People Management and Identifying Alternative Pathways
1 in 2 people have resigned from a role due to poor management at some point in their career.
Management, alongside leadership, is crucial in retaining staff. No wonder then, that HR professionals were more keen than ever to attend our most recent roundtable which aimed to highlight key solutions to the problems: How do you successfully train managers and create alternative pathways for others?
Discussions started with a clarification on differences between managers and leaders; managers facilitate the growth and development of others through day to day encouragement and performance management. On the other hand, leaders provide a more strategic play in an organisation and often provide advice or mentorship in different ways.
It was also laid out early in proceedings that the importance of multiple career pathways was just as important for the growth, happiness, and continual productivity of top performers as it was for those under management. Indeed, Gallup reported that only 32% of managers enjoyed management and that companies with specific requirements for management are said to have improved productivity by 48%. Those who find day to day management unnatural or unfulfilling are unlikely to remain at their previous performance level, however, allowing them to progress in a different lens, viewing their progression as more general leadership, should provide the recognition both in title, their reputation in the company and compensation they deserve without compromising their performance and personal career goals.
Setting out clear blueprints for the company with management and alternative career paths, and having visible figureheads from both pathways for new joiners and junior employees will facilitate that culture shift where management is no longer the natural, or indeed only, step for progression. The expectation from here is that people will be more honest around areas of management and leadership they do enjoy, or would like to improve so that when the time arises, their skills can be effectively considered by their managers and People functions.
With this, one attendee highlighted their creative solution to the problems depicted where they distribute management duties across the senior employees depending on the goals and strengths of individuals. For example, one may be a strong communicator with difficult decisions around performance or salary, but not necessarily be the go to figurehead for cultural concerns. Therefore, categorising management staff was an effective method of utilising strengths of different employees and allowing more focused monitoring to pinpoint areas of growing concern where necessary.
In addition, the professionals in attendance frequently shared their personal stories of burnout and time limitations as they had to manage more frequent employee relations cases for incompetent managers. It was admitted by many that perhaps they are too quick to jump in and ‘rescue’ situations, as opposed to guiding and advising managers so that they can deal with future conversations or situations without as much hand holding from HR, freeing up time for other People duties and also mitigating situations before they escalate.
A number of professionals mentioned their success with mentorships programmes in identifying future leaders and areas of weakness in individuals which can therefore be trained before they undertook management responsibilities. Indeed, our roundtable on mentorship – which you can find on our website – highlighted the monitoring and tracking possibilities these programmes can provide whereby employees can use the schemes to demonstrate their management qualities and desires and also be used as a barometer for areas they may need further training on. On this particular discussion point, there was perhaps the most cohesive agreement from the HR community that identifying and training managers isn’t and cannot be a single task. Rather, as organisations and employees grow they need continual training and development on how to handle or communicate certain issues and so the need for structured training programmes alongside ad hoc initiatives was crucial for reducing the impact of poor management in the future.
There is little surprise then that each point of frustration was met with empathy. The data insights alone convey the scale and impact of poor management on company retention and productivity. Identifying future people managers as early as possible and providing ongoing training whilst sharing genuine alternative pathways will be crucial in driving a change in the current standard of management.
As ever, thank you to everyone who attended and shared invaluable insights in this discussion.
Our next Roundtable will be hosted on Thursday November 2nd around Onboarding and will discuss the merits of claiming onboarding as part of either Recruitment and core HR functions and also look at whether it is more effective to develop a consistent programme company-wide, or encourage individuality in the process.