CMI’s Future Forecast survey results make it clear that business leaders recognise the importance of looking inwards and that putting staff back at the heart of their organisations will enhance their chances of a speedy post-recession recovery. Just under half (45 per cent), for example, have pledged to support the development of their team’s skills and 22 per cent also intend to provide ‘more prompt’ support to boost performance.
As well as focusing on staff through skills development, the survey of 1,337 managers found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) have resolved to acknowledge the efforts of their staff and say ‘thank you’ more often. Just under a fifth (18 per cent) also said they will spend more time with their teams.
Commenting on the findings, Ruth Spellman, CMI chief executive, says: “The recent financial crisis has shaken UK organisations to the core. We now know that a combination of reckless capitalism combined with a disregard for the potential consequences of greed – as demonstrated by outlandish bonuses and unrestrained borrowing – helped to fuel the meltdown. It is very encouraging, therefore, to hear that UK managers are enthusiastic about learning lessons from what has passed and putting the development and needs of their employees over and above other considerations.
“By investing in the development of staff through training and development, and acknowledging their achievements, employers have a better chance of taking advantage of the upturn and it is evident that managers are taking this on board. Looking inwards will also help to minimise the potential for a ‘brain drain’, whereby staff feel unappreciated and look elsewhere for employment once the job market improves.”
The results show that there are three key barriers which will make it hard for managers to keep their resolutions for the New Year; lack of time (75 per cent), reduced budgets (42 per cent) and a reduced workforce (33 per cent). To help overcome this, CMI is recommending that employers offer support to managers and emphasise the benefits of focusing inwards, thus motivating them to keep their resolutions despite the tough conditions.
The research also highlights an acceptance among many managers that the start of the new decade will mark a shift in how business models are likely to evolve in the wake of the downturn. More than a third (34 per cent) believe organisations will be more employee-centric, while 23 per cent go one step further and agree that more businesses will become employee-owned.
Ruth Spellman continues: “Although we are on the verge of economic recovery 2010 is likely to be a tough year for managers who face the challenge of leading their organisations under some difficult conditions. Improved levels of employee engagement will be vital to their success. By putting staff back at the heart of business, for 2010 and beyond, employers stand a much better chance of reducing the amount of time it takes their organisations to get back on track.”
David MacLeod, adviser to BIS and co-author of the recent report to Government “Engaging for Success”, said: “Managers depend on their people to deliver the strategy and so should be doing everything they can to inspire, motivate and support them. The year ahead will be challenging- we need to get through the rest of this recession and take advantage of the upturn. Every manager should make it their mission to enhance employee engagement starting by really listening to them; to their ideas for cost savings, revenue enhancements and efficiency improvements.”
In response to the survey, CMI has developed a pool of resources, available at www.managers.org.uk/employeesmatter to help managers better engage with their workforce.