Employees' Happiness Trickles Down From Above

Workers Take Cues From The Top

Staten Island business bank shares a university lesson on avoiding turnover costs

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Setting a good example at the top can benefit the bottom line, a workplace study has found.


Victory State Bank, Staten Island's only community-based commercial bank, suggests that the research can be instructive for business owners and managers.


A professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., along with colleagues concluded that role models mean a lot when it comes to employees' attitudes.


Their inquiry examined 1,527 full-time employees at 94 hotels in the United States and Canada and saw that when middle managers don’t have good working relationships with their bosses, the effects are felt down the line.


“If an organization wishes to address issues related to line employees’ work attitudes, it should address behavior and work attitudes from the top down,” said Ray Friedman, Brownlee O. Currey Professor of Management at Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.


The crux of the findings reported late last month is that keeping middle managers happy with their supervisors is the key to retaining the lower-level workers they manage and avoiding expensive turnover costs.


Previous studies have found that high employee turnover lowers customer satisfaction, Vanderbilt noted. It’s also been previously established that the level of satisfaction with a supervisor is a reliable predictor of turnover intentions.


“The focus should not just be on employees and their managers, but also on the signals being sent by senior managers every day as they interact with their middle-level manager subordinates,” Friedman said.


His colleagues were Ying Chen, assistant professor at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Tony Simons, associate professor at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.


Along the company ladder, “middle managers’ satisfaction with their senior managers was related positively to line employees’ satisfaction with middle managers,” the researchers' report said.


So when middle managers don’t have good working relationships with their bosses, the effects are felt down the line with the employees the middle managers oversee, leading to some lower-level employees quitting.


“Despite the lack of direct contact between senior managers and line employees, senior managers can have a significant influence on those line employees,” Friedman said.


The effect is even stronger for women managers, the study suggests.


“While the trickle-down effect is general, there may be subgroups especially influenced by the trickle-down dynamic, and we have identified women middle managers as a group that is especially affected by the trickle-down effect,” Friedman said.




About Victory State Bank


VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office is in the community of Great Kills, and branches are in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

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