As economy picks up, change management is greatest employment challenge

As economy picks up, implementing change is greatest management challenge in coming year

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the unemployment has fallen to 7.6 per cent, its lowest rate in more than three years, and the signs are that employers can plan for the future with renewed confidence. In a poll conducted at the recent Chartered Management Institute’s National Annual Conference, 74 per cent of managers said market conditions for their business are currently more conductive for growth than they were last year. Their biggest management challenge in the coming year will be implementing change initiatives, with other priorities being: coordinating business development activities; getting the best performance out of their team; achieving results with fewer resources; internally promoting their department as a value-adding business partner; and managing and bringing through star performers.

“The fact that change management ranks as the number one challenge for UK managers indicates that, despite the improving market conditions, ongoing change remains a fact of life in many organisations,” said Todd Turner, Chief Executive Officer of learning and development company Hemsley Fraser, which carried out the poll.

“The other management priorities reflect the desire amongst managers to improve the way they engage and leverage their talent in order to more effectively meet the demands of a growing business.”

According to the survey, 99 per cent of managers intend to develop themselves further in the coming year.

“The survey reflects confidence, but not complacency, amongst UK managers,” said Todd Turner. “Nearly everyone agrees that there is scope to further improve their skills, even leaders. This is an encouraging sign as it shows that managers and leaders are not simply content to rest on their laurels.”

86 per cent of managers claim that developing other people is a central part of their role.

“This is another very encouraging finding as it shows that managers not only recognise the importance of getting the most from their teams, but they have made the connection that investment in talent development is key to realising untapped potential,” said Todd Turner. “Coaching and developing others, and setting the right example, are amongst the most important aspects of management.”

The survey shows that managers intend to develop their skills over the coming year through conferences and networking events; internal/external coaching and mentoring; external training programmes; online resources and forums and in-company professional development programmes.

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy and External Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Coaching, mentoring and training are perennially popular for management development but this survey shows that conferences and networking events will be an important source of development for managers in the coming year. This might reflect the fact that, although managers are keen to develop themselves, they face many demands on their time and will therefore prioritise development choices that can be more easily fitted into their workload.”