October 21, 2019

Survey Confirms: People Managers Feel Talent Management “Needs Improvement”

Survey Confirms: People Managers Feel Talent Management "Needs Improvement"

Betterworks research, which includes a forward by Josh Bersin, reveals that people managers find their organizations’ talent management wanting in every area…and it’s hurting the business

Betterworks, the leading enterprise HR software for Continuous Performance Management, released the findings of an industry-wide survey of 1,000+ people managers currently working in enterprises with over 500 employees. The report summarizes the troubling state of talent management in their organizations.

The report found that people managers play an outsized role in improving workforce performance through day to day actions that motivate, engage and develop their teams. The managers Betterworks surveyed overwhelmingly expressed that nearly every aspect of talent management within their own organizations has significant room for improvement.

“Becoming a manager is one of the most transformational parts of your career, and for most of us, the transition from ‘doing the job’ to ‘leading and helping others to do the job’ is a big change,” said Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and member of the Betterworks board of directors who wrote the forward of the report. “One of the key parts of this journey is a company’s performance and talent management process, and as this research shows, people managers don’t always feel fully supported. In fact, their performance and talent management practices often get in the way rather than help them.”

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Key insights from the research include:

Managers lack a sense of purpose: Independent research from DDI shows that companies with clear objectives outperform the market by 42%. However, most managers in the Betterworks survey reported experiencing a significant lack of purpose in their organization and serious challenges around organizational alignment.

  • Just one-third of managers were “confident that all employees had a clear understanding of the company’s mission and vision”
  • Just 39% felt their senior leaders lived the stated values

Managers perceive an alarming lack of alignment:

  • 62% admitted their organization did not communicate goals and priorities clearly enough so everyone knew what they were accountable for
  • And a similar percentage did not have a clear understanding of top company priorities for the next 12 months.

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Managers find little value in current performance management processes: Performance programs are supposed to help managers coach their employees, communicate key objectives, and set and manage goals. However, the Betterworks survey found that many managers view their current performance processes as outdated and more of a hindrance than a help.

  • Only 43% of managers are held accountable for developing their people
  • 63% fail to have regular development conversations with their teams
  • 59% of managers and employees “do not perceive their performance management process as valuable.”

Development opportunities for managers are scarce: The research found that management coaching is not expected or encouraged in most organizations.

  • 33% of managers rate their organization’s training and development as average or below
  • 58% of companies still primarily reward people “based on job level or tenure”

Perceptions held by middle and front-line managers are significantly more negative than senior leaders:

  • Just 34% of managers say “all of the employees have a clear understanding of the company’s vision and mission,” as opposed to 49% of senior leaders
  • Only 37% of managers say they are held accountable for developing their people, as opposed to 51% of senior leaders
  • While 39% of senior leaders responded that “in my company, employees do not feel overworked,” only 22% of managers agreed

“Your people managers make or break your organization’s performance; they are where the rubber hits the road,” said Doug Dennerline, chief executive officer at Betterworks. “They need to feel confident that the organization’s talent management processes support their team’s development and supports them as managers. It’s critical that HR gives managers needed training and equip them with the tools they need to be effective at such essential processes as setting and aligning team and individual goals, giving and receiving feedback, and recognizing and developing everyone on their team.”

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