EAP services improve management practices

Recent research conducted by the Harvard Business Review reveals that 46% of managers don’t adequately hold employees accountable for their behavior. The findings come as no shock to John Levy. As CCA’s Director of Account Services, John regularly helps client organizations to improve the performance of struggling employees and to improve the practices of managers tasked with supervising such employees. This work has given him a first-hand view of how uncomfortable managers can be as they attempt to point out problematic behavior or initiate difficult conversations.

“It’s not really surprising that many managers don’t want to correct their employees,” he observes. “We’re social creatures. We’d rather get along with co-workers than be at odds with them. But, in reality, giving negative feedback can benefit everyone. It helps employees to grow professionally while helping the organization to avoid the kind of problems that can get in the way of its mission.”

An unwillingness to address shortcomings in employee behavior can impair the organization in a variety of ways. Most obviously, when managers don’t engage employees regarding their performance issues, mistakes can multiply. But conflict avoidance can affect the bottom line even more directly when managers go further than simply overlooking poor performance and instead reward it – a practice that occurs with surprising frequency according to recent data. A 2013-14 Towers Watson study found that almost a quarter of managers award bonuses to employees regardless of performance.

In order to assist managers who shy away from giving their employees negative feedback, organizations can make use of various resources available through their EAP. For instance, an EAP can directly support managers by coaching them on an individual basis so they can better identify problematic workplace behavior. EAP consultants also can role-play responses to such behavior to increase a manager’s comfort with the process of delivering feedback. If a number of individuals can benefit from such education, a training program may offer the most comprehensive way to build up managerial capability in the organization.

In some situations, the challenges to effective management may pervade the organization as a whole, necessitating more comprehensive solutions. For instance, when a financial services firm found itself challenged by the need to address conflicts more effectively, it was due to a culture of “politeness” that made disagreements difficult to broach. CCA helped the firm overcome its challenges by collaborating with the executive team to identify specific challenges and appropriate solutions. CCA followed up by providing customized skill-building sessions that reached over 60 senior Vice Presidents, thereby helping the organization to negotiate a successful cultural shift.

As these examples indicate, an organization has a wide array of options; in order to determine which solution or complement of solutions is best suited to its needs, an organization may wish to take advantage of CCA’s risk assessment services.

40% of new managers fail; keep your managers in the other 60%

CCA’s latest position paper discusses the skills needed to make the transition to a managerial role and strategies for helping new managers develop these skills.

To find out more about developing successful managers, read “Cultivating Managerial Capability”