68 percent of managers AREN’T engaged in their employees’ career development. WTF?

68 Percent of Managers Don't Guide Their Employees' Careers

Right Management — a subdivision of Manpower Group — did a survey about career development and managers’ roles within it. Here are the results. Here’s probably the section you should pop a couple of Ambien before you read:

According to the poll, only 17 percent of employees report their managers are actively engaged in their career development, while 15 percent say their managers are sometimes engaged. Sixty-eight percent of managers are not engaged in their employee’s career development.

Read that last sentence, and then go massage your scalp with a 45-caliber. What the ever-loving fuck? 7 in 10 managers aren’t engaged in the career development of their employees? What? (** Gasps for air **) Wait, this can’t be right. (** Punches self in face **) Jesus Christ. 

Let’s briefly summarize the working world we live in, via statistics:

Alright, so … most managers aren’t very good at their jobs, they don’t know what motivates people, and about 1 in 3 can identify what is good about the people that work for them.

Look, I realize that products mean more than people at most organizations and I realize that might not ever really change. (You’d hope “The Millennial Generation” will change it, but in reality they might end up exactly like the Boomers.) I get it: your products make you money when consumers buy them. You worry about consumers and how they feel. But your employees are just there — the contract is tied to money, right? — and so it’s perfectly fine to kind of just let them be, and assess them once a year, and all that kind of basic stuff. That’s how we do, right?

Even if you believe that — and if you believe that, you’re probably not reading this anymore because you’re so super busy (so busy that you don’t have the time to respect your employees) — you need to understand one thing: “leadership” and “management” aren’t about hitting deliverables.

That’s part of it, yes, but the big picture is about coaching.

This is all part of the reason we deify coaches and generals in society (and pretend to deify teachers in long-form essays, even though we pay them about 1/8th of what finance sector interns make): because the idea of developing another person is paramount in our lives.

Don’t believe me? Go fuck yourself.

But seriously, here’s a thought exercise: stop and think for a second about this question.

What’s the strongest brand in the world?


If you said “Apple,” you’re wrong.

It’s motherhood.

Know why?

Because it’s the most aligned with developing the future, which is an inherent interest of society. It’s most aligned with instilling values and right from wrong, etc.

“Managers” at work should be doing the same thing, and should be taught that it’s part of their job to do so. Way less than 68 percent should be actively avoiding it. In fact, 68 percent should be actively involved.

“Management” and “leadership,” even though we always think about them incorrectly, are really about coaching. Believe that.

But I’m sure as you do, you have a High-Level Deliverables Meeting (“Stand-Up”) to run to.

68 percent. Jesus H. Christ.

Ted Bauer


  1. I agree this is appalling. However, I do have a nit to pick. If I read the data correctly, you have misstated the facts. If the data is as you present it, the finding is that 68% of employees report their managers are not involved in their development. Agree that is awful, but stating that 68% of managers are not involved is incorrect. May be a minor misinterpretation, but it is entirely possible that over 50%(or more) of managers ARE involved in their staff’s development.

    Data is tricky – in this case I doubt the reality is all that different from your claim, but your conclusion and the data as you have reported it are not consistent.

    • I see what you’re saying here, certainly. It could be a misinterpretation on my part — but, by the same token, if you’ve spent even 1-2 years in a workplace, you probably know that it’s accurate. Bosses don’t really care about the “coaching” side, typically. That’s bad. Although the data might be a little better than we think.

  2. I don’t know how valid the data is either, but based on my own purely subjective experience, way too many organizations, perhaps even spreading to the point of being a runaway epidemic, have become operational devoid of attention paid to their employees other than whether or not they killed themselves to meet/exceed their quarterly number targets. For me, there is a perceived tipping point… a point at which a line is reached I’d refer to as ‘oppression of “management”, where “management” is practiced in the dirtiest, darkest sense, a state that I strongly identify as a failure/loss of ‘leadership,’ and cynically/sarcastically attribute to accountants and lawyers. Ya for me, there are way too many accountants and lawyers and not enough compassionate business leaders who humbly serve their employees and join with them in the collective service of creating customer-realized value.

    FYI, I advise my personal knowledge worker clients regarding their professional development, so this observed trend cuts a bit close to home.

    (stepping off my soap-box now, I no longer feel like I have to hypothetically kick a lawyer in the shin or punch an accountant. – And, I promise, that I’m not crazy, just concerned… in fact, having made this comment, I feel much better… hehe)

    • I’m glad you found this post, good sir. Sounds like you and me are pretty (sorry for corporate BS term here) “aligned” on this issue.

      You ever think it’s weird how companies will respond to consumers in seconds and track all those trends (because they assume consumers make them the money), but barely glance at their internal employees more than once a year?

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