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Frontline managers are being ignored

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Supervisors and managers are key players when it comes to developing younger employees, but what happens when these managers aren’t given the relevant training to help their direct reports grow?

According to a report conducted jointly by Halogen Software and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, only 12% of frontline managers stated their organisations currently invest sufficiently in the development of frontline managers.

This statistic is even more surprising considering 77% of employees worldwide stated frontline managers are important in helping their organisations reach their business goals.

Nine out of 10 respondents also said they believed frontline managers’ lack of leadership development impacts employee engagement results.

In addition, 79% highlighted the lack of frontline leadership tools, training and development negatively impacts their firm’s performance “moderately” or “substantively”.

“We expect frontline workers to do lots of complicated things as well as work hard for the employer, typically in contexts where we cannot easily monitor their performance,” Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor professor of management and director, Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said.

“If we undervalue and under-invest in those areas, we pay a price.”

Despite their importance, the survey showed a chasm between frontline manager responsibility and effectiveness.

Frontline managers received mixed reviews on some of the most critical aspects of their jobs, which included leadership competencies such as strategic and innovative thinking, developing talent, and inspirational leadership.

Close to three out of 10 respondents stated their frontline managers were competent in business-based decision making.

When it came to being organisational-savvy, only 27% of those polled stated their frontline managers were competent.

Conducted during February 2014, the survey polled respondents at organisations with more than 100 employees to answer 10 questions. The survey achieved a total of 610 respondents, 16% of which were in Asia Pacific.

Image: Shutterstock

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