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How to develop managers with the skills and tools they need to succeed

In 2022, managers’ roles look a lot different to how they did five years ago. They’re facing new challenges like hybrid working, remote recruitment, and shifting work behaviours. As a result, many don’t feel like they have the tools and skills they need to lead productive teams. In fact, Microsoft recently reported that 74% of managers said they don’t have the resources to make change for employees.

HR leaders have a responsibility to support the development of their managers – and any potential future managers – to ensure they have everything they need to keep teams motivated, whether they’re working in person or remotely.

In this blog, we’ll look at why managers are so important and how you can build an organisation that supports them. We’ll also share some of the best tools you can equip your managers with to help them get the most from their teams.

What impact do managers have on their teams?

Managers have a responsibility for their direct reports’ wellbeing, performance, and motivation – all factors that drive positive employee experiences, and successful individual and team outputs. For example, Gartner research found that managers who drive sustainable performance can help develop employees who are 17% more productive and 1.7 times more likely to stay at their organization than other employees.

But despite how valuable managers can be, they aren’t being nurtured effectively in many organisations. Another Gartner report revealed that 24% of HR leaders believe they don’t effectively develop mid-level managers – which is an even bigger problem considering the new working challenges and growing responsibilities managers face.

For organisations to be successful into the future, HR leaders need to prioritise supporting their managers’ development and streamlining their responsibilities to help them lead productive and efficient teams.

How to nurture successful managers

Creating an effective environment for managers to grow and lead their teams requires support from the very top of your organisation. Your CEO and board members will set the baseline for what’s expected from managers, and managers will look to them for support when they need it.

Senior leaders in your organisation will also be responsible for establishing and refining your approach to behavioural and performance-based rewards. With a consistent, fair reward framework to work from, managers will be empowered to remunerate and reward their team members more effectively – and there’s less likelihood of discrepancies among different managers in your organisation.

You can also nurture successful managers by ensuring you have the right people in managerial roles and beyond. With the right succession development tools, you can identify employees with the skills and potential to become effective managers in your organisation, which can even inform your recruitment plans.

And to help build on the skills current and potential managers will need, you can adopt learning management systems to develop softer, more human skills – which, according to 84% of HR leaders, will be more important for managers in hybrid settings.

Soft skills like communication and empathy can help build stronger working relationships, and establish a shared sense of belonging, community, and trust between managers and their direct reports. This is especially important, as nearly 80% of employees who highly trust their employer feel more motivated to work.

Equipping your managers with the tools they need

In addition to consistent training and development opportunities for your managers, you can equip them with specific tools to help them get the most out of their teams, and manage their own workloads and responsibilities.

In 2020, 1 in 4 companies adopted new technologies to passively monitor their employees, in turn helping managers to lessen their manual workload. For example, a performance management system can help your managers get a clearer view of their team’s performance and cut out some of the additional work associated with overseeing employees.

Using the right performance management system, managers can set goals, identify their best performers, and link employee performance to rewards – automatically visualising the information they need to recognise great work, better motivate their teams, and retain talent throughout their organisation. Plus, it can give managers more time to spend on the development of their direct reports, which currently only makes up 9% of their time.

For new generations entering the workforce, these factors will be incredibly important. Gen Z list positive feedback and recognition, and a manager who will help advance their career, as two of their top five priorities while looking for jobs.

Empower your managers

If you’d like to learn more about how you can develop and equip your managers to lead productive teams, we have consultants with decades of HR experience across a wide range of sectors – just get in touch to see how we can help.

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