I’ve written here before that middle managers are the tip of the spear, organizationally speaking, for everything. Productivity? Check. Change management? Check. Communication? Check. Culture? Check. Engagement? Check. Talent development? Check. Retention/turnover? Check. Everything.
I ran across a good little white paper from Grovo, a workplace learning company, that underscores this point, yet again. Good Manager, Bad Manager: New research on the modern management deficit and how to train your way out of it, is a quick read and reminds us yet again that training middle management might be the most critical item on your training and development agenda.
“Management isn’t like riding a bike, where you learn it once and you’re set for life.”
This opening statement frames the discussion in this paper which reports that 99% of companies do offer some sort of management training and 93% of middle managers frequently attend it. These statistics notwithstanding, Grove has found that this training is deficient in three key ways:
- Not comprehensive: 98% of middle managers believe that the managers in the organization need more training
- Not timely: 87% of middle managers wish they had received more training when they first became a manager
- Not habitual: 61% of managers report that training is offered only a few times each year and 11% report training being offered only once a year.
Grove has survey data that suggests that 98% of managers believe that key performance metrics would improve if managers were trained to be effective more quickly:
With $15 billion spent by U.S. organizations every year on leadership development, it seems we could really ramp up the ROI on that investment by getting to new leaders faster, with more frequent and engaging training. Looking at it another, way, Michelle McQuaid predicts that better, more capable middle managers can save organizations $360 billion annually in productivity increases.
This report is full of gold as you plan your 2017 training/development activities and budget. I’d encourage you to take a look. Maybe you can capture some of the $360 billion in productivity increases in your organization while you sharpen the tip of your spear.
Every year, the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report is a treasure trove of insight into organization behavior and opportunities for success. You can go back to it multiple times and get something new each time. This is true for the 2016 report as it was for previous reports.
I was re-reading the chapter on Learning: Employees Take Charge, and was taken, again, with the evaluation of where organizations are today and where they will have to be in the short term in order to attract, retain and deploy the talent they need.
This chart says it all, and should be required reading – not just for HR, but all leaders who hope to hang on to their team long enough to develop them!
Deloitte believes that the C-suite really does understand that in order to execute their business plans they need to constantly upgrade skills and focus on quickly developing leaders. I wish I had their faith in the C-suite!
This chapter in the larger trends reports ends with recommended starting points for organizations:
- Recognize that employee-learners are in the driver’s seat
- Become comfortable with the shift from push to pull
- Use design thinking
- Use technology to drive employee-centric learning
- Realign and reengage
- Adopt a learning architecture that supports an expanded vision for development
- Adopt a learning architecture that supports continuous learning
If you haven’t downloaded the full report yet, do it now. You don’t have to read the whole thing in one sitting. Take it in bite sized pieces. You’ll be glad you did.
A recent survey by the College for America, “The 2014 Workplace Strategies Survey”, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, reveals that employers prefer developing employees to hiring new ones by a 2:1 margin. A smart and cost-effective talent management strategy to be sure. But preferring to promote and being able to promote are two quite different things – as this study points out.
73% of survey respondents stated that for low-level team leader positions and middle management roles, developing current employees’ skills (vs. hiring new) best reflected their company’s talent strategies. For senior management and executive roles, 67% of respondents reported that developing the skills of current employees (vs. hiring new) best reflected their company’s talent strategies. The results are clear, companies want to promote from within! The College of America’s survey sourced information from 400 senior business leaders responsible for HR and/or administration at companies of 500+ employees, between December 6th and 16th 2013.
Though these employers prefer promotion to new hiring, the data show that developing leadership skills and addressing skill gaps remain significant issues to overcome. When asked about the challenges faced when developing employees, 94% of respondents reported that the need to build talent and leadership was a very or somewhat important challenge; 87% reported that employees missing skills for promotion was a very or somewhat important challenge; and 85% reported that finding well qualified candidates was a very or somewhat important challenge. The survey also shows that companies with 50% or more full time employees were hit harder by the skills gap than companies with 50% of more part time employees. “Heavily full-time” organizations reported that the three biggest challenges their organizations faced were: talent and leadership, qualified applicants, and employees having the right skills for promotion. Companies with 50% or more part time employees reported their top three challenges as: talent and leadership, retaining workers, and having sufficiently engaged employees.
The good news though, is that many organizations are instituting employee development programs, and a high percentage of organizations are offering tuition reimbursement. The College for America’s survey reports that 76% of organizations offer tuition reimbursement to employees to help them pursue a college degree. With this, 79% of organizations report that tuition reimbursement is available to the majority of employees (executives, senior level managers, supervisors and middle managers, and workers without a college degree). So the beginning step of making degree programs affordable for workers of all levels is being offered by a majority of employers. The next steps of supporting degree completion and further supporting internal mobility are next if employers will truly be able to meet their strategic plan to promote from within rather than buying new talent in the open market.