SHRM Survey: Workers Think Managers Need More Training

Dana Wilkie By Dana Wilkie August 18, 2020

​A new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey finds 84 percent of U.S. workers say poorly trained managers create a lot of unnecessary work and stress.

The survey of U.S. workers, released Aug. 12, examined their perspective on how equipped their supervisors are to manage people, what the most important skills for managers are, and how a manager can improve his or her own performance.

"There is no relationship in the workplace more powerful than the one between people managers and employees," said SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. "As working Americans challenge organizations to manage and lead differently, those that don't will find themselves left behind."

Taylor noted that SHRM's new People Manager Qualification (PMQ) "provides people managers with the training and skills they need to build high-performing teams. By skilling up managers, HR can spend more time strategizing, cultivating culture and delivering bottom-line results."

The PMQ is an interactive, virtual learning program designed to help managers build the skills they most need to lead.

The survey reinforces existing SHRM research, notably its 2019 report The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture that found 1 in 4 American workers dread going to work, and estimated that U.S. companies had lost $223 billion to culture-caused turnover.

Among the survey's findings:

  • Nearly 6 in 10 American workers (57 percent) believe managers in their workplace could benefit from training on how to be better people managers.
  • Half of American workers (50 percent) believe it would help them improve their own work performance if their direct supervisor's people management skills were improved.
  • Over one-third of American workers (41 percent) believe their direct manager could benefit from additional training in communication skills. Other areas for improvement include training and developing their teams (cited by 38 percent of respondents); time management, delegation and prioritizing (37 percent); managing team performance (35 percent); and cultivating a positive and inclusive team culture (35 percent).

The survey relied on a sample of 457 working Americans canvassed using the Amerispeak Omnibus Survey from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The survey was administered from July 16-20. 


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The PMQ teaches managers to lead effectively, giving HR more time to meet the demands of the workplace.

The PMQ teaches managers to lead effectively, giving HR more time to meet the demands of the workplace.

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