Report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and Halogen Software Reveals Frontline Managers Aren’t Given the Leadership Tools to Succeed
Ottawa, ON — June 10, 2014 – A new report released by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR Analytic Services) and Halogen Software reveals low executive confidence in frontline managers’ ability to succeed, despite their critical importance to organizational results. “Frontline Managers: Are They Given the Leadership Tools to Succeed?” published in May, shares findings from a survey of more than 600 global executives regarding their thoughts on the importance and success of frontline managers.
The report findings indicate that most executives don’t believe frontline managers are equipped with the resources to excel in their roles. The majority also share a belief that this lack of frontline leadership development and tools is negatively impacting organizational outcomes.
Key findings reveal:
- Frontline managers are seen as critical to organizational success. On nearly every performance metric, survey respondents said frontline managers play a fundamental role in achieving business priorities such as customer satisfaction and productivity.
- However, investment in leadership development tools and programs is insufficient. Only 12 percent said their organization currently invests sufficiently in the development of frontline managers.
- This lack of development impacts executive outlook on whether or not frontline managers have the leadership competencies necessary to succeed.
- For example, only 33 percent rated frontline managers as competent on business-based decision-making and only 21 percent rated frontline managers as competent on innovative thinking and strategic thinking.
- The outlook appears direr when asked how these factors translate into business performance.
- More than 90 percent believe frontline managers’ lack of leadership development impacts employee engagement results.
- And the vast majority (79 percent) said this development gap is negatively impacting organizational performance.
Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management, and Director, Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, shares insights in the report on why frontline managers are not getting adequate leadership tools and development: “Organizations are failing to offer enough leadership and training to all their managers. To the extent to which they do offer training, it seems to follow a trickle-down model: The most for the top executives, the least to the first-line supervisors.”
Survey sponsor, Halogen Software, asserts that the problem is pronounced, but that organizations leveraging talent management solutions are making great strides in supporting improved frontline manager effectiveness.
“We partnered with HBR Analytic Services on this survey because of a trend we’re seeing among the HR professionals we speak to — they’re stating there is a disconnect between the expectations of their frontline managers as leaders, and the investment in the tools and development to help them get there,” said Donna Ronayne, VP of Marketing and Business Development, Halogen Software. “While the findings prove this disconnect to be true, there are simple best practices and tools available to support managers in honing their leadership skills and driving high performance for their teams.”
Melanie Rydalch, Human Resources Director at Basic American Foods, shares the results of an improved leadership focus for frontline managers at her organization using Halogen Software’s talent management solutions:
“Halogen has taken the best practices in talent management and applied them to their software solutions, delivering great support for our leaders at all levels,” said Rydalch. “By streamlining the talent management process and providing tools that add visibility and accountability, the Halogen suite has helped BAF foster improved communication, coaching, development and, ultimately, employee performance.”