Survey finds one in four managers has never had management training

13th December by Lee Robertson

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The leadership qualities of managers are crucial to how employees ultimately perform and engage with work, yet a recent poll from digital learning provider Digits, reveals that over a quarter of those who manage or supervise other people have never been formally trained to do so.

Digits polled 1,031 UK workers to find out more about the management training provision employers are making. Of those polled, slightly more than half said that they had management responsibilities. While 26 per cent had never received official management training, two fifths (39 per cent) had had training on promotion to manager positions. Just over a third (35 per cent) were in receipt of regular management development.

Managers with just one direct report are the least likely to have received training. Those who manage teams of ten or more people were 50 per cent more likely to receive training than those with between one and five direct reports. That leaves around one in seven managers reportedly trying to manage large teams of ten or more people with no management training at all.

Management training improves job satisfaction and retention rates

The survey also revealed that the managers who do receive regular training were more inclined to be satisfied in their roles and were likely to stay with their employer. 77 per cent of them said they liked or loved their job compared to just over half (54 per cent) of managers who had had no training. 38 per cent of managers with no formal training admitted to plans to change their employer in the next 12 months compared to 28 per cent of managers who were given regular training.

Evidence of gender gap in management training provision

In addition, the survey found that men received more regular training than women (38 per cent versus 32 per cent). Further disparity was found when 21 per cent of male managers compared to 32 per cent of female managers stated that they had received no management skills development. This is compounded further with the analysis of data taken from full-time workers. Women were found to be 38 per cent more likely not to have received training in contrast to 21 per cent of their full-time male counterparts. Part-time managers were also less likely to receive regular training than full-time managers (27 per cent compared to 36 per cent).

New managers not getting the time to manage teams effectively

52 per cent of managers stated that on promotion to a management role, their workload was not reduced to allow sufficient time to manage their team properly. The gender gap is echoed with slightly more female managers than male managers reporting no drop in workload pressures.

On reviewing the poll’s findings, Karen Smart, head of consultancy said: “The quality of managers and team leaders is central factor in an organisation’s long-term success. Management development has to be a priority for HR and employers because poor communication, bad team management and mistrust are far reaching and can be damaging to individual and team performance and ultimately the organisation’s bottom line.”

Karen continued: “Employers need to be routinely investing in their people, so they are building capacity, resilience and capability in their managers. Simply hiring for skills and experience runs the risk of weakening your talent pool. For example, we know from the CIPD that 80 per cent of businesses expect their managers to have coaching skills, however Deloitte tells us that less than 20 per cent of organisations provide training in how to coach. Accidental managers, micromanagement and a command-and-control style of managing teams are all examples of bad practice, but management training with the right content like coaching skills, pays dividends when it comes to developing a workplace culture that has high engagement and high performance.”