Almost One-Third of Employers Fail to Teach Business Basics to First-Time Bosses

SEATTLE, WA (Oct. 20, 2008) - According to a recent survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), when it comes to showing first-time managers how to do their jobs, close to one-third of employers surveyed said they do not teach budgeting, time management, and project management. Twenty-six percent of employers surveyed also said they do not include any instruction on diversity awareness.

“I find the lack of focus on what many CEOs consider some of the core managerial competencies rather alarming,” said i4cp Pillar Director Mary Key. “This is akin to sending one of every three pilots into the skies without instruction on navigation.”

So, what are first-time bosses being taught to do? According to the i4cp survey, employers teach – to a high or very high extent – rookie bosses about harassment (39%), coaching skills (40.9%), and performance management (47.6%).

“Given the litigious nature of the American workplace, employers may feel compelled to emphasize training on issues such as harassment, which can cost an employer dearly in terms of productivity and dollars,” added Key. “But instruction regarding diversity awareness is at least as important, and diversity instruction still gets short shrift.”

Coaching skills are likely one of the proficiencies any first-time boss ought to have. So the percentage of employers who said they emphasize this sort of training seems logical. Performance management deals largely with reviewing and reporting on an employee’s work. Some would argue that showing novice bosses how to carry out performance reviews is done largely to prevent conflicts between bosses and their direct reports. Placing a premium on this sort of training at the expense of basic skills like budgeting may be overlooking what first-time bosses need.

Overall, 38% of employers report spending a total of two days or less annually training rookie managers. Sixty-two percent of companies offer three days or more of annual training. Of all employers surveyed, 24% said they provide more than 40 hours of training per year to first-time bosses.

When employers do provide training to novice managers, companies say the preferred method is in-house classroom training versus off-site classes, mentoring, study manuals or online training. When it comes to providing instruction about preventing workplace harassment, employers chose e-learning as the second-most-popular method after in-house classroom training.

According to the study, almost half of those promoted to a first-time manager position will end up “sometimes” supervising a group they were formerly a part of, and 41% will “often” supervise a group of peers.

The Taking the Pulse: First-Time Manager survey was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with, in September 2008. The total number of respondents was 307. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.

About i4cp, inc.

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