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Line managers are at the frontline of talent retention and employee wellbeing, so it's never been more important to make sure these key players have the skills and resources they need to support their teams.

Healthy relationships lay the foundation for healthier workplaces. They're also a driving factor in whether or not employees decide to leave a role.

Research from The Predictive Index shows two-thirds (63%) of employees with a bad manager are thinking of quitting in the next 12 months. But, only 27% of those who rate their managers good, or world-class, are considering a move.1

Manager capability

Similarly, research from Glint, a global employee experience and engagement platform, found employees who have a good relationship with their manager are twice as likely to stay in post.2 Plus, high manager capability increases the likelihood of high individual performance.

The Glint data also shows highly engaged teams are almost twice as likely to increase revenue and profitability compared to those with low performance and engagement.3

Nigel Sullivan, Chief Sustainability and People Officer at Bupa, says:

"Strong relationships that are built on trust and respect are essential for promoting a healthy working environment. Ensuring staff have the confidence to raise any wellbeing issues with line their manager is essential to identify and support anyone who may be struggling."

Businesses recognise this. The latest Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index shows that one in five UK managers believes an increased emphasis on workplace wellbeing and mental health will be key to recruiting the best talent going forward.4 And more than a third (37%) say their organisation already has a dedicated health and wellbeing officer in place.5

Another indicator of the increasingly important part that employers play is the Edelman Trust Barometer. This is a massive global project which has mapped trust and credibility for more than 20 years. The latest findings reveal that people in the UK now have more trust in business than they do the government, 49% versus 42%. Trust in their employer is even higher, coming in at 71% for trust.6

Importance of up-skilling

Nigel says: “This highlights the importance of up-skilling line managers and developing work practices, and resources, which recognise the increasingly pivotal role they have in talent retention, and promoting health in the workplace.”

However, many managers feel unsupported, with one study finding 39% have received no training for this important leadership role. 18% of those who have been up-skilled reported they had been in post for more than a year before they were offered additional training.7

Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 26% of managers feel they have the skills needed to be as effective as possible at fostering individual and team engagement.8

Steven Buck, Principal Consultant at Glint, says:

"Managing and fulfilling these expectations is an enormous challenge - not least because of the complex issues around hybrid working and supporting teams remotely. Meeting overload has become an issue and the boundaries between work and personal lives have become blurred.”

Increasingly, multigenerational workplaces also bring multi-layered needs.

Steven says: Younger staff are demanding an increasingly pastoral, and more personally supportive, working environment.”

This is reflected in the Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index, which found that a third (33%) of 18 to 34-year olds wanted their company to increase its focus on employee mental wellbeing. However, only 7% of over-55s raised this as a concern.9

Similarly, flexible working is valued more highly by older staff, with 64% of over-55s and 45% of 35 to 54-year olds citing it as important for engagement and wellbeing. By comparison, only 29% of 18 to 34-year olds said the same.10

Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) identifies five behaviours11 which are the hallmark of a good line manager:

  • being open fair and consistent
  • handling conflict and people management
  • providing knowledge, clarity and guidance
  • building and sustaining relationships
  • supporting development
  • What makes an effective line manager?

    Glint has identified three ways of working associated with effective line managers:12

    Bupa support

    To support line managers who are tasked with meeting these challenges, Bupa has developed a series of in-depth guides. These can empower key team members and provide the resources they need to build healthier, happier, teams.

    These include guides which address specific issues, such as musculoskeletal problems or neurodiversity. Plus, information on how to start difficult conversations around mental health and other challenges.

    1 People Management Report
    2 (PDF, 0.2MB) and (PDF, 0.3MB)
    4 2021 Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index
    5 2021 Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index
    6 (PDF, 1.0MB)
    9 2021 Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index
    10 2021 Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index
    11 professionals
    12 (PDF, 0.8MB)

    Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ

    Bupa Health Trusts are administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ © Bupa 2024

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