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Employers failing to evaluate management development

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The UK is falling behind in developing managers, according to new research suggesting there is a lack of acceptance and action when it comes to evaluating management development.

The two-year study by the Chartered Management Institute which questioned 1400 HR managers and line managers found that UK organisations spend less than their European counterparts on training and development, and are also the least likely to offer sufficient career planning to employees.

The results show that while nearly three-quarters of UK organisations claim to have a dedicated training budget, the average investment per capita is only EUR1,625 – representing less than half the amount spent by Germany.

Perhaps an indicator that employee development is still not always given the attention it deserves, only 47% of organisations claimed to have an HR representative in the Boardroom, compared to three-quarters in Norway.

When questioned about policies, only half the HR managers in the study claimed their organisations had a formal policy statement on management development, compared with two-thirds for Norway.

Only four in ten HR managers across Europe claimed to evaluate management development in a systematic way with nearly one-fifth saying no evaluation took place at all. These findings were higher in the UK (27%).

Fast-track development for selected managers is particularly favoured in France (77%), while the UK is comparatively weaker at identifying and ‘fast-tracking’ future leaders, adopting this approach in only 57% of cases.

“UK organisations need to do more to recognise the value of management development, through better evaluation of its results,” said Mary Chapman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute. “Unless business priorities are linked to training policies and practices for current – and future – leaders, there is a real danger that other European countries will leave the UK standing still.

“Evidence showing positive links between effective management development and business performance has existed for some time. Yet this research demonstrates an alarming lack of acceptance and action, particularly in the UK,” she warned.

“For management development to be effective it needs to be fully integrated into the business strategy; it needs to be thoughtful and take a long-term view. And most importantly, managers at all levels need to believe that their development is being taken seriously,” she added.

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