Employee Attitudes: A Guide for Managers

July 01, 2022

5-min read

Chelsea Emerick

Two business women having a conversation

"Every employee is different, from hobbies to sociability. It’s important to understand the key aspects of each individual and find ways to best support them. "

Understanding employee attitudes is a key skill in any good manager. To be able to fully recognize an employee’s attitude and the context behind it can make all the difference in improving communication and relationships within the workplace. In this guide, you’ll learn how to better understand employee attitudes and create clear communication channels to support your team.

Workplace Culture

It’s important to first gain clarity on what is currently working for employees and what can be improved. This may not be the most straightforward or favourable of tasks, but it’s a worthwhile exploration within your wider organisation. Begin to inspect the systems in place for employees to use should they have concerns, questions or need help.

How does your company stack up?

Don’t be afraid to ask your employees directly, or take the time to send out a survey about how your organisation is doing. For more ideas see our recent article on How to Measure Employee Engagement.

It’s important to not only hear any comments provided but to come up with actionable steps to create meaningful change within your company if it will improve the workplace culture.

Often employee attitudes can be diverted to the appropriate party and discussed when a healthy workplace culture is in place. One that provides systems that support and engage employees is less likely to experience high levels of turnover. 

As mentioned in our recent UK Employee Support & Retention Survey, “nearly a third of UK workers feel they have stagnated in their current role, with no opportunities for progression.”

Creating a workplace culture that uplifts employees and provides them with opportunities to communicate their needs openly is essential in helping managers understand employee attitudes on a deeper level. Put simply, if employees feel a lack of support, they’re more likely to take their talent elsewhere.

Questions to raise about workplace culture:

  • Do employees have regular opportunities to raise their concerns with their line managers?
  • Does communication need to be improved within the company?
  • Do employees feel supported in their career development?
  • What can we actionably change to better support our employees?

Two female employees shaking hands and smiling

Understand the Individual

Workplace culture aside, it’s vital that you next understand your employees on an individual level. Depending on the number of people you manage, this may take a little time to achieve but the process is worthwhile. Taking the time to understand your employees beyond surface-level interactions will bring you a clear picture of their values and skills, in addition to how you can better understand their attitudes. 

Every employee is different, from hobbies to sociability. It’s important to understand the key aspects of each individual and find ways to best support them. A great example of this could be the difference between someone who is introverted and extroverted. If you put an introverted person in a central cubical in a busy office, you may find them standoffish and struggling to focus on their work. If they had the option to work remotely you may find their work output improves as they can focus in a more quiet environment. 

Two business women having a conversation

You will come to find supporting your individual employees easier as you get to know them better. You may find some of this to be routine, like employees with children who need to be finished with their work day in time for school pickup, while others may prefer to keep their personal life separate and may only feel comfortable indulging you in small chats about their weekend. 

Regardless of what an individual employee feels comfortable discussing with you, it’s important to be clear about your intention of understanding how the workplace can better support them as an individual.

Measure Job Satisfaction

In addition to individual needs and workplace culture, measuring employee job satisfaction is the next key element in understanding employee attitudes.

Teams that uplift one another's wins and champion career development are more likely to see their employees stick around longer. This means more than just Amazon gift cards and coffee mornings, “companies need to do more to help their employees feel recognised and valued.” Our recent Employee Recognition Survey inspects how building connections within your organization and understanding the way you show recognition matters.

Take the time to sit down with your employees one-on-one and ask them directly where they would like to see their career progress. Assess what you as an employer can do to assist in that journey and understand that the support you’re providing is an investment in your team. 

A male and female employee talking

Job satisfaction depends on a combination of factors. While the workplace offers certain social elements that can contribute to job satisfaction, such as friendships and networking opportunities, the bigger picture of career progression can often loom over dissatisfied employees. 

Creating regular conversations around career progression can boost morale and increase job satisfaction, think of it like holding a torch down a dark path for your employee. If you can’t communicate how you see their abilities further helping the company down the line, they are likely to look elsewhere. While there is an absolute need for this career development to be driven by the employee themselves, it’s vital that managers understand their role in this process too.

Questions to raise about job satisfaction:

  • Do we provide enough opportunities for professional development?
  • Are we stretching our employees too thin?
  • Are we providing enough of a challenge to our employees?

Understanding employee attitudes is an important skill for managers to have under their belt. While workplace culture and job satisfaction are valuable factors in improving employee attitudes, empathy is the key skill managers need to truly understand their employees. A well-rounded view of employees as individuals is key in offering actionable support and getting the best out of your team.

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