The Importance of Investing in Frontline Managers

When you think about the most essential part of any organisation, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? 

Perhaps it’s the people, the behaviours they display, or the working culture. Whilst all of these answers may be true, what we might not consider is who’s driving these crucial elements. 

Over the past couple of decades, there’s been a spotlight on the value of leadership; CEOs, executives and higher-level managers have taken centre stage when it comes to discussions around organisational success. 

As a result of this focus, a vital piece of the puzzle often gets overlooked: frontline managers. And this neglect can have extremely negative consequences for any organisation. Ready to find out more? 

Who are frontline managers?

Frontline managers are the glue that holds every organisation together. They’re responsible for ensuring the smooth running of day-to-day operations and managing employees, all whilst navigating relationships with higher-management and key stakeholders. 

But successful frontline managers don’t just delegate tasks; they roll their sleeves up and get involved; this means they also have the context to understand the daily experiences of their people and make decisions that will impact them, making them a vital part of the company DNA. 

When was the last time you noticed a frontline manager getting involved in day-to-day operations?

Frontline managers and culture 

Frontline managers are not just cogs in the machine; since they oversee a large population of the workforce, they’re instrumental in shaping culture and behaviours.  

Frontline staff often look to their managers for inspiration, so they can influence behaviour by offering positive recognition, constructive feedback and role modelling behaviours that align with the company’s values. 

What has your manager inspired you to do? What values have you seen them upholding on a regular basis?

The investment problem

Frontline managers - The investment problem

Despite the crucial role they play, research indicates that frontline managers are severely under-invested in, receiving the least amount of attention when it comes to training and support. 

Since Covid, frontline managers have been expected to firefight, be resilient and problem-solve complex issues, often without appropriate training, meaning they’re not equipped to cope. 

According to a study by CareerBuilder, over a quarter of managers don’t feel ready to lead when they start managing others, with a staggering 58% receiving no training at all. This statistic becomes even more concerning when paired with Gallup’s research which reveals only one in 10 individuals naturally possess all the skills needed to manage.  

The consequences

Neglecting frontline managers has far-reaching consequences; it negatively affects their experience at work, and in turn, their engagement. In fact, a study conducted by Gallup found that only 35% of U.S managers were engaged in their jobs, while 51% are not engaged and 14% are actively disengaged. This has a knock-on effect when it comes to productivity, performance, absenteeism and retention, with managers accounting for over 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. 

Has a manager ever negatively affected your experience at work? How did that make you feel?

Conclusion 

As the world of work continues to evolve, so does the role of managers, and the unique challenges they face, meaning proper investment in their development is more important than ever. 

To truly enhance the engagement and confidence of your frontline managers in fulfilling their roles, one-off training isn’t enough. They need the time, patience and resources to fully understand and role-model the behaviours that will make a difference to their teams. 

At Kultralab, we’ve created Kultra; an AI coach that can empower frontline managers to maximise their potential and master the essential behaviours needed to excel. 

To learn more about how Kultralab is partnering with organisations to help them promote positive, long-term and sustainable behavioural change through our Kultra app, please get in touch.