Research finds energy and utilities managers already facing HR challenges due to energy price hikes and cost of living crisis


Research carried out on behalf of Coaching Focus has found that 85% of employees in managerial roles at energy and utilities companies are concerned about the impact the cost of living crisis and rising energy prices will have on their teams. Over half (51%) have already seen these issues impact their ability to lead.

In a recent survey of managers across the energy and utilities sector, the coaching-led consultancy, which counts OVO and Affinity Water among its clients, polled respondents about their ability to manage the impact of disruptive forces on the people they lead. The cost of living was the issue of greatest concern, followed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the implications of the energy transition (with 61% and 62% respectively stating they are concerned about these issues).

The findings highlight the challenges that leaders within this industry are facing and presents solutions – such as coaching and other HR interventions – that can be deployed to support the workforce. Positively, an overwhelming majority (90%) of respondents highly rated their leadership team’s ability to facilitate learning and development. Coaching was also widely deployed, with 72% of managers having recently provided coaching to the people they lead.

Mental wellbeing emerged as a key theme, with 40% of managers citing poor employee mental health as a challenge in maintaining performance, and 42% stating that wellbeing and mental health support would help them to lead. On this and other issues, differences emerged between middle and senior management, and only 3% of senior managers at E&U firms stated that they had not experienced any difficulties in maintaining team performance.

Although coaching and L&D (Learning & Development) are generally highly valued (with 90% of E&U managers stating that they would find coaching useful and 84% said that a coaching style of leadership was important), a culture where coaching is genuinely embedded was only identified by just over half of respondents.

Trayton Vance, CEO and Founder of Coaching Focus, said, “Few industries are currently facing such an acute combination of disruptive forces as the energy and utilities sector, and these are set to mount further. Whatever the size of firm or job function, team agility and resilience will be particularly critical in ensuring companies and employees can weather the storms. From our research, a picture emerges of a sector that appreciates the importance of coaching and empowered cultures, but has a way to go in embedding these practices and accessing the tangible benefits.”


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