Middle managers unrecognised in addressing talent challenges: report

It's no longer just HR professionals who could fix these problems

Middle managers unrecognised in addressing talent challenges: report

Middle managers may have a bigger role to play in addressing retention and skills gaps within organisations - but they're not being fully recognised by those on top.

These are the findings of Beamery's latest report, which surveyed members of the C-suite and people managers of large businesses in the United States.

The report found that managers want to be more involved with their teams. In fact, 48% of managers said they see "relationship management" as a must-have skill for them. They also cited the following tasks as the most important parts of their job:

  • Strategic planning (42%)
  • Providing individual feedback and coaching (41%)
  • Improving work quality (40%)
  • Building relationships (30%)

Majority of managers (80%) added they are capable of recognising skills gaps in their teams, acknowledging that they also need to completely understand their team members' unique strengths and skills.

However, these managers pointed out that they are unable to focus on people-related management tasks as 36% of their time is spent on "completing HR activities."

More than a quarter (27%) added that they don't have a complete understanding of their team members' unique strengths and skills, while another 27% said they don't have the right programmes in place to upskill and reskill their team.

Unrecognised by C-suite

The lack of support for middle managers may stem from the lack of recognition from members of the C-suite.

According to the report, only nine per cent of C-suite members believe that front-line managers have the responsibility to ensure top talent is retained. Majority of them (58%) still believe that HR is primarily in charge of this task.

The report underscored that organisations need to see the "bigger picture" and recognise that managers are essential for understanding and developing talent.

"What separates great companies from average companies? Often, it's an understanding that growth, progression, and productivity are not the sole remit of HR, but the responsibility of middle managers," said Abakar Saidov, Co-Founder and CEO of Beamery, in a statement.

"Investing in and empowering managers is a crucial strategy for businesses looking to overcome talent challenges - not just at the top, but everywhere in the organisation."

The findings come as recent research indicate that upskilling and reskilling talent will be crucial for retention.

But Saidov noted that people managers "don't have the bandwidth to dedicate sufficient time to team development and upskilling."

"Technology that supports managers by automating manual tasks and surfacing insights around employee skills and potential career paths can be a crucial investment for businesses looking to improve talent development," Saidov said.

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