UK businesses fail to improve management practises in more than a decade – report

The UK government is being urged to get behind innovation in workplace management, to help make businesses competitive.

The overall quality of management in UK business has failed to improve in more than a decade, trailing behind the USA, Germany and other productivity leaders, according to a new report.

In 2003 a government-commissioned report identified quality of management as an important determinant of economic performance. This year HR lobbying group the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) looked at how people management practises have changed since then, looking for evidence of improvement over the last decade.

It found UK businesses still sorely lacking in several areas, such as inconsistently applied management processes and a lack of trust in senior leadership.

While 65% of employees are generally satisfied with their line manager, and largely trust them and value their honesty, only 33% say they trust their senior management

There is also room for improvement in the amount of time managers are spending with their direct reports and the quality of coaching and career development advice they provide.

1 in 5 say they have never had a formal meeting with their manager, and less than 5% of manager’s time is spent in informal or formal discussions with the individuals they are managing about work issues. Only hald of employees are satisfied with the amount of time their managers spend with them.

And management strategies has had a direct affect on companies’ performance- organisations where trust between employees and managers were low were more likely to be weakened by the recession.

Though the solutions to these problems are deep-rooted and largely down to organisations, says the CIPD, the organisation is urging the government to consider ways in which it can raise awareness of the challenges and potential approaches to tackling them.

The CIPD research shows that anywhere between 30 to 45% of employees have some type of managerial responsibility, so small improvements in the performance of each manager make a difference.

‘There are small steps that businesses can take to address this, by putting high-performance policies and practices in place and by ensuring that individuals get the training they need to be effective managers,’ said Mark Beatson, CIPD chief economist. ‘Employers should also consider providing alternative routes to higher status and more pay that don’t necessarily involve management responsibility, as some employees may be more valuable in a position making full use of their technical skills than they are in a management role.’

‘This would reinforce the message that management is a skill in its own right, not something that comes with a promotion. There is also evidence that managers themselves don’t always spend enough time on their own development.  Given its importance for both our productivity and well-being, we need to raise the performance of our managers across the board.’

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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