Poor relationship with manager driving employees to change employer 

The 2014 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study revealed that a third of the UK workforce is likely to leave their current employer in the next two years because of the poor relationship they have with their line manager.

The study, which covers more than 32,000 employees, including 1,863 from the UK revealed that managers often struggle to coach employees, and a quarter fail to accurately evaluate performance in personal development reviews. Although individuals surveyed recognised the managers faced certain challenges in carrying out their roles, 37 per cent said their manager didn’t have enough time to handle the people aspects of management and that this was having a negative impact on the wellbeing for UK workers.

However, when managers were asked the same questions, many said they were not being empowered in their role to deliver effective management – with 21 per cent saying they did not find the online tools and resources provided to help them manage direct reports and just half of them said they had access to information required to update team members of key organisational changes. Radha Chakraborty, UK leader, talent management and organisational alignment at Towers Watson said: “Time and resource pressures are an ongoing theme for UK PLC but implementing efficient and clear processes, as well as equipping managers with the right technology, can help them to improve the working environment for their team members.”


The role and future of HR

A recent report by CIPD showed that HR professionals are not developing the right skills to cope with changing operating models. This is despite the fact that almost half of HR departments have been restructured to support a more strategic business approach. Although the role of the HR business partner had become more prevalent in recent years, the latest report suggests the HR professionals need greater specialist skills such as commercial acumen and data analysis to bring value to their organisation. According to the findings, ‘working with the organisation to drive change’ was the most important area for HR to focus on in 2015, but just 76 per cent said that HR understands how the organisation works and how people practices influence the value chain.

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) came up with similar findings in their annual ‘Perspectives on HR’ study, which urged the HR function to think about replacing more established way of managing change with ‘evolving and fluid approaches’.

Embracing HR analytics and capitalising on the data was another challenge mentioned at the HR Directors Business Summit in Birmingham. HR consultancy Mercer spoke of the importance of handling data to prepare for an increasingly disjointed workforce. Charlotte Harding, Human Capital Project Manager at Mercer said: “We know that the future workforce will be highly fragmented, but we don’t know what capacity this workforce will work in, or in what direction organisations will go”. She also mentioned that analysing people data would help employers focus on the roles and skills needed in future, and that this should form part of every HR professional’s strategic workforce planning.

Unemployment rate at its lowest as calls for increase in wages and inclusive prosperity grow

The UK unemployment rate fell to its lowest levels since 2008 with a record 30.9 million in work, and the unemployment rate at 5.7 per cent. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of working women is also at a record high of 14.47 million.

However, despite evidence that the squeeze on wages is gradually improving, the latest CIPD Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report shows that 42 per cent of UK employees received no wage increase in 2014 and almost two-fifths faced pay freezes last year, while 3 per cent of the UK workforce had their pay cut.

As the general election campaign heated up, David Cameron called on businesses to boost worker pay to make sure that “economic success [is not just] shown in the GDP figures or on the balance sheets of British businesses, but in people’s pay packets and bank accounts and lifestyles.” Labour leader Ed Miliband also called for “fairer distribution of wealth” to boost UK productivity levels. But, Gerwyn Davies, labour market analyst for the CIPD said: “the role for government is not to cajole business into giving more generous pay awards on the back of stronger economic growth and lower costs, but to understand the levers that can help more firms increase their workplace productivity and move up the quality chain.”