Workers feel trapped by “rigid” workplaces, ILM finds


More than half of UK workers feel trapped by the rigid structure of their workplace, according to a survey by ILM.

Workplace structure is so restrictive for more than half (53%) of respondents that they are considering moving jobs unless the organisation changes, ILM found.

ILM’s research revealed that 74% of respondents would like more freedom at work, while 34% felt the workplace structure was too regulated and controlled.

When asked how they would change the company culture, around a third (34%) said they would like more freedom and flexibility, and 32% said they’d like to see more innovation and creativity.

The ILM has come up with a manifesto, “Addressing the leadership lag“, which details how creating more flexible cultures can help to build a strong pipeline of future leaders and managers.

It says: “Rigid structures, siloed working and overly complex hierarchies are deeply unpopular amongst today’s workers….Flattening organisational structures and creating environments people really want to work in is crucial to achieving engagement and improved productivity.”

John Yates, group director at ILM, said the survey echoed these sentiments: “Rigid structures, siloed working and overly complex hierarchies are things of the workplace past.

“People today want to work at flexible, fun and friendly organisations – and those who can deliver on that always have an edge in recruitment.

“Organisations need to be flexible, allowing employees to pursue career ambitions and manage conflicting home life pressures as much as possible, and encourage creativity – injecting passion and new ideas into the workplace.”

The survey also revealed how workers value having more input in the business – two-thirds said they would like a greater say in their business, while 64% felt they needed a better understanding of where they fit in.

Only a quarter of employees surveyed said their manager “definitely fosters collaboration”.

Yates added: “Rather than decisions being made at the top (the ramifications of which are cascaded among workers whether they like it or not), forward-thinking organisations are engaging employees at each stage to generate ideas and ensure buy-in from the start.

“The result is a more passionate and dedicated workforce, that is aligned with the company’s vision and objectives.”

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