In Part 1 of our take on the CIPD’s Autumn 2015 Employee Outlook Survey, we looked at the current decline of employee satisfaction with managers. Here’s another factor to consider, and some suggestions on how businesses can combat this potentially damaging trend.

Mind the (age) gap

The Employee Outlook survey shows that the 18-24 age group are also the most likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs, and to state that they feel unable to achieve their career goals in their current position. The reason behind this may be found in the 2015 Deloitte UK Human Capital Trends Report. The study found that only 6% of UK companies have good training systems in place for young managers, meaning that training for Millennials is a key concern, especially since approximately 4 million Baby Boomers are retiring annually. Clearly, training at graduate or graduate-equivalent level is absolutely essential if businesses are to retain millennial talent, and secure their leadership pipelines for the future.

Conversely, younger employees are far less likely to be dissatisfied with their managers than employees of 45 and above. Age differences are undoubtedly important when it comes to choosing the appropriate training and development solutions for your employees.

What can businesses do?

It seems clear that there is a capability gap when it comes to UK managers, which needs fixing before it leads to a more adverse effect on business success. The best way to combat a lack of leadership skills is to ensure all managers are properly and thoroughly trained for their roles. But what is the best way to do that? Will the cost be worth it?

Businesses could consider taking a leaf out of First TransPennine Express’ book. The company has seen a 26% increase in engagement in their most challenging group of employees following their decision to offer leadership training to every member of their staff, from senior managers to frontline service personnel. This may seem like a disproportionate response, but leadership behaviours are necessary in any role, whether you have line management of others or not. The increased self-awareness, sense of being valued and confidence in skills have clearly all been extremely beneficial to staff at FTPE.

Of course, as a large, national company, FTPE have a significant advantage in terms of resources; what can SMEs do to ensure their managers are trained to the best possible level? For forward-thinking, people-focused SMEs willing to invest in their employees, another option is outsourcing training to a dedicated organisation.

Whichever route your company chooses, your people are the backbone of your business, and one of the most valuable assets you could invest in.

Help them to develop, and you could be one of the companies swimming against the current, with engaged employees who have a good relationship with their managers.

Written by Florence Sturt-Hammond