How HR Technology Can Help Managers Become Better Managers

HR Tech Helping Managers Become Better

Your people managers are  “make or break” when it comes to your organization’s overall performance. A good manager aligns the team’s work to the business’s most important initiatives. They identify their top talent in order to recognize and reward their outsized contributions. And they help their teams build their skills through regular, timely coaching. On the other hand, your average and outright bad managers can be a significant cause of attrition

Your people managers must regularly have these crucial conversations with their reports: 

  • Quarterly goal setting
  • Alignment to top priorities 
  • Feedback and coaching 
  • Career development 
  • Personalized recognition 

Too many new managers don’t receive adequate leadership training. In fact, a Gallup poll found that only 40 percent of managers in the US feel their developmental needs are being met. Many of them feel uncomfortable giving and receiving feedback, so they avoid having these necessary conversations. 

Today’s workers expect more frequent feedback from their leaders. There are now five generations in the workforce, and in order to retain and develop this complex workforce they need to be talked to and coached much more often. That being said, even managers who hold weekly 1:1’s need reminders and guidance around how to conduct these crucial conversations. All too often, that 1:1 time is spent addressing the most pressing matters instead of touching important, future-focused topics. This is critical, as focusing conversations on future development rather than simply reviewing task lists boosts employee motivation and improves their performance. 

As companies increase their agility by adopting fluid, cross-functional teams, managers face new obstacles. They become less involved with their team’s day to day work, yet still must coach, recognize and develop them. To do this well, managers need transparent insights into cross-functional team progress and the ability to generate feedback from multiple sources. Another challenge is staffing these cross-functional teams. Most organizations struggle because they do not have current insights into the performance and readiness of the wider workforce. In fact, Deloitte research showed that more than 50 percent of executives believed it was easier for employees to find new roles externally than within their own companies. 

To help your managers be better managers, your organization needs to adopt a more continuous performance process, and stop relying on antiquated practices such as annual performance reviews. This continuous model is an essential part of increasing innovation and organizational agility. A complete program includes quarterly goal setting and ongoing alignment and ensures all of the crucial conversations happen on an ongoing basis. Importantly, it also provides the needed workforce insights to support internal mobility, skill development and succession planning. 

Adopting this new model of performance management is a big change for any company, and it requires support from technology that is robust, adaptable and flexible. HR technology is now directly supporting business productivity and this is especially true for performance management. This means it needs to be intuitive to use and seamlessly integrated into their everyday workflow. Josh Bersin identifies this as the “employee services layer,”  in HR Tech. He underscores this as the single most important investment HR teams can make. And by investing in these processes and tools, you equip your managers to align their teams around the work that matters and power those crucial conversations around progress and employee development. 

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Doug Dennerline

As Chief Executive Officer of Betterworks, Doug Dennerline brings deep experience leading high-growth enterprise software companies and businesses. He was previously CEO of Alfresco Software, held President and Director positions at SuccessFactors, and was an Executive Vice President of Sales, Americas and EMEA for Salesforce. Doug holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Arizona State University.


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