Employers looking to retain talent during the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ may benefit from investing in more management training for their staff, according to learning and development experts.

New research suggests that managers who haven’t received any management training are 36% more likely to leave their current jobs in the next year, than managers who receive regular management training (38% compared to 28%).

A poll of 1,031 British adults, conducted by learning management systems provider Digits, found that one in four (26%) people that manage or supervise other people have never received any management training, and a further two-fifths (39%) only received management training when they first became a manager. Just a third (35%) of UK managers enjoy regular management training.

Men reportedly receive more regular management training than women (38% compared to 32%). They are also less likely to be untrained managers. Only one fifth (21%) of male managers, compared to nearly a third (32%) of female managers, report receiving no management training (for full-time workers, it’s 21% and 29% respectively). 54% of women, compared to 49% of men, also say their workload wasn’t reduced when they first became a manager.

Notably, one in seven (14%) managers report trying to manage big teams (of 10 people or more) with no management training at all.

Love it or leave it

Untrained managers may be highly qualified and skilled to do their current jobs, but, as Digits’ findings show, they are also likely to be considering changing employer. They are also less likely to be happy at work.

Only half (54%) of untrained managers – those who haven’t received any management training – say they like or love their current job, compared to three-quarters (77%) of managers who do receive regular management training.

Interestingly, enjoying your job is not always enough of a reason for some people to make them want to stay in it, as two-fifths (38%) of managers who say they like (23%) or love (15%) their jobs are still planning to head for pastures new in 2022.

Access to training on the other hand, may prove more compelling, with 41% of regularly trained managers having no plans to leave their current employer, compared to just 27% of untrained managers.

42% of senior managers plan to switch jobs

Looking more generally, at all staff, not just managers, the survey results are much more in-line with recent headlines – with around one in four (28%) workers planning to look for a new job in the coming year (a further 32% are as yet undecided).

People occupying senior management positions, such as CEOs, directors, and C-level executives, are the most likely (42%) to be thinking of changing their job or employer in 2022. Non-managerial staff are the least likely (25%).

The results also reveal that over a third (35%) of all managers who started their job in 2021 are considering leaving it within the next year. Around 40% of managers that started their job in 2020 or 2019 are also planning to leave their employers.

Based on the data, managers working in real estate, marketing and sales, and IT, software and telecoms, seem the most likely to be planning a job change (67%, 50% and 41% respectively).

Commenting on the results, Bradley Burgoyne, head of learning and development at Digits, says: “These survey results highlight a worrying trend where organisations are underinvesting in their managers. This has the potential for wider ramifications across the business where colleagues are not seeing the value that learning and development can bring to the organisation. Investment in people development is a critical component for any individual, team, or organisation to achieve and maintain high performance.

“The events of the past 18 months have demonstrated the vital role that managers play in the success of an organisation. They have been expected to navigate the challenges of a pandemic, and implement change on a scale never seen before, while supporting their direct reports along the way.

“It’s clear from this survey that managers who receive regular management training and development to support them in their role are more likely to stay with their organisation. While managers who don’t receive regular management training are more likely to seek out new opportunities. This shows the value that managers place on the ongoing investment in their development. With demand for talent and pressure to perform at an all-time high, the question is: can organisations afford not to train their managers?”

Toby Gilchrist, head of implementation services – LMS, at Digits, adds: “A strong management learning offer has multiple positive benefits – impacting productivity, employee engagement, job satisfaction, morale and so much more. It’s typically at the heart of most projects we’re involved in at Digits because our clients recognise the importance of good management training, as part of a successful learning and development strategy.

“Well-designed, accessible management training, such as bitesize interactive learning activities, engaging visual learning pathways, gamified learning and automated notifications, can help individuals become more effective managers. Ultimately, engaging management training always leads to more engaged managers.”

L&D experts discuss the importance of management training at www.digits.co.uk/news/the-importance-of-management-training.

Digits polled a representative sample of 1,031 employed British adults between 25 October and 8 November 2021. The full survey results are available to view at www.digits.co.uk/news/management-training-survey-results.

Digits has over 25 years’ experience developing award-winning learning management systems and designing bespoke, accessible-anywhere learning content for mid and enterprise-size organisations. Three million courses are completed via the Digits learning platform per year, with 5,500 logins per day.

For more information, please visit www.digits.co.uk.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.