Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- Businesses should invest more in the managers within their company, giving them technology training and guidance for leadership roles. — West Monroe Partners
- Better training, especially in automation technologies, will allow managers to use their time more wisely. — West Monroe Partners
Business and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners conducted a survey of 500 managers across the US, peppering each with questions about workflow, management structure, the use of technology, and more.
West Monroe highlighted the current strength of the economy but warned companies that economic downturns are often right around the corner, and it is in their best interest to prepare themselves in advance of any changes.
In speaking to managers in corporations across the country, they found that many managers felt overworked, under-trained, and incapable of maximizing their time at the office due to administrative roadblocks.
"Executives frequently cite that they're unaware of just how much managers have on their plates and how much this pulls them away from managing operations and people," West Monroe said in a release written by Jeffrey Arnold, Michael Hughes, and Yves Leclerc.
The release authors also noted that executives "should take actionable steps now to achieve optimal efficiencies that can insulate their businesses from economic volatility."
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The majority of company managers feel "bogged down" by administrative tasks and in response, many companies have tried to automate or digitize certain processes. But even with automation, West Monroe wrote that 24% of managers said they still had to spend five or more hours on administrative tasks a day and 44% of managers said they received no training on automation tools.
"Though enterprises and employees are seeing positive returns from automation technology, companies can only maximize ROI by reimagining the people and processes, too," West Monroe wrote in the release.
The release went on: "As automation tools become a mainstay in the workplace, companies will need to take the time to evaluate which tool is the right fit for their team and how they will onboard managers onto the platform."
The study also touched on the need for more comprehensive managerial training. Of the managers surveyed, 59% overseeing at least two people said they had received no training at all, and 41% of people overseeing 3-5 employees said they had received no training.
To deal with this, managers said they were forced to both learn on the job and model themselves after previous bosses, the report said. Those who had received some kind of training said it helped them deal with the workload and manage their staff.
"Of managers who did receive training prior to becoming a manager, 85 percent feel the responsibilities of their role are clearly communicated, and 92 percent feel they have an adequate work-life balance," West Monroe said.
The study goes on to discuss ways companies can maximize their managers' efforts. More than one third of everyone surveyed said they had not even received clear directives about what their job entailed, forcing them to figure it out as they went along. This made it more difficult for them to focus on the part of their job that they felt needed the most time: Managing others. When given clear directions and instructions on what to do, managers felt they could guide their staff members more effectively and deliver on company goals.
"Our survey shows that if executives put in the time and effort when it comes to training their managers and seeking technology or automation solutions for administrative processes, they will reap positive results on a companywide scale," they wrote. "...During a downturn, high-performing managers will be key to leading your organization through change, maximizing efficiency and productivity, and maintaining employee engagement."
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Jonathan Greig has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jonathan Greig is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.