Experts have recently reported that our current decline in productivity growth is due to poor management, coupled with a lack of investment in skills. With our labour output per hour set to grow at just 0.2% this year, there is a widening gap between large mature economies and the UK. Certainly, Brexit seems to have played a part in this with companies looking to recruit to add skills to their businesses rather than invest in upskilling an existing workforce. But both the Bank of England and CIPD economists seem to be pointing the finger at poor management practices as the root of the problem, so we thought we would look at how bad management practices can affect productivity.
What are the effects of poor management skills?
Both the CIPD and Simplyhealth have reported that poor management is cited by over 40% of employees as being the cause of stress-related absence. Add to this that over 60% stated that workload was the cause of work-related stress through poor management, and we can begin to see where many companies’ problems lie. Any business relies on its employees for both its productivity and success, but an unmotivated and poorly managed workforce is going to underperform.
Being a manager today is so much more than carrying out appraisals and approving annual leave. Today’s manager needs to be a team leader, a coach, a trainer and confidante, all wrapped up into one. Empathy, communication and leadership are all necessary management skills if you are going to guide your workforce to success, but not everyone has the right level of confidence, skill and behaviour to be a successful manager in the 21st Century. And many of today’s managers are what we call ‘accidental managers’, lots of whom are missing those vital management ‘soft skills’ that could make them great leaders.
How can management training help?
Many studies have concluded that an employee’s relationship with their manager has a direct impact on their engagement, morale and performance. Being able to communicate an employee’s roles and performance expectations gives them both direction and the confidence needed to be more autonomous in their work.
Do your managers know how to resolve conflict, give feedback and manage the multiple personalities in their team effectively enough to keep morale consistent and productivity high? Good managers are rarely born; they are created through experience and learning. Offering your managers the right training from the outset will not only help them to be successful but will help your workforce to be successful, which should translate to employee loyalty and retention.
There are many reports that cite poor management as one of the main reasons for low employee retention rates and productivity, the costs of which far outweigh good management training. Managers with soft skills and Emotional Intelligence are high on the priority list for many millennial and Gen Z workers who currently make up the majority of the workforce.
Creating a leadership team that understands how to get the best out of your employees will go a long way to future proofing your business, especially as we begin to navigate the uncertainty that Brexit is bringing upon UK businesses.
Good leaders and managers are going to be even more important in the future to instil confidence and positivity in your teams. Giving these leaders the skills they need now can only help ensure your productivity and stability for the hurdles we are all going to have to face further down the line.