Why companies should invest in the manager experience
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
Today, several organizations have shifted their resources or technology investments to make a positive impact on the employee experience. For most companies, this usually means new perks and programs such as free lunch, new hire buddies, flexible time off, and training resources. While all these efforts are valuable, not every employee will be impacted by them in the same way. This is especially true for managers. They have a unique set of needs, but the manager experience is often overlooked when thinking about employee experience.
The manager experience is just as it sounds; it’s the employee experience of your organization’s managers. But, the manager experience is much more complex than the overarching employee experience because managers have different needs, expectations, and challenges each day. So, does a new hire buddy program really help to improve the manager experience the same way it improves the general employee experience?
The manager experience matters
At one point, Google was on a mission to prove that the quality of managers and managers themselves don’t really matter in terms of business success. Some of the organization’s leaders (ironically) thought managers were just another layer of bureaucracy. Well, they couldn’t have been more wrong. The study, in partnership with Project Oxygen, actually proved the immense value of managers in the workplace. Without managers, employees are left feeling directionless.
A big part of being a manager is motivating and supporting a team to drive business success from each individual contributor. This involves developing career goals, managing work contributions, communicating business strategies, and supporting employees through major life events. If these interactions are underwhelming or negative for direct reports, it most certainly affects their employee experience as a whole.
Even worse, if managers have negative attitudes or outlooks about the organization, that will surely rub off on their employees. In fact, managers’ own attitudes and engagement can account for 70% of the variance in their team’s engagement. This crucial element of a manager’s job can be hindered when they are not engaged themselves.
So, it’s clear that if you want to transform your employee experience, you have to start with the manager experience.
How to invest in managers the right way
Because managers contribute to business goal attainment, it’s important to appropriately nurture and support them. The question is, how? The best investments will support managers as they continue to develop their careers and grow within the organization. Remember, current managers can be future organizational directors and leaders.
1. Provide training resources
Managers, especially first-time managers, still have a capacity for learning to improve their performance and the performance of their teams. Even the best managers may have room to grow or a general interest to learn and improve. In any of those scenarios, it’s important to provide training resources to managers of all levels.
Online learning courses and in-person training events can be extremely impactful in helping managers to continuously improve themselves, and therefore improve the organization’s performance.
2. Solicit feedback
There’s no way to know how to help your managers if you can’t understand them or their challenges. That’s why it’s crucial to survey and solicit feedback from your managers. Managers in different departments may have different needs or challenges, or all your managers may have similar sentiments at an organizational level. Understand their challenges, suggestions, and feedback and take action to address them.
On the flip side, providing managers with the right resources and tools to evaluate their teams can be tremendously impactful. Enable managers to solicit feedback from their teams to stay on top of employee sentiment and to work more effectively.
3. Offer continuous career development
Becoming a manager does not mean career development should stop. For many people, achieving a management position is a hard-earned goal after years of dedication and diligent work. Employees’ career progression should not plateau after achieving this kind of goal.
Managers need support to grow just as much as any other frontline employees, but that may look a little different for managers. Rather than rotational career programs, managers may need a bigger voice in strategic leadership meetings. Instead of online learning courses, managers may need more hands-on experience developing your product roadmap.
In any case, managers need an elevated career development resource. Think a step ahead of your typical development resources and gather insights from your managers.
Rounding out the employee experience
Google couldn’t have been more incorrect in their study’s initial hypotheses. But, the results are an excellent reminder of the value and impact managers have. Bridging the gap between top level decision-makers and frontline workers, managers certainly have the power to enable business success, which is why a special focus on the manager experience is essential to a well-rounded employee experience.
Want to learn more about the manager experience? Enroll in Digital Employee Experience Week and receive one 10-minute video a day for a week. On Day 2, employee engagement consultant Jason Lauritsen will talk all about the manager experience.
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About Angela Maschio
Angela Maschio is a Product Marketing Specialist at PeopleDoc, Inc. She ensures customer communications and marketing materials related to the product are detailed, informative, and understandable to educate HR professionals on PeopleDoc’s value and capabilities. Before working at PeopleDoc, Angela worked in marketing in the HR technology industry.