Staff calling in sick could be a symptom of management malaise

If your office seems strangely quiet this morning it might be due to the fact today is ‘national sickie day’. The first Monday in February is the day of the year which traditionally sees the highest number of workers calling in sick. It’s been argued that many of these people could in fact be looking for a new job, but whether your staff are sick or on a job interview, these absences may be indicative of a deeper problem, and it in all probability lies with the quality of their managers. According to recent research, one in seven people (16%) have had to take sick leave due to a bad manager and a fifth of people would turn down a job offer if their new manager had a bad reputation. The research also found that those who find themselves being poorly managed are more likely to take radical action and leave a job than tackle the issue with their HR department.

In the poll of 2,000 employees by Penna, a quarter of respondents admitted that bad bosses had caused them to lose sleep and 21 per cent said they had been upset/cried in the workplace.

It’s clear that organisations need to realise that their management team is an integral part of their brand, and even if they offer staff an impressive benefits package, great work life balance, and fantastic development opportunities – if their management team isn’t up to scratch it will have a serious impact on their ability to attract and retain talent.

Although the research highlights the negative consequences of bad managers, it revealed that many employees have made the best of a bad situation, with 17 per cent saying they have learnt more from poor managers they’ve had in the past than from good ones. The findings also illustrated the transformative effect a great manager can have. More than a quarter of employees (27%) have had a good manager that has made them realise they can achieve more, and a further 25 per cent have had a good manager who has inspired them to further their career.

More than one in five also credited a good manager with helping them to view things differently, and a further 16 per cent said a good boss had helped them overcome confidence issues.

The research suggests that the better the reputation and capability of the management team, the easier it should be to attract and retain employees.  It might also persuade them to still come to work on a cold February day.