When we are talking to IPA members and clients who come to us needing support to develop employee engagement programmes in their organisations, we often discuss the importance of line and middle managers as either facilitators or, potentially, blockers of change.  It was reassuring then to find that UK organisations have identified up-skilling this group of employees as one of their top three challenges.

Our “Pulse Checker” survey which ran in the four weeks up to 19th December last year, asked respondents, who were human resource managers, directors and chief executives of organisations in both the public and private sectors, to indicate the top three challenges they are currently facing.  Across both sectors, “up-skilling line managers” featured in the top three challenges for 70 per cent of respondents, with “implementing organisational change” a close second with 65 per cent.   “Strengthening the leadership team” featured in the top three challenges of 30 per cent of organisations.

There was little difference between the public and private sectors – both identified the same top two challenges, but whilst “strengthening the leadership team” was an important challenge for 30 per cent of private and public sector respondents overall, “improving working relationships” scored higher in the private sector with 35 per cent putting this in their top three

IPA director and co-chair of Engaging for Success, Nita Clarke said of the survey results: “it is encouraging that organisations are recognising the importance of enhancing the skills of both their line and senior managers.  Engaging for Success, my review of employee engagement with David MacLeod, clearly showed that engaging managers are one of the four key enablers of employee engagement - alongside a strong and empowering leadership team.  For organisations undergoing change – which let’s face it, in current times is all organisations – investment in both is likely to pay dividends in delivering transformation.

However, the survey also found that over half of the organisations participating did not feel they had the internal resources to meet these challenges.  For Derek Luckhurst, IPA’s training and development director this vindicates the IPA’s continuing focus on developing training and consultancy programmes focussed on the four key enablers of engagement and designed to help deliver real organisational change.   Derek explains: “in addition to training and development for middle managers and senior leadership teams, we also have a successful track record of training employee representatives to deliver a robust and informed employee voice.  Supplementing this, we have recently launched a coaching and mentoring programme for leaders and managers, and training to equip them with the skills to coach their own teams.”

For more information about the IPA’s training and development services, please contact[email protected] or call on 020 7759 1000.