• One in five line managers ‘ineffective’, according to employees

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  • 20 Feb 2015
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Poor leadership prompts third of staff to leave job, research reveals

A third of the UK workforce is likely to leave their current employer in the next two years because of the poor relationship they have with their line manager.

‘Poor manager relationship’ was cited as one of the top reasons employees would consider changing employers in the latest Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, which suggests that “meagre managers are adding to the UK talent drain”.

According to the research, a third of managers are do not coach employees on how to grow in their role, and a quarter fail to accurately evaluate performance in personal development reviews.

The study, which covers more than 32,000 employees, including 1,863 from the UK, suggests that managers also fall short when it comes to communication, with only a third of leaders involving employees in the decisions that affect them.

Although staff recognise the challenges managers face in doing their job – 37 per cent said their manager didn’t have enough time to handle the people aspects of management – managerial failings are having a negative impact on the wellbeing of UK workers.

A lack of support, recognition and feedback from supervisors was cited among the top causes of stress for UK employees in the global study.

When managers were asked the same questions, many said they were not being empowered in their role to deliver effective management.

Twenty-one per cent of managers said they did not find the online tools and resources provided to help them manage direct reports easy to use. Just half of managers said the information they needed to update their team on key organisational changes was readily available to them.

Radha Chakraborty, UK leader, talent management and organisational alignment at Towers Watson, said employers would need to better train and support managers from the top.

“We know from our research and consulting with clients that employers are currently facing huge challenges in retaining high performers and those with critical skills in their workforce. Our findings also show that companies are underestimating how important their immediate team dynamics are in securing the long-term commitment of their employees,” she said.

“Time and resource pressures are an ongoing theme for UK PLC but implementing efficient and clear processes, as well as equipping managers with the right technology, can help them to improve the working environment for their team members,” she added.

The majority of managers surveyed for the global study had less than ten direct reports, and tended to spend the same amount of time with all of their employees.

Chakraborty said managers should prioritise their time and efforts on the best or new hires: “If time is tight, it makes sense from a business point of view to target managerial support towards those individuals who will have the most impact on the bottom line,” she said.

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