Businesses held back by lack of management skills

Almost one employer in five (18%) expects staff to receive training prior to promotion to management positions, despite the majority of employers (93%) believing that low levels of management skills are harming their business.

This is according to research by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), which also found that 43% of businesses do not have a talent plan in place to ensure a future supply of managers.

Nearly half (47%) of employers said that the key barrier to ensuring an effective pipeline of leaders through the organisation was a lack of internal staff capability.

The ILM’s recommendations for improving the talent pipeline

  • Create a talent plan to develop essential skills before employees are promoted to management positions.
  • Develop the right skills (communication, people management and planning).
  • Consider personal qualities, such as emotional intelligence, ability to inspire, creativity and innovation.
  • Technical skills matter but should not be over-valued.

However, the ILM’s report “The leadership and management talent pipeline” warns that, because of a lack of succession planning, employers are failing to capitalise on internal talent and are having to rely on “expensive and risky” external recruitment instead.

According to the research, which gathered responses from 750 managers with responsibility for talent management, only 55% of businesses recruit from their internal talent pool for managerial positions, falling to 50% for senior management roles.

Charles Elvin, chief executive of the ILM, said: “The clear link between management and leadership capability and productivity means that organisations should be fully focused on developing managers not just for their current role, but for the future goal of their organisation.

“Developing leadership capability at all levels enables organisations to promote from within instead of relying on external recruitment, which can be expensive and risky. Businesses with strong internal talent plans can also reap the benefits of improved company culture and employee loyalty.”

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