Supervisors Affect Employees’ Job Satisfaction

October 1, 2013 ( – U.S. employees said their direct supervisors affect their job satisfaction and engagement, according to the Kelly Global Workforce Index.

Conducted annually by the Michigan-based Kelly Services, the survey found 61% of U.S. respondents believe their direct manager or supervisor has a significant impact on their job satisfaction or engagement.

When asked what direct managers and supervisors could do better, aside from salary or promotion, employees most frequently cited more training opportunities (49%); clearer responsibilities; goals and objectives (34%); and more transparent communications (24%).

Other findings of the survey included:

  • More than one-third (36%) of workers feel totally committed to their current employer;
  • “More interesting or challenging work” is identified as the top factor that makes employees feel more committed or “engaged” with their job; and
  • Forty-two percent of employees said they would be likely to recommend their employer to a friend or colleague as an employment opportunity, with company culture or reputation noted most frequently as the most influential factor.


“It is sometimes said that employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers,” said Steve Armstrong, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Operations, Kelly Services. “Kelly’s research shows that employees prefer to work for managers who clearly communicate with them and explain responsibilities, expectations and opportunities.”

Armstrong suggests managers take proactive steps to address any underlying discontent.

“Managers who concentrate on improving communications and providing more opportunities for personal development will have a better chance of maximizing their investment in people and skills,” he added.

This survey was conducted online by RDA Group on behalf of Kelly Services. It collected responses from more than 120,000 respondents in 31 countries, including more than 18,000 in the United States. Kelly Services, Inc. is a provider of outsourcing and consulting services, as well as staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis.

The complete findings of the survey, under the title “Employee Engagement and Retention,” can be found here.