to find ways to improve the work experience for their employees or they may be faced with an unwelcome rise in employee departures when the economy improves.”

The survey also found that about 40 percent of middle managers say their employers have taken steps to help employees cope with the weak economy. However, two-thirds of middle managers feel their employers could do more to help employees cope with the weak economy.

Some employers are making positive strides in responding to demands from employees for new ways of working. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of middle managers said that their employers have taken steps to help them cope with the weak economy through programs such as flexible schedules, four-day work weeks, telecommuting and transportation subsidies.

“Increasingly, we are seeing organisations re-focus their talent management techniques to provide employee programs that are more customised to individual needs,” Smith said. “We expect this trend to continue for some time.”

About the Study

Accenture conducted an online survey of 322 middle managers in the United States in September 2008. The survey was part of a global Accenture study of more than 2,600 middle managers conducted during September and October in 22 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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