The HR Challenge: Managing the Managers

According to research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) the top HR challenge has five critical areas of focus for HR leaders:

Developing Managers 28%
Recruiting 26%
Engaging Employees 25%
Changing Organizational Culture 22%
Developing Employees 21%

For the first time in the study’s history, changing organizational culture is a top five priority.   With the complexities that HR leaders face, they also rank themselves least effective in the areas of employee and manager development.

Regardless of company size or industry these top focus areas are consistent themes we hear from our clients. History tells us the number one predictor of employee retention is directly associated with the relationship they have with their boss. This makes it no surprise that developing managers is the top priority for HR leaders.

In the same study, only 42% of managers ranked themselves as “effective” at employee development even though they spend nearly 20% of their time developing direct reports.  Too often senior leaders have competing priorities: maximizing shareholder wealth, growing market share, satisfying internal stakeholders, satisfying clients and then employee development. If these priorities are misaligned, then you have disengaged employees and the results can be disastrous to an organization if not caught in time.

What can be done to address managerial effectiveness?

These 5 areas identified by CEB are a good start:

  • Assess Current Capabilities of Managers
  • Improve Manager Effectiveness at Coaching
  • Build Critical Coaching Skills
  • Build an Integrated Leadership Development Strategy
  • Get Employees to Own Their Development

At the end of the day, organizations must be committed to make serious change and that starts at the very top. It does not happen overnight but with patience and perseverance lasting results will be seen.

As Simon Sinek, author best known for “Start With Why”, profoundly states “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

I’m curious to hear your company’s top priorities for 2017 and I always welcome your feedback on what is working within your organization.

My next post will focus on helping organizations become more effective in recruiting.

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