Babysitting an Adult

It sounds humiliating from an employment standpoint, but that’s exactly how it feels for men and women in modern corporate America. The hierarchy of business structure includes entry-level employees, senior employees, supervisors, managers, and upper management. Depending on the size of the corporation there could be multiple employees in each role.

According to an opinion piece published in Harvard Business Review, the infrastructure of this hierarchy puts management and employees at a ratio of 1:10 on average. This seems minimal in a small business setting of 20-employees, but as that number grows into the hundreds and even thousands, the management required is outrageous. Management also earns more. So, for a company of 1,000 with 100 managers earning roughly 33% more than entry-level workers, a company is spending a large portion of their overall budget on these roles.

So, what’s the problem with companies paying so many managers to supervise? Many Americans believe that if employees were being trained properly and hired based on the skills and abilities, they need middle management roles would be obsolete.

The Toll of the Middleman

Management is an essential piece of any business puzzle. Without managers, a company would falter. However, the role of the supervisor is a different story. Supervisors are a middleman between manager and employee. They act as a messenger, disciplinarian, watchdog, and trainer. While many supervisors are helpful, the act of being supervised is demeaning to many senior-level employees, some of whom may have been with a company longer than a new supervisor has even been out of school.

Feeling the presence of a supervisor constantly watching and criticizing work being completed takes a toll on a business. When employees are hired based on the skills they possess and are trained to do their jobs well, the role of supervisor should be unnecessary. So long as there is a manager to address big-picture issues, problem solving and experience in the field should be enough to help employees succeed.

Early Support and Education Help

One of the issues facing employees in the lower ranks of a corporation is a lack of early education. Many employees don’t begin receiving support or equipment to properly learn their roles until they’ve advanced in the company. This diminishes confidence early on and creates a need for greater assistance from managers and supervisors. Victor Lipman of Forbes once expressed his disapproval for these methods of training, stating, “I can readily speak from experience on this one, having received considerably more training and development opportunities in the latter stages of my career than in the early formative stages, when I most needed it.”

Providing ongoing training through every stage of employment is the best way to prepare employees for their roles and keep them strong as the company changes and grows. This removes the need for constant assistance from supervisory middlemen.

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