A new report from the Institute for Employment Studies outlines how HR needs to do more to support line managers – and not just in the form of providing additional training.
HR needs to metaphorically ‘hug and not squeeze’ line managers if organisations want to lower health-related sickness absence and stimulate productivity growth, according to a new report.
The Squeezed Middle: Why we should be hugging and not squeezing line managers from the Institute for Employment Studies says that line managers are under increased work-related pressure from a number of directions and need better support. It highlights that:
Research by the CIPD has suggested that 40 per cent of organisations reported inadequate lack of training of line managers and 26 per cent of organisations do not prioritise line management training.
But report author Dr Zofia Bajorek argues that rectifying this ‘training gap’ is not going solve the problem. “There is still an increased bandwidth of tasks and this reduction in both time and support to complete them can lead to managers feeling ‘dumped upon’.
“As a quick fix, line managers may just complete measurable outcomes, letting the more complex and time consuming ‘people management’ duties fall to the wayside.”
Recent research has suggested that employees managed by line managers with poor physical and psychological health also reported having poor health. The IES research says that equipping line managers with the skills to cope with their stress and workload is also important for improving the productivity and wellbeing of the employees who report to them.
Dr Bajorek added: “Organisations need to recognise that ‘good line management’ matters – and how employees are managed is crucial to organisational success.
“More thought may need to be given into how line managers are recruited or promoted (taking into account both personal and technical competencies); employers need to be very clear about good line management skills, what good behaviour in the organisation should look like, and provide appropriate support to managers to obtain these.”