4 Ways Managers Can Support Employee Development

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In today’s fast-paced workplace, employees are eager to learn and develop new skills. And while
employee-led development is taking off, managers still play an active part in driving development.

Think of managers as coaches who can guide their direct reports, and create the culture that supports and encourages development. Having a manager who brings development into the conversation, and vocalizes a desire to help employees grow, will establish the right environment for employees to pursue improvement.

CEB found that “a lack of future career opportunities is the number one reason why people quit their job.” So if managers don’t foster a development-focused culture then employees won’t see that as an option for them in your company, and will look elsewhere to find an environment that does nurture their desire to improve.

This is why it’s important to involve managers in the development conversation, and we’ve outlined four ways that they can support their directs.

Guide managers to have meaningful conversations with employees

Separate from performance review conversations, have managers check in quarterly with their directs to talk through the past quarter’s achievements and blockers. By looking back, managers can help directs create a develop plan for the next quarter that addresses skills that need to be improved. It will be up to the direct to execute the plan, but manager involvement helps guide the direct and hold her accountable.

Talk about goals, and use goal alignment to help guide employee progress

This goes hand in hand with meaningful conversation. Goals set intention and are the actionable component of meaningful conversations. Creating development goals helps employees stay focused on making progress towards those skills they want to improve. By including goal alignment, managers set up employees for success.

Guide managers on how to give constructive, actionable feedback

Support managers by providing feedback templates they can use to give constructive and useful feedback to employees. Templates are the base for providing quality feedback in a digestible and actionable format. Using a template is less daunting than filling in a blank text box, and takes the guesswork out of the feedback process.

Ask for feedback throughout the year to combat forgetfulness and gain a holistic view of an employee throughout the year

Many organizations are using teams that come together for a project and then disperse afterwards. This means that the best people to ask feedback from will change, so getting feedback when the work relationship is freshest in their minds will help ensure managers are looking at more quality feedback that will provide accurate insights on the employee.

By collecting feedback throughout the year, managers can also ensure a smoother transition between old and new managers. New managers will come in having a good sense of an employee’s abilities if they are able to read feedback collected throughout the previous months.

Creating a culture that supports employee development starts with managers. Without their involvement, employees are left without a clear direction forward and will feel limited. Including managers in the process provides employees with the supportive framework they need to feel comfortable pursuing development.

To learn more about how to successfully create a culture that supports employee development, check out this webinar on Creating a Culture of Continuous Feedback & Development