It is no secret that the workforce is changing, and with these changes comes a sharper focus on attraction and retention strategies. But between flexible working schedules and varying benefit schemes, employers are overlooking a key process that can help optimize their ability to secure the talent they have – management training.

Managers play a vital role in the creation of a positive workplace culture and engaging with employee concerns. They are the ‘connecting leaders’ for helping to build relationships between those at the top and bottom of the hierarchy. Ensuring that they are properly equipped to take on this role can help an organization thrive, as many potential problems can be avoided by strengthening the company at its managerial roots.

To begin with, leaders need to know how to go beyond the words of their company’s mission statement. While having a clear statement is excellent for highlighting what the business’s aims and values are, they need to be put into practice. Managers must know how to demonstrate these principles in their approaches and enact them in real-time to increase the trust staff place in them. By building this trust, organizations are more likely to increase retention rates, which can also reflect positively on their reputation when recruiting future staff.

Secondly, there is now an expectation for managers to have more personal and tailored relationships with employees. The rise of a carpe diem ideology post-pandemic has resulted in people wanting to make every day count by finding purpose in their work. Leaders have to be properly equipped with contemporary strategies to help remind them of this purpose in order to sustain engagement levels.

The needs of the workforce have shifted since the pandemic, and managers will require a refreshed set of training to keep up with this. By doing so, they mitigate the risk of employees quitting due to uncaring and uninspiring leaders, which was the third highest reason (34%) for people leaving their job according to a study by McKinsey.

Additionally, there also needs to be a focus on the retention of managers themselves. The CEB conducted research which found that 60% of all new managers fail within their first 24 months – and the main reason cited for this was a lack of proper training. Leadership roles come with a lot of responsibility, and so companies that prioritise giving their new managers the right tools and skills will help them seize all that the opportunity has to offer.

It is a chain reaction. Equip managers on how to engage with their people properly and they will avoid falling into the twenty-four-month trap. And having a good manager leads to a workforce who are engaged because they feel understood by their leader(s). Culture matters, and having a positive one focused on developing people, including mangers, will benefit colleagues and businesses.

Avoidance of legal issues is the final benefit. With the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) set to become firmer when filing discrimination cases against employers and overall trends in filing of claims, having managers who can correctly engage with employee concerns is more crucial than ever. Leaders who are perceived as approachable will be trusted with queries, and this helps avoid the use of third-party channels like the EEOC.

Navigating the heightened sensitivity that has developed post-pandemic is a delicate thing, and so requires a refreshed and expert approach. Having successfully worked with clients to build programmes that can identify and mitigate these issues, we see positive results in productivity, culture and risk management. Investing in managers is worth the expense.

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