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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

Being a manager has always been a challenge.

You’re busy dealing with the boss, mentoring junior team members and trying to get your own job done. Over the past year, many managers have also had to take on extra emotional work, as their people grapple with more mental-health issues.

A recent study from MetLife, an insurance and employee benefits provider, found that millennial managers are struggling more than their older and younger counterparts. According to their data, 42 per cent of millennial managers (those aged 26-40) say they are burned out, compared to 34 per cent of Gen Z managers (25 and under) and 27 per cent of Gen X managers (41 to 57).

The study found that millennial managers are sacrificing their own well-being in order to foster strong employee performance. Employees under them were more likely to report feeling productive, successful, engaged and motivated than those with managers from other generations.

While the MetLife report says training and benefits are critical ways to support managers, a study from Deloitte shows higher up executives may not actually be aware of how much their employees (including managers) are suffering.

Deloitte finds that in contrast with what employees reported, more than eight out of 10 global executives believe their people are thriving in all aspects of their well-being.

Only 47 per cent of workers said they believe their executives understand how difficult the pandemic has been for them, yet 90 per cent of the C-suite say they recognize how challenging it’s been.

Taking action on employee well-being will be key to keeping your business healthy, according to MetLife.

“The pandemic has changed the way we work – from the way we do our jobs to how we interact with one another – and managers have been tasked with navigating this for their employees,” said Missy Plohr-Memming, senior vice president of Group Benefits for MetLife in a statement.

“As the largest generation in the work force today, Millennials – and particularly those in management roles – have a significant impact on their organization’s ability to succeed in the new normal,” she said.

An interesting article from Business Insider suggests another remedy to the challenges managers are facing: Companies should simply get rid of managers all together.

“Flattening the hierarchy and doing away with most managers could help companies retain talent and attract a newly empowered work force, but only if they implement it right,” the article says.

This concept is called “holacracy,” and it’s been around for more than 10 years with varied success.

The Deloitte survey recommends that companies expand their health benefits and work to create a culture of transparency so that employees feel more comfortable addressing mental-health challenges.

What I’m reading around the web

  • There’s a reason why some companies flourish during a recession – and well beyond it. See how four main areas, including debt, decision making, work force management and digital transformation affect companies during a downturn.
  • Even if your boss has requested it, the consequences for opting out of returning to the office may not be as bad as you think, according to this Forbes article. Read on to learn how companies and their people are reacting to varied work-from-home policies, and how they’re being enforced, if at all.
  • Right now, many Canadians are enduring extreme heat. See what some community members are enduring, and how climate change, architecture and city bylaws are working against them in their mission to beat the heat.
  • Here’s how COVID-19 has changed the way people look at work, and how it’s pushing up wages and fuelling inflation.

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