Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Managers out of touch with employees

Two recent surveys have shown how managers are out of touch with their employees. The first was carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and found that too many managers have an inflated opinion of their ability to manage people. Eight out of ten managers say they think their staff are satisfied or very satisfied with them as a manager whereas just 58% of employees report this is the case.

This 'reality gap' matters as the survey finds a very clear link between employees who say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their manager and those that are engaged - i.e. willing to go the extra mile for their employer. The CIPD research found a significant contrast between how managers say they manage their people and the views of their employees:

 • Six in ten (61%) of managers claim they meet each person they manage at least twice a month to talk about their workload, meeting objectives and other work-related issues. However, just 24% of employees say they meet their managers with such frequency.
 • More than 90% of managers say they sometimes or always coach the people they manage when they meet, while only 40% of employees agree.
 • Three quarters (75%) of managers say they always/sometimes discuss employees' development and career progression during one to ones, but just 38% of employees say this happens.
 • There are similar gaps in views between managers and employees on how often managers: joint problem solve with employees; discuss ideas employees might have to improve the business and; discuss employees' wellbeing.

 Given this mismatch, it’s not surprising to find that employees are disengaged and have little respect for their management. The second survey was carried out by hyphen, the recruitment solutions provider, and showed that there is a clear discrepancy of attitudes to social media between young and older workers. The research finds that the use of online networking sites such as LinkedIn while at work is now an expected norm for younger people. Nearly two thirds (58.7%) of 'Generation Facebook' believe that having access to social networking tools at work actually increases their effectiveness as an employee.

 However, many mangers still don’t trust employees to use social media at work. They assume that people will spend hours chatting to their friends, wasting company time. But the poll of 1000 workers showed that close to a third (31.3%) didn't spend any time dealing with personal matters in their work time, which increased incrementally with age. Indeed, over half (55.1%) of the workforce spend less than 10 minutes a day on their personal affairs. This suggests employer concerns over employees wasting time on social networking sites could be ill - founded.

Managers who are out of touch with the younger employees are going to miss out on recruiting and engaging the best talent. If they are not able to adapt their working practices to reflect the values of the Facebook Generation it will reflect in the quality of their workforce and ultimately in the effectiveness of their business.

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