Big number of Irish staff threaten to leave jobs over lack of face time

New survey suggests a correlation between fall in output and morale for professionals

Two out of three Irish professionals have said that they are “highly likely” to leave their job this year due to a lack of face time with leaders within their organisation, a new survey has found.

The annual employee survey from global recruiter Robert Walters reveals the potential damage of upholding remote leadership in 2022, and comes amid the recent announcement from Government that workers can return to the workplace on a phased basis.

Results from the survey indicate a correlation between a decrease in output and morale for professionals who claim they see their manager face to face less than once a week.

Both output and morale steadily increased for professionals who spent more days in the office with their manager.


Almost half of professionals said that fewer meetings and less interaction with their manager has led to a dip in their output.

In fact, when asked how often professionals speak to their line manager when working from home, 22 per cent stated that they “don’t really communicate with manager when working from home” – up from just 3 per cent who stated the same at the beginning of the pandemic.

A third of managers have permanently adopted a new management style post-Covid, in favour of holding catch-ups, both formal and informal, with their staff over the phone or via video call rather than in person.

Many professionals believe that this increasing lack of contact with their line manager has resulted in them being overlooked for new opportunities (44 per cent), progression (37 per cent) and training (26 per cent).

Suzanne Feeney, country manager of Robert Walters, said: “As the concrete solidifies on hybrid working schemes, the long-term impact of remote leadership is yet to be assessed but it cannot be ignored.


“Professionals vying for progression want to show initiative, adaptability and the ability to handle responsibility by themselves – and so by nature they won’t necessarily ask for more face time with their manager as they feel it works against the point they are trying to prove.

“Outside of effective delegation and general team management, a line manager must act as a leader – guiding and supporting each individual and helping to finesse and bring out star qualities and skills.

“This leadership skill is not simply an add-on to a line manager’s duty but critical – and central to that is high levels of engagement, face time and shadowing.

“Businesses must understand that if they are to have a solid future talent pipeline, they should take a look at the current management style of their leadership team and make adjustments to ensure there is face-to-face interaction, where possible.”

Added to that, the survey found that 62 per cent of professionals would be “put off” a new job offer if not delivered in person via a face-to-face interaction or video call.

A generic email (57 per cent) or voicemail (33 per cent) were cited as the leading approaches that would put prospective candidates off.

Over three-quarters (77 per cent) of professionals believe that prospective line managers should be the one presenting a job offer to a candidate – rather than HR – with a further 45 per cent stating that it is important they are invited to a team lunch or social within the first week of starting their new job.

“These survey results highlight how companies need to be acutely aware of the potentially negative effects of impersonal processes for hiring or managing employees,” said Ms Feeney.

“Where in many instances technology and the virtual world can aid proficiency, it is no replacement for human interaction when trying to engage a prospective employee or onboard a new hire.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter