Thursday, 14 March 2024 21:48

If Managers were Better

Whilst we really enjoy the people development side of our business, as a provider of HR support services, we’re always happy to help out businesses that need advice or guidance with sticky people problems or issues. It’s accounts for quite a lot of our business. However, in over 23 years of providing our services, it’s fair to say that whilst the people change, the same issues seem to re-occur time after time.

In our experience, many of the HR issues that businesses face are really quite unnecessary and simply stem from a lack of proactive and effective management. These challenges, often costly and disruptive, could be significantly mitigated if managers were to embrace their duties more diligently, particularly when it comes to engaging in difficult conversations with staff and conducting regular, meaningful appraisals and feedback meetings.

We don’t have statistics, but just as the ONS puts a figure on the cost to the UK economy of employee sickness absence, there is probably an equally shocking number that could be recorded for the cost to business of avoiding tough conversations and neglecting regular feedback sessions. Both of which can lead to a plethora of HR issues, including unresolved conflicts, declining employee morale, and decreased productivity.

For instance, avoiding difficult conversations can allow minor grievances or misunderstandings to escalate into major conflicts, requiring HR intervention and potentially leading to legal disputes. Similarly, infrequent or ineffective appraisals can leave employees feeling undervalued and unclear about their performance expectations, contributing to a decline in motivation and work quality.

Such lapses in management can erode the organisational culture and lead to high staff turnover rates. Not only disruptive in itself, this in turn can also incur significant costs in terms of recruitment, onboarding, and training new staff. The financial implications are substantial, but the intangible costs, such as the loss of institutional knowledge and decreased employee engagement, can be even more detrimental in the long run.

One of the most critical skills a manager can possess is the ability to communicate effectively, especially when it comes to providing constructive feedback and addressing issues head-on. Regular and honest communication can prevent many problems from escalating, saving the organization considerable time and resources.

By encouraging an open and transparent dialogue, managers can help to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and understood. This not only enhances individual performance but also contributes to the overall success of the organisation.

Regular appraisals and feedback sessions are not merely administrative exercises; they are opportunities for growth and development, both for employees and the business. These sessions allow managers to acknowledge achievements, address concerns, and set clear expectations for the future. They also provide employees with a platform to voice their aspirations and challenges, contributing to a more engaged and motivated workforce. By actively participating in this process, managers can identify potential issues early on and work collaboratively with their team to find solutions.

To overcome common HR challenges, organisations must reflect and establish if managers are given the right resources to truly deliver their people management responsibilities. For example, does the task element of their role equate to full time work and are they trying to squeeze their people management duties in.

The company leaders need to authentically invest in training and development programs that equip managers with the necessary skills to carry out their duties effectively. This includes training in leadership, communication, conflict resolution, and performance management. Furthermore, business should work towards a culture that values and rewards effective management practices, encouraging managers to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities.

The role of managers in preventing and addressing common HR issues cannot be overstated. A properly trained and equipped manager should be the first line of defence in people issues. Having to escalate problems further up the chain of command or to the HR department because they haven’t been dealt with properly first time should be seen as failure. By committing to higher standards of performance in managerial duties, businesses can create a more engaged, productive, and harmonious workplace.

This commitment not only mitigates costly HR challenges but also sets the foundation for sustainable growth and success. In the end, the investment in elevating managerial performance is an investment in the future prosperity of the organisation, demonstrating that effective management is not just about avoiding issues but about unlocking the full potential of the workforce.

If you’re not already putting your managers through effective development programmes so they can be held to account for their managerial responsibilities, then you should be talking to us. A people planning meeting will help to identify where your team’s training needs are and enable you to create a fully structured training plan. Call us on 01452 331331 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 435 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 March 2024 22:07


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  





We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.