The effectiveness of managers is a major driver of employee engagement, and managers have a major impact on the morale and performance of their direct reports. Yet many managers often struggle to lead because they don’t have the skills to drive engagement and performance in the evolving workplace. As a result, many employees do not view their managers as strong leaders.
In fact, in our 2023 Manager Effectiveness Report, we found that only 37% of employees are impressed with their managers’ leadership abilities. Additionally, 27% of employees would be genuinely relieved if their manager left, and 40% of employees think they can do their manager’s job better.
While this is a manager/employee conversation, this relationship is important to HR, because it is managers who take the lion’s share of HR initiatives and translate them into meaningful action for their teams. Thus, a strategic leader knows how important it is to focus care and attention on the boss-employee relationship.
However, investing in manager training and development can seem like an expensive endeavor. In an age of tight budgets, many HR leaders are under pressure to do more with less, and may be hesitant to invest in manager coaching and training, as it is often seen as more of a “nice to do” job. have” than a need.
But here at 15Five, we challenge the notion that coaching and educating managers is a “nice to have”. In fact, we view manager effectiveness as a lever that, when invested in, can have a cascading positive effect on all other outcomes HR leaders are responsible for, such as improving employee engagement. , increase retention and drive high performance. And we believe that the HR leaders who will create a truly lasting impact and empower their organizations to thrive will be the ones who focus on developing managers and improving the manager-employee relationship.
How to develop the modern manager
So investing in manager development is important, but what does that actually look like in practice?
Allow continuous learning
While one-off manager development training seminars or workshops still have value, they often provide a barrage of information that isn’t retained long-term. Science backs this up: German scientist Herman Ebbinghaus developed the concept of Ebbinghaus forgetting curvewhich demonstrates how students forget 90% of the information they assimilate in a few weeks if it is not reinforced.
Why would anyone want to take the time to learn something if they are going to forget it all in a few weeks? And why would executives invest in something that doesn’t have a lasting impact?
A successful manager development program will be designed to occur in the workflow so that talent development becomes part of your managers’ daily work lives. Providing a range of development opportunities in a variety of formats (instructor-led skills intensives, 1-on-1 training, group training, etc.) is crucial. In addition, there must be mechanisms in place to help employees put into practice what they have learned.
Create experiential learning opportunities
“Invest in leadership development experiences that are emotional, sensory, and create a-ha moments”
Many manager development programs focus too much on the learning aspect of development and do not emphasize the doing enough part. Of course, the learning is great, but if managers are not able to translate those learnings into their actual day-to-day work, then the investment will have been wasted.
When managers undergoing leadership development and training can see what they are learning brought to life in their daily work through emotional and sensory experiences, they are more likely to create epiphanies and moments of wow. These moments make what managers have learned more difficult and more likely to be retained.
That’s why at 15Five we follow the Learn, Practice, Apply model, which helps managers retain new skills by learning, practicing and applying them in the workflow. First, they learn best practices and share knowledge in a virtual classroom. Then, they practice the learnings with expert coaches and trainers. Lastly, they apply behavior in the workplace.
Make learning happen in the workflow
For manager training initiatives to have real long-term impact, it is imperative that the learning is truly relevant to the work managers do in their day-to-day roles. That means designing training programs that address the challenges and responsibilities they face on a regular basis. For example, the training modules could be tailored to address specific issues managers frequently face, such as handling conflict, providing feedback, and helping your team members prioritize tasks. When the training is relevant to their actual jobs, managers can immediately apply what they have learned and witness the positive impacts of that application of new knowledge.
While some workplaces may be slower than others in adopting workplace technology, the events of 2020 forced many to throw that resistance out the window, as there’s no denying that technology makes the work happen.
When it comes to manager development, you need to carefully incorporate software that can enable your talent development initiatives and accelerate behavior change. Having software for things like face-to-face interviews, engagement surveys, and goal setting makes it much easier for managers to initiate and encourage employee engagement in these growth-oriented activities. And with software that can ping people and remind them to complete certain tasks, these activities become habits that are ingrained in the workflow.
When the training and coaching that occurs in the workflow is supported by the right tools, managers can apply what they are learning in real time to the tasks that are already most important to the business. For example, take the challenge of managers who struggle to help their team members prioritize tasks. Of course providing training on this is helpful. But what if managers could receive training on this topic? and Do they have access to a robust performance management tool that allows them to help employees set and track goals over time? With such a tool, managers not only have more support and context to match their learnings, but they also have the ability to actually track changes over time and see how their training translates into improvements. real in things like employee performance.
Speaking of technology, we have an exciting announcement to share.
Introducing Transform Tracks
By now, you may be familiar with Transform, our offering that provides training and coaching for modern leaders.
We are pleased to announce Transform Tracks. This new feature allows you to select and place courses in a specific order for participants. It is designed to empower you to create the unique curriculum your managers will follow so you can ensure your learning is aligned with the learning outcomes that are most important to your organization.
For example, suppose you want to create learning opportunities for new managers in your organization. You could create a “Manager 101” track that contains a series of courses intended to help new managers develop the skills that will help them succeed in their organization.
There’s also the option to get started right away with 15Five’s recommended tracks:
- Accelerator Manager
With topics like growth mindset, psychological safety, feedback, goal setting, strengths-based leadership, and role clarity.
- Manager Essentials
With topics like Performance Management, DEIB, Leading 1-on-1 Meetings, Coaching and Recognition.
Introduction to learning journeys
A learning journey is a way for a group of managers to experience learning together, in a cohort and an environment where they can encourage each other.
Within a learning journey, they’ll track what they’re going through with specific due dates assigned, so they know when they need to learn skills and can be sure to stay on track.
With learning journeys, you can select the paths you want participants to follow, and then add due dates and key milestones for your organization.
You may, for example, want people at similar levels in the organization to grow together. You could create a Learning Journey cohort for mid-level managers. You can also create cohorts by divisions or departments within the organization, such as a cohort of all sales managers, so they can empathize and share information with their peers.
Want to learn more about Transform? Schedule a demo today.