Managers are essential for shaping company culture and a sense of belonging

According to a new poll of employees from Workhuman managers are crucial for both individual professional development and overall company culture.According to a new poll of employees from Workhuman, managers are crucial for both individual professional development and overall company culture. When it comes to company culture 42 percent of employees cite management as the most influential factor in shaping the workplace environment. And when employees feel like they belong, the top reason was, “my manager supports me,” as reported by 60 percent of respondents.

When asked who employees look to for guidance on interpersonal conduct in the workplace, managers emerged as the clear frontrunner, with 42 percent looking to them for cues on how to communicate with and treat colleagues.

The survey also suggests that 40 percent of respondents say appreciation and recognition in the workplace is the most important factor for a positive culture. Given its importance, these findings suggest that managers should set the tone accordingly and model frequent, regular recognition and feedback. In turn, this can shape employee behaviour and help create a psychologically safe environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas, asking questions and trying new things.

Likewise, a lack of recognition is the number one factor when it comes to creating a toxic workplace culture. These results indicate that frequent recognition from managers, coupled with fostering a culture of appreciation amongst all employees, is essential for fostering a thriving and positive work environment.

The poll also suggests that employees most often turn to their managers for professional guidance. UK employees are over 2.5 times more likely to seek guidance from their manager (41 percent) compared to peers (16 percent) or mentor (17 percent). Given that managers are often best-placed to monitor progress and provide feedback, it stands to reason that employees value their personalised guidance – and that managers should be proactive about giving it.

“Management isn’t just about oversight; it’s about driving culture and guiding professional journeys. Employees consistently look to their managers for support, whether that be for professional development, performance feedback, or a sense of belonging,” said Dr Meisha-Ann Martin, Senior Director, People Analytics and Research at Workhuman.

“Managers that take the initiative to engage with their employees on the individual human level, offering regular check-ins and authentic, tailored recognition, will create a positive company culture that attracts and retains the best talent – and ultimately drives long-term business results.”