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People managers are failing

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New report shows struggling people managers need support. Research of 800,000 employees over four years highlights priority development areas.

People managers are failing to properly support, encourage and reward employees, which is having a negative impact on overall engagement. The Manager Report 2012 features views from over 800,000 private sector employees and compares the latest manager scores with 2010 and 2008. Analysing trend data over the last four years enabled the identification of high and low scoring areas. Managers’ performance showed the most dramatic decline in the following areas: Encouraging a healthy work-home life balance 71 percent (down from 81 percent in 2008), showing appreciation for work done 77 percent (down from 84 percent in 2008) and listening to work related concerns 79 percent (down from 85 percent in 2008).

Joanna Swiatek, Business Psychologist at ETS and co-author of the report, comments: “Managers are now juggling heavier workloads with reduced teams, smaller budgets and more challenging targets. But they can’t afford to overlook the people management side of their role as up to eight out of 10 employees leave a job because they don’t feel appreciated. Ultimately, managers themselves need greater support, development and training in order to manage more effectively.”

It isn’t all doom and gloom for managers though as the report shows a couple of notable areas where managers are doing far better than they were in 2008, such as communication. Joanna Swiatek explains why this is so important, saying: “Managers who have regular dialogue with direct reports and set clear job expectations are proven to lead more engaged and better performing teams.” Another area where managers are seemingly doing better is in developing their direct reports. Seventy-nine percent of employees now say that their manager actively supports their development versus just 62 percent in 2008.

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