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HR Has a Trust Issue: Two Thirds of Managers Feel Uncomfortable Talking to HR

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New Research Shows Fear of Judgement Is Preventing Honesty About Personal Development at Senior Levels, While Stress and Anxiety Is on the Rise Among Managers

Mid-level and senior managers have reported that they feel unable to talk openly and honestly with their HR department about personal and professional development, according to new data from digital coaching platform CoachHub.

In the survey of 1000 managers, nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) said that they don’t feel comfortable opening up about personal progression and development, with 15% admitting that they wouldn’t reach out to the human resources team for fear of being seen as unqualified or ineffective leaders. This insecurity is, in turn, exacerbated by not being able to talk to a trusted contact, creating a self-perpetuating problem for businesses and HR departments.

42% of respondents said that their HR department didn’t prioritise personalised professional development beyond their initial onboarding, while nearly a quarter (23%) received no support when transitioning into a leadership role.

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HR needs a digital makeover

A lack of psychological safety at work is created and fuelled by out-dated HR practices, which fail to account for employees as individuals. As part of the research, respondents were asked about the professional development processes provided by their employers. Old-school seminars and workshops came out as the top answers (39%), while less than a third of respondents (31%) said their organisation offered any form of online courses. Despite the fact that a majority of managers would prefer personalised digital coaching over the option of remote working as a work perk, only 14% said that it was provided for employees as part of their business’s professional development programme.

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Mental health more important than career progression

Personal and professional development is clearly a top priority for employees, and one major aspect of that is learning to manage and counteract the stress and anxiety that many encounter and endure in their work lives. Figures now suggest that managers consider minimizing stress and anxiety to be a greater priority in their professional development than moving upwards in their career – more than one in ten (11%) selected the former as their number one goal for professional development, while just 3% chose the latter.

In addition, more than half of managers (58%) reported that at least one of their team members had quit in the past two years due to a lack of professional development and growth opportunities. Of those quitting, only 23% cited a higher salary/better job role as the reason, with personal reasons (including mental health, work/life balance and personal growth opportunities) accounting for around a third (32%).

Juliane Sterzl, VP of UK & Ireland at CoachHub, said: “These results highlight an urgent need for change in HR processes – if senior members of staff don’t trust HR departments enough to talk honestly, why would other employees? Provisions in place for professional development and support need an overhaul. Our research shows that current offerings tend to consist of old-fashioned, generic processes that haven’t changed in decades. With many digital HR tools now available, such as personalised digital coaching, HR departments can move away from this one-size-fits-all approach and make the transition to tech-enabled solutions that are much better suited to the modern workplace.”

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