Friday 11 February 2011

Roffey: Management Agenda


    My favourite report on HR’s, or really management’s challenges in 2011 (so far) is Roffey’s Mangement Agenda 2011.  This has also been out a few weeks, but is a very comprehensive report, so I think I’ve got a good excuse for delay in my reporting.

The major finding of the research is that UK mangers are “still not yet sure whether to be cautiously optimistic” about the future, which is about as equivocal as you could get.  I still think there are signs of more optimism, but the report certainly provides good reasons to ignore Vance Kearney’s call to ignore the recession.  Roffey finds that 77% of organisations will be negatively affected by the recession this year.  The majority of these have been making redundancies but handling these well means operating in accordance with the organisation’s values, attending to fairness and consistency, and communicating openly (see my post on Westminster re this).

Roffey suggests addressing the impact of this climate on managers should be an organisational priority.  Many are feeling they are getting less backing for new initiatives and job security is down.

One of the report’s conclusions that I find surprising is that despite the above, there’s been no fall in levels of employee engagement.  Of course this is supported by other recent surveys too but I still think the CIPD’s got a point in its description of the ‘fixed grin’.  It depends how you define and measure engagement, but just because staff are pleased to have a job doesn’t mean that they’re passionate about doing their jobs or supporting your organisation.  Plus of course, when engagement’s already on the floor, it can’t fall much more.

There’s clearly a problem in the public sector anyway.  Employees values are increasingly out of alignment with their organisations.  Roffey note:

“One interpretation is that the financial pressures on the public sector have resulted in a sense of disillusion such that public sector employees have come to feel much less identification with the values enacted by their organisations.  Another explanation could be that the political nature of the public sector means that managers will have to implement government policies that may conflict with their own values.”


Which ever it is, it’s not a very positive situation.

A group that comes in for particular criticism is people at the top of organisations who seem quite out of touch with the organisations they run (Vance included, perhaps?).

In terms of HR, nearly two-thirds of managers believe that HR adds value to the business, experiencing HR as credible, influential and in touch – but this proportion has fallen nearly 10% since the previous year.  (The picture is also less rosy if HR manager responses are excluded).  Roffey suggests one thing HR should do is concentrate more on its employee champion role – to be more human basically.

The most surprising finding for me was that nearly half of managers suggest their organisation’s talent management schemes are secretive / non-transparent, though this has fallen slightly.  I’ve never believed that closed schemes can work, and in the wikileaks era am truly shocked that so many organisations still seem to think they can keep this sort of thing a secret.


Look out for the results from my own survey next week.


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