Managers failing to set clear objectives, says survey

Managers are not setting employees clear objectives and a significant number give no feedback in performance management sessions, according to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development/Halogen Spring 2015 Employee Outlook survey.

Only 44 per cent of the 2,226 employees polled were set clear objectives, while just under a fifth said their performance was explained in the wider context of contribution to the organisation, even though the majority of employees felt both should be aspects of the performance management process. Some 18 per cent said they received no feedback of any kind at work.

This was the first time the survey included detailed questions about performance management. Employees were keen to have their performance assessed on an individual basis by line managers.

The survey also found that 55% of employees said they would prefer to work in a firm with a “family feel held together by loyalty and tradition”. However, just 26 per cent would currently describe their own employer in this way. Instead, half work in a “formalised and structured place” governed by procedure.

“As a concept, culture can sound nebulous,” said Jessica Cooper, CIPD research associate. “But it is coming to be more and more important to organisations. People are increasingly talking about it and focusing on it.

“You can’t change culture overnight, and to turn it from a concept into something operational is even more difficult. But organisations can start to think about ways in which they can make changes to better suit their talent preferences – and equally, employees should consider moving jobs to have a more satisfying role.”

The CIPD says engagement stood at its highest level (29 per cent) for three years and job satisfaction is up five points year on year. But Cooper cautioned that although these were positive indicators, they did point to a workforce that was “relatively satisfied but not hugely engaged”. The relatively low numbers intending to move jobs meant many might be “sitting it out”, she added, which could point either to an excess of caution as economic growth gradually picks up or a wider shift in the psychological contract between employers and their staff.

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