The essential skills that American employees say their bosses lack

A recent study by OnePoll on behalf of AVADO discovered the skills workers think they and their bosses need more training on. (Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash)

A third of workers feel their boss lacks key skills, according to new research.

Communication was found to be the number one skill bosses are missing, followed by issues with time management and mentorship.

A study examining the performance and productivity of American workplaces found the inefficiencies and daily frustrations add up quickly — two in five workers described their workplace environment as “challenging.”

The research, which examined the impact of communication policies, workplace infrastructure and company reorganizations also found as many as three in four office employees question whether their workplace has given them the sufficient training necessary to do their current job.

The survey of 1,500 employees, 350 HR executives and hiring managers, and 350 C-suite executives examined how different workers rate interoffice communication and how they’ve been affected by company reorganizations.

Results showed a clear disconnect between upper management and HR managers when it came to areas in need of attention. Training programs and reorganizing structure came out as top priorities for HR executives, however, high-level executives were much more focused on updating technology and hiring for specific new skills, like data analysis.

The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AVADO also discovered another sore spot in offices were reorganizations when people experienced layoffs, department transfers or mergers.

Over 40 percent of HR managers and 47 percent of employees reported to going through a reorganization in the past five years ‒‒ while only three in 10 top managers had experienced a reorganization in that time frame.

Surprisingly, of the three groups, HR executives and hiring managers were the least likely to be prepared for a reorganization.

The results also found sizable gaps between male and female staff members in terms of their reorganization experiences.

Male employees were also more likely to be promoted during the transition whereas a female was more likely to gain additional responsibilities, but remain in the same position.

A similar disconnect was found to be taking place between younger and older employees during reorganizations.

Employees over 51 were 69 percent more likely to feel unprepared or untrained during a reorganization than someone between the ages of 18 and 30.

The results also revealed that staff members over the age of 51 were twice as likely to remain in their position but gain more responsibilities rather than receive a promotion. Where as employees between the ages of 30 and 41 were the most likely group to be promoted in the midst of a reorganization.

A lack of training really compounds negative feelings for those who have gone through a reorganization in the past five years. The study found that people who haven’t been trained in over one year were more likely to feel vulnerable, confused and angry.

There were similar findings among executives who were more likely to be overwhelmed after a reorganization if they hadn’t received any training in over one year.

Reorganizations can definitely have a lasting impact on employees feelings toward their company and impact retention rates. One in two staff members who have been through a reorganization in the past five years don’t plan on staying at the same company in two years.

Niall McKinney, Global President, AVADO said, “Reorganization can be very unsettling and spark fear in a workforce. But, if handled correctly, it can also be an opportunity to ease employee concerns by showing executive foresight in the form of appropriate training programs objectively carried out by a trusted partner.”

Beyond disconnects caused by a reorganization, staff also evaluated the cracks in their day-to-day relationship with their superior.

Communication was the number one skill staff felt their bosses lacked. The results revealed that managers aren’t getting things back to staff in a timely manner since time management was listed another area where employees felt their boss wasn’t on top of it.

Meanwhile for HR executives and hiring managers, mentorship was number one on their list of areas where there was room for their boss to improve.

McKinney added: “In this rapidly evolving business environment, no manager can properly lead a team without a strong grasp of the skills needed to succeed in today’s digitally driven workplace. As digital transformation continues to drive new processes and reorganizations, it is crucial to employee retention and overall effectiveness for employers to know when to proactively reach out for help with a skills refresh.”


  1. Training programs 49%
  2. Reorganizing structure 39%
  3. Hiring for specific newly necessary skills 38%
  4. Updating technology and software 38%


  1. Updating technology and software 43%
  2. Hiring for specific newly necessary skills 32%
  3. Training programs 27%
  4. Reorganizing structure 21%


  • Excited 51%
  • Stressed 44%
  • Enthusiastic 43%
  • Overwhelmed 19%
  • Vulnerable 14%
  • Confused 12%
  • Angry 9%

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<

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