Pre-Covid, we regularly read shocking statements such as poor management and leadership costs the UK economy up to £19bn a year through lost productivity according to research by the department for Business Innovation and Skills. Furthermore, research from the Chartered Management Institute shows that 71% of UK leaders believe that they could do better at training new managers or don’t train them at all. Therefore, it is evident, even before Covid, the UK has been suffering from a management skills crisis. So, how do we compare to the rest of Europe? And has this management skills crisis been exacerbated since Covid?
We also know that we have a productivity crisis in the UK compared to other parts of Europe. British workers are LESS productive than workers in the rest of the G7 economies on average by 20 percentage points. The 2015 UKCES Employer Skills Survey reported that while 58% of employers believe that leadership and management skills are lacking, only 37% of employers were actually investing in management training programmes. Even more worryingly, those who tend to invest are the larger employers rather than the SME’s. SME employees make up the bulk of the UK workforce and also stand to lose or gain the most from productivity improvements.
As I alluded at the start, this information may be old news, but sadly it’s unlikely to be ‘fake news’. Especially in an environment where more and more untrained managers have been thrust into the position of ‘virtual’ manager with little or no basic management training, let alone having had this adapted for remote or hybrid workers.
As we head into Autumn the novelty of continued homeworking with the opportunity to get outside morning and evening to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine is going to dwindle. Pressure on businesses to survive, let alone bounce back is going to translate into pressure on unskilled managers to deliver productivity through their people. These are unchartered territories for many and the risk is that low trust behaviours may prevail. Certainly, micro-management and tracking presenteeism will not increase productivity. I discussed this in my previous Linkedin article on trust and how these behaviours compound the inevitable mental health issues that are already festering in our workforces.
Employers, we need to take our collective heads out of the sand and recognise that our managers need real help. By providing practical training, mentoring, and guidance, you can help them make it through the next six months successfully. Certainly, those managers who have the skills and resourcefulness to support individuals consistently are the lifeblood of our businesses. But are we providing them with their own oxygen masks to put on first? We must remember that we are all human, and even our best managers can become overwhelmed.
I recently wrote a comprehensive e-book about the PERFORM approach to virtual people management which you can download here for free: Virtual People and Performance Management. I have also serialised this into 8 episodes as part of a management short series on the HR Uprising podcast. You can view the playlist here. Please take a look at these materials and share them to help the 70% of managers who have been plunged in at the deep end.
If you would like to take part in or support your line managers in structured virtual training on how to be a remote manager, you may also be interested in our four-module programme on virtual management training. I will be facilitating these sessions, beginning in November 2020, with early bird and bulk discounts available now.
This blog was written by Lucinda Carney, the Founder and CEO of Actus Performance Software. She also hosts the HR Uprising Podcast which is celebrating its 75th episode anniversary with a brand-new short series of 8 podcasts aimed at line managers, providing practical support and guidance on virtual management. These are out every Wednesday and you can subscribe here: Apple; Spotify; Stitcher; Google.
Part of our ethos is to help build a better workplace for people. We achieve this through great performance management software, the HR Uprising Podcast, and a variety of free thought leadership resources. Therefore, if you would like to learn more about this topic, you can find some additional resources below.
We also have a team of organisational development consultants who are on-hand to help meet your needs for culture change. If you would like to find out more about this service, why not get in touch by contacting us here.