Organisations need more ‘connector’ managers to succeed

Almost half (45%) of managers lack the confidence to help employees acquire the skills they need, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Managers spend just 9% of their time on developing their direct reports, Gartner found, and 70% of HR executives think they should spend more time coaching their employees.

Gartner’s findings follow another study released earlier this week by Gallup, which found that workers were optimistic about the impact of automation on their jobs but wanted more chances to develop relevant skills.

Millennials in particular crave more support from their line managers, reporting that they want feedback 50% more than any other employees. ‘Connector’ managers – who can connect employees to the right people and resources – are the best at getting the most out of their teams, the company said.

This type of manager boosts employee performance by up to 26%, and their employees are three times as likely to be high performers.

Seven in 10 employees feel they have not mastered the skills they need for their current job, let alone those they will need in the future, said Jaime Roca, senior vice president in Gartner’s HR practice.

“Today’s organisations are undergoing a digital transformation that directly impacts how they do business, and they are finding a significant skills gap within their workforces,” he said.

“Connector managers give targeted coaching and feedback in their areas of expertise, but they recognize that there are skills best taught by people other than themselves,” added Sari Wilde, managing vice president in the HR practice. “Connectors focus on assessing the skills, needs and interests of their employees and they surface the best opportunities for their employees to acquire experience, skills and capabilities – at the time they are needed.”

Gartner found that connector managers have three common qualities: they make a connection with individuals through feedback, coaching and active listening; they build strong team ‘ecosystems’ through understanding what drives and motivates each employee; and they connect to their organisation by “building bridges across and outside the enterprise”.

“The role of the manager in coaching and developing people has rightfully become a high priority for organisations today as they navigate an environment of heightened change and complexity,” added Roca. “Regardless of industry, function or region, Connector managers can increase employee willingness to go above and beyond by up to 38% and can improve employee engagement by up to 40%.”

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