Why Workers Quit
13 January, 2023

Restoration Workers Top Complaints Against Management

Leighton Healey

Every one of us has  had issues with managers at work, but there’s a large percentage of workers in the restoration industry that have serious problems with their manager.

So serious, they’re willing to quit over it.

We wanted to dive deeper into the problems workers had with their managers, and what could be done to fix them. Thanks to the Restoration Workforce Survey, we discovered exactly what workers thought about their managers, and the changes they’d like to see in their management’s approach.

This information is priceless. Why? Because it comes directly from the mouths and experiences of employees working in the restoration industry - the same employees you need to attract and retain to continue to grow and scale your restoration business.

So, what are some of the biggest changes restoration workers want to see out of their managers?

Survey results of 'What Would You Change About Your Manager's Approach?'

1. Lack of Communication

Lack of communication is a major area of conflict between managers and employees. This means feeling left out of big decisions, as well as just not having the information necessary to do their jobs successfully.

As one restoration employee mentioned in our survey, “My manager needs to communicate better with us. Secret meetings and closed doors are not conducive to a productive environment”.

A lack of communication can be frustrating for restoration employees, especially for the younger generation trying to learn the ways of the restoration industry. If this isn’t addressed, it can be a breeding ground for conflict. It also creates aimlessness in the company that leaves employees feeling lost, angry, disappointed, and in the end, causes them to look elsewhere for a company with better restoration management.

2. Lack of Emotional Management

Surprisingly, another issue that came up over and over was the temperament of managers in the industry. Restoration can be a hard, callous business, but it shouldn’t be employees that feel the brunt of that. Yet that’s exactly what they told us: short tempers, expletive-laced outbursts, and more led to workers wondering if their manager was worth the hassle.

While nobody is perfect, leaders that tolerate disrespectful management are creating unnecessary headaches for themselves, and are allowing their worker retention to be far worse than it needs to be. Today’s worker simply has no appetite to work in an environment where they feel belittled and patronized, and it's only a matter of time before they seek out a new workplace where they feel respected.

As a leader, you need to have ownership over this. This means letting managers know disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated, and investing in the soft-skills of your team to help them deal with setbacks, frustrations and disappointment.

3. No Intentional Efforts to Understand Perspectives

Respondents to the Restoration Workforce Survey told us they wish their managers would seek to listen and understand their perspective better. As one restorer put it,

“I wish my manager would listen more. Often it feels like he is more focused on what he is going to say next than who he is currently listening to”.

There are two things at play here. First, many managers come from an old-school mentality where the bosses talk and the employees listen. This approach does not work with Millennial and Gen Z workers, who want to feel bought in and a part of the solution when coming to work. Second, many managers are rushing from job-to-job, juggling multiple conversations and projects, meaning they simply don’t think they have the time to understand employee perspectives.

This leads to mistakes, blame being passed around, and employees feeling like they’ve got so much more to offer a company, if only management would listen to them.

Again, if your company does not adopt an approach that seeks to understand how employees are thinking and feeling, another company will. This doesn’t mean you let your junior technician dictate your business priorities, it means each employee believes that management seeks their input, wants them to feel like their voices are heard, and then works hard to make the best decision based on all the information they have at their fingertips.


The Restoration Workforce Survey was the largest survey ever conducted on the restoration workforce.

The KnowHow team pulled so much valuable information from the survey results that it’s impossible to summarize it in one blog post.

If you want to gain the most out of this survey, we strongly recommend downloading the full eBook for free. It’s an easy read, and shows restoration owners and managers exactly what they need to do to create a more successful work environment, retain employees, and create a powerhouse restoration business that employees want to work for.

Download your free copy today.

Want to see what KnowHow can do for your workforce? Book a demo.
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