It's a scene that plays out on factory floors, in warehouses, and at work sites across the country: a talented worker is promoted to a supervisor position, but struggles to adapt to the new role & responsibilities. While they were skilled at their previous position - which is why they were identified for promotion in the first place - moving to a management role presents a slew of new challenges and requires these supervisors to develop a variety of new skills. Indeed, a recent study be BearingPoint, a consultancy, found that 60% of frontline supervisors underperformed in their first two years.1 Moreover, 81% of frontline supervisors themselves stated that they were not satisfied with their own performance.2

So why are these new frontline supervisors struggling as they move into this role? It starts with training. As reported in the Harvard Business review, only 29% of frontline supervisors received frequent training or development opportunities.2 And in a separate survey by McKinsey, only 10% of executives rated their companies' frontline manager training program as effective in preparing managers to lead.3

The lack of attention paid to Frontline Supervisor development is unexpected, given the potential impact supervisors have on a company's workforce. Frontline supervisors alone make up 50-60% of a company's management, and directly supervise up to 80% of their workforce.2 It's this influence on the frontline workforce that should catch executives eye. An effective frontline supervisor has the potential to increase an employee's commitment to their job by 34%, and their commitment to the organization by 38%.1 Moreover, managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores, according to a Gallup survey.4

In turn, companies that prioritize frontline supervisor development can expect an immediate impact. BearingPoint found that supervisors who were given just 12 weeks training witnessed performance gains of 30% for their teams.2 Training can be targeted to 1-2 two core skills - such as leadership or conflict management - or take a broad approach that provides comprehensive training in the multitude of skills required by supervisors. By reevaluating and reinvesting in frontline supervisor training and development - ensuring that new supervisors are training and tenured supervisors consistently receive additional development - companies are ultimately able to enhance productivity and improve performance across their workforce.

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Source: Photo Credit. (1) BearingPoint  (2 )Harvard Business Review Halogen Report (3) McKinsey & Company Frontline Survey Results (4) Gallup: Why Great Managers are So Rare