From deploying complex technology tools to streamlining communication, today’s organizations are doing everything in their power to increase efficiency. But a new survey found that one of the most overlooked areas of inefficiency isn’t a lone process or product; it’s an organization’s managers.To better identify today’s managers’ biggest inefficiencies and pain points, business and technology consulting firm West Monroe surveyed 500 U.S. managers. Overall, our firm found management is more complicated than executives might think. In fact, managing people ranked the second most common workplace stressor, and 44% of managers say they feel overwhelmed at work.
But what’s behind this pressure? According to the survey, the majority of managers claim that one reason for their stress is that they are too busy with administrative tasks to appropriately manage their team. This signals that there may be a disconnect between how much executives and HR leaders perceive to be on managers’ plates and how much is actually there. It’s true that some administrative tasks will always be a part of a manager’s day-to-day role, but the amount of time this actually takes up is potentially cause for alarm.
Based on the survey results, one reason managers are overwhelmed could be a lack of sufficient managerial training. Among managers who oversee 1-2 people, 59% received no managerial training at all, along with 41% of those who oversee 3 to 5 people.
Because many organizations have no official managerial training in place, new managers are left to imitate the managerial styles of their previous bosses (whether that style was the best method or not). Our survey found that 42% of new managers formed their management style from observing their previous managers, rather than training on how to motivate and lead teams in your organization.
Though HR leaders frequently deploy intensive training programs when an employee first starts at their company, the amount of training dwindles as these employees move up the ranks. Many of today’s organizations assume that management skills come naturally as an employee grows in their respective field. However, these leadership skills are often completely unrelated to a new manager’s previous day-to-day tasks, making training a necessity.
Additionally, repetitive administrative tasks are weighing down managers’ productivity. While many organizations have turned to automation technology to help free up managers’ time, whether through systems or robotic process automation, our study found that this still doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. 65% of companies have adopted some form of automation technology, yet 24% of managers at these organizations still waste five or more hours daily on administrative tasks like sending repetitive emails and filing expense reports.
The ineffectiveness of automation in many of today’s organizations isn’t a result of the tools themselves. Instead, it reflects how — or whether — organizations are teaching employees about them. Our survey found that 44% of managers have received no training on automation tools. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that there is a disconnect between the implementation of automation tools and a nuanced understanding of this technology across employees.