Survey result: The senior managers are good role models for upholding the organisation's values

Having a ‘pop’ at senior management

Just one in four HMRC staff have confidence in senior management! This is today’s news in the FT and the Guardian.

Sadly, this isn’t extraordinary. Sure, it’s disappointing and the figures sound very low, but these findings are not polar opposite to other organisations, whether in the public sector or a commercial company.

There is often a degree of mistrust of senior management, partly driven by the workforce simply not knowing who the senior management team are and what they do. Results tumble when change occurs, especially when staff feel their views aren’t being listened to. In the last 10 years, HMRC has been subject to various cost-cutting measures including losing two-fifths of its workforce. Little wonder then when the results come in…

It is very easy to take these results and declare a disaster. One question I have is how many people were unsure or chose to sit on the fence answering questions about senior management? Our own UK Workplace Study shows a slightly better result than HMRC for senior managers being good role models for upholding the organisation’s values (reported as 32%, compared to 39% in the public sector) but note how a third sit on the fence:

Survey result: The senior managers are good role models for upholding the organisation's values
Result from Surveylab’s UK Workplace Study: Senior managers are good role models for upholding the organisation’s values …

There was another news story last month about Tesco’s managers being encouraged to remember their staff are human. If you could get past those headlines and the damnation that (some of) their managers forget their p’s and q’s and the shock that an organisation has to communicate “how we (want to) do things around here” – there was some good, simple stuff to be found about good managers and building a culture where people want to work.

The Guardian had the least sensationalist reporting: Manners maketh management: Tesco bosses told to be nicer to staff. If nothing else, it’s an alternative way of expressing managers’ actions that impact on engagement (my views are respected, I am recognised, etc.).

The line manager is the first big influence on employee engagement for a lot of staff, and nearly always scores higher than senior managers (our Workplace Study, clients’ surveys and the news stories about HMRC all have this in common). This is to be expected as teams work more closely and face challenges and share experiences together. When you see lower scores for line managers in part(s) of your organisation, it is worth digging deeper to find out why.

The HMRC news stories:

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