Helen Green

Rewarding Mediocrity

The Chartered Management Institute’s 2015 National Management Salary Survey makes very interesting reading; not the least because of the headline result which is that employers are “continuing to reward poor performance by managers.”

In fact the results of the survey reveal that 45% of underperforming senior managers still received a bonus and that management salaries are rising ahead of inflation.

Commenting on the results, CMI Chief Executive, Ann Francke, said “unfortunately, it seems to be a lot easier to reward poor performance than to face the awkwardness of having difficult conversations with underperforming staff.” Against this background, the survey reveals that employers are having difficulty in recruiting ‘the right people’ with 75% of employers citing a lack of required skills as the root cause.

Whether or not there is a skills shortage, rewarding people for below par performances is a practice which in the short and long term is detrimental to any business. Poorly performing managers not only fail in their immediate duties, they also lower the expectation and skills of those who work under them. With more people than ever in work the productivity rate still gives cause for concern at a national level and it could well be that poor leaders are simply not getting the best out of their teams.

Leadership is a skill and it is one which may have been neglected over the recession years as resources were directed to simply keeping the business afloat. But there is no longer any excuse.   Average bonuses of nearly £9,000 being paid to an underperforming manager could perhaps be better directed towards improving management skills which will then have a knock-on effect across the business. Rewarding mediocrity doesn’t make sense; taking steps to train and to improve performances does.