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The Employee Experience Platform | Culture Amp
5 ways HR teams can help support and develop their managers
Sophia Lee, author

Sophia Lee

Writer, Culture Amp

It’s clear that HR plays a major role in developing managers and leaders. But, despite the team’s wealth of knowledge, manager training and development remains an untapped resource. 

Research shows that managers directly impact employee engagement and satisfaction levels within a company. Managers recognize this responsibility, but 90% report they need better support and coaching from their HR teams for proper manager training.

Find out how HR and people teams can proactively offer support to managers and cover several key areas where they could play a major role. This strategy is mutually beneficial, offers more routes for cross-team collaboration, and helps managers of all experiences succeed. 

How better manager training helps the company succeed 

While HR has access to resources that managers need, managers also have insights into day-to-day employee sentiment and feedback that HR may find valuable. Additionally, managers and HR tend to have overlapping goals such as performance, retention, or wellbeing. Meeting those joint goals benefits HR, the managers, and the company.

Here are a few key areas where HR can be especially helpful: 

1. Training opportunities

What makes a good manager? Like any other skill, it takes training and practice to become a great manager. Unfortunately, more than half of managers report that, despite wanting to improve their skills, they aren’t provided the tools to do so. Given that HR teams are the gatekeepers to learning and development, they have the ability to connect managers – especially those who are new to the role – with key manager training. These can touch on many different skills, from brushing up on communication skills to learning how to give actionable feedback.

That said, training opportunities shouldn’t only be reserved for new managers. HR can also help experienced managers become more effective leaders. For instance, let’s say one of your managers is feeling overwhelmed because their team just scaled rapidly. You can offer training on how to manage diverse teams or recommend a course on how to maintain productivity while overseeing a larger group.

2. Performance reviews

The HR team is ultimately responsible for overseeing performance reviews. However, in order for the process to be successful, managers must be aligned on the implementation. This requires HR and managers to work hand-in-hand. What does this look like in practice?

First, HR should explain exactly how performance reviews work, and provide guidance on how to give direct feedback – especially since 37% of leaders report being uncomfortable with giving direct feedback about their employee’s performance. Inversely, managers can give HR insight into performance reviews, where they’re working well, and where they could use improvements. 

3. The employee experience 

Designing a consistent employee experience can have a significant impact on many aspects of an organization, such as engagement, retention, recruiting, and even the bottom line. However, creating this type of unified employee experience is a huge team effort that requires the buy-in of HR, managers, and team members.

Let’s look at onboarding as an example: onboarding is a key part of the employee experience, and when done right, it has been shown to improve new hire retention rates by 82% and productivity by 70%. At Culture Amp, many people are involved in onboarding a new Camper, from managers to people operations members and designated onboarding coordinators. Getting everyone aligned with the process and sharing the responsibility has helped our teams create a more engaging and scalable onboarding process.

4. Goal setting

Goal setting and goal alignment are critical to organizational success. A recent study found that companies that more closely align goals across their organization enjoy much higher levels of financial success. Another study found that setting goals boost employee productivity that can be fiscally measured: it results in a $9,200 increase for people with an average salary of $50,000.

Given that HR teams and managers have shared goals, it’s essential that they work together to make sure those goals are aligned. HR can help managers set SMARTER goals by providing more clarity and context. For instance, if a manager is trying to establish team goals around retention, HR has access to existing data and benchmarks that would help ensure the goals are realistic and attainable. Similarly, managers can make sure the goals they set are contributing to broader HR and people operations objectives.

5. Employee challenges

Unfortunately, managing doesn’t come without the occasional obstacle. Roadblocks and crises are areas in which HR can be tremendously helpful to managers and enable them to navigate complex issues they may not have previous experience with. These challenges can range from managing low-performing employees to compliance issues and employee benefits. 

HR and managers can work together and be proactive about the cultural challenges employees might face. Say a manager notices that their team is starting to show signs of burnout. The HR team could work with them to introduce effective wellness programs to combat this problem before it becomes a widespread issue across the organization.  

HR can play a huge role when it comes to helping managers achieve their goals, and doing so will ultimately benefit everyone involved. While managers are encouraged to reach out to HR when they need support, there’s a lot that HR teams can offer proactively to support leadership. We encourage you to follow the five tips outlined above to strengthen your relationship with managers.

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