Half of bosses fail to manage 'dead wood'

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Less than half of companies deal effectively with underperformance, whilst a fifth of employees admit to being frustrated in their jobs.

This is according to new research by management consultancy Hay Group. The study found that rigid structures and processes are stifling initiative, with half of workers saying they feel they do not have the authority to make decisions crucial to their jobs.

The same proportion did not feel encouraged to participate in decisions that directly affect their work. In further bad news, over a third believed that their job does not make best use of their skills and abilities.

Ben Hubbard, regional director at Hay Group's employee survey division, commented that the "frustrated employee phenomenon" poses a major business risk and a significant missed opportunity.

"With fierce competition for the most talented employees, companies’ efforts to engage their people will be wasted if not backed by a supportive and enabling environment."

On underperformance, the problem is found to be most acute in the automotive industry, where only 44% of companies manage to deal with poor performance. Other sectors fare little better, with technology (46%), pharmaceutical (51%) and manufacturing (51%) showing similarly low results.

Olwyn Burgess, head of outplacement at HR consultancy Chiumento, told HRZone.co.uk that part of the problem was lack of management expertise: "If they haven't got the skills to do it then it's not going to happen. There are often gaps in the softer skill sets such as giving people feedback. A big problem is that many managers can't bite the bullet."

See also: This week's article on how to manage underperformers.

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