People skills the only way to keep talent

HR has to train line managers in people management skills if firms want to
retain their best employees, claimed Cary Cooper, professor of organisational
psychology and health at UMIST.

Bad management is a key reason for sickness absence and a lack of job satisfaction
among staff, delegates heard.

"The relationship that employees have with their boss is fundamental to
their well-being. But bosses manage with punishment and not reward and praise
because they do not know how to," Cooper said.

"The relationship and management style of the boss is critical to job
satisfaction. Bosses should balance effective punishment and reward like a
parent would do to a child – but they do not."

Cooper urged delegates to change the work culture in the UK and embrace
work-life balance and family friendly policies to improve job satisfaction.

Despite many companies having work-life balance policies, British staff
still work the longest hours in the whole of Europe.

Cooper blamed low take up of these schemes and said it was mainly women that
opted for a work-life balance because doing this was seen by men as a
"wimp’s" option. This is despite all levels of staff admitting that
working long hours was destroying their home life, he said.

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