Manufacturing Managers are Struggling with an Increased Workload

47 per cent of managers have seen their responsibilities increase since COVID

29 March 2023 - Almost half of managers within the manufacturing industry (47 per cent) report that their responsibilities have increased since COVID, with over a fifth (21 per cent) finding it more difficult to stay positive at work. These are the findings from O.C. Tanner's 2023 Global Culture Report which collected and analysed the perspectives of over 36,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and business executives from 20 countries around the world, including 2,792 from the manufacturing industry.

The report reveals that the new responsibilities and expectations placed on managers over the past few years have resulted in many succumbing to stress and burnout. In fact, almost a third of manufacturing workers (31 per cent) report that their direct managers seem stressed.

"This increase in workload for managers is negatively impacting their wellbeing and engagement, as well as overall company culture" says Robert Ordever, European MD of O.C. Tanner. "They are expected to do far more but with the same if not fewer resources, and eventually something has to give and it's all too often their mental health."

The report highlights that the main managerial tasks taking up more time since COVID are project/team meetings (41 per cent of manufacturing managers report an increase). This is followed by management meetings (39 per cent) and training and mentoring (37 per cent). Despite these additional tasks, 19 per cent of manufacturing managers admit that they are finding it more difficult to receive support from senior leaders.

Ordever says, "Managers are stretched far too thinly these days, with meetings and mentoring occupying more time than ever before. Leaders must recognise this and find ways to ease their burden."

The Culture Report recognises that while it may not be possible for an organisation to ease every managers' workload, managers can be provided with a robust support network where they can seek advice, ask for help and share best practice. They can also be made to feel valued and appreciated. In fact, 76 per cent of manufacturing managers agree that receiving more recognition for their work would improve their employee experience, with leaders and managers who work in organisations with a culture of recognition, having a 38 per cent reduced chance of developing anxiety.

Ordever adds, "Managers need support and recognition just as much as any employee. This must be given regularly and authentically, with appreciation integrated into everyday culture so that it flows in all directions. Managers will then feel part of a caring workplace community in which their contributions are continually seen and valued."

About O.C. Tanner's 2023 Global Culture Report
The O.C. Tanner Institute collected and analysed the perspectives of over 36,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and business executives from 20 countries around the world. The results demonstrate that employees crave community, leaders require urgent attention, personal fulfilment is a new benchmark, generalists provide exactly what organisations need now (if allowed), and symbols can increase the power of recognition dramatically.
The O.C. Tanner Institute uses multiple research methods to support the Global Culture Report, including interviews, focus groups, cross-sectional surveys, and a longitudinal survey.

Qualitative findings came from 10 focus groups and 81 interviews among employees and leaders of larger organisations. The groups and interviews were held throughout 2021 and 2022, each representing various types of employers, including both private and public entities.

Quantitative findings came from online survey interviews administered to employees across Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The total sample size was 36,441 workers at companies with 500+ employees. The O.C. Tanner Institute collected and analysed all survey data. This sample is sufficient to generate meaningful conclusions about the cultures of organisations in the included countries. However, because the study does not include population data, results are subject to statistical errors customarily associated with sample-based information.

About O.C. Tanner
O.C. Tanner is the global leader in software and services that improve workplace culture through meaningful employee experiences. Its Culture Cloud is a suite of apps and solutions, including recognition, service awards, wellbeing, leadership, and celebrations that help people thrive at work. O.C. Tanner provides these and other services for thousands of the most respected companies in the world. For more information visit

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