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Bite-Size Insights: How can companies develop truly excellent managers?

Dec 15, 2020 | 00:00

00:00 00:00

Episode Description

On this bite-size, we’re joined by Emplify CEO and CoFounder Santiago Jaramillo to discuss the new way of thinking about talent development. Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Yet, managers tend to be one of the most under-resourced and under-supported roles in the company. Santi is here to help us understand how companies can develop truly excellent managers.

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Episode Transcription

Hey Insights listeners. Nicole here, and thanks for joining me for this week’s Bite-Size Insights. Empowering people leaders with best in class information in ten minutes or less.

Emplify recently launched a new webinar series where each week we’re talking with experts on topics like fostering remote cultures, developing your talent and creating a practice of gratitude. To register, visit

On this bite-size, we’re joined by Emplify CEO and CoFounder Santiago Jaramillo to talk about the future of talent development. Santi is here to answer the question, “How do we develop truly excellent managers?” Let’s hear what he has to say.

There's some things that have changed around the future of talent development and talent development is a very broad phrase that's used for so many things. And we're going to be speaking directly to this today or where we see this going. We at amplify have the privilege of having collected millions of data points about, uh, employees and in what creates the engaging in high-performance environments. And we're learning that how great companies and HR leaders are thinking about creating high engaged high-performance teams has changed. See before they used to think about it through this lens of survey and compliance employee engagement, where maybe they would do a top-down survey, which is great to get data.

And then no doubt, but it was really this HR, um, project. Th the managers weren't really bought in with many times. And so then the, the actions that came from the data would then be on the manager and they would often kind of reluctantly comply with this and, and sort of do what they needed to check the box from the survey.

And well, certainly doing that is, is more effective than, than not doing a survey at all the best companies, right? The upper core tile of highest engaged workforces that we see and the best HR leaders think about this from a different lens. They think about it from the lens of manager excellence. How do we create and foster and grow truly excellent managers, not just in our executive team, not just in middle management, but in those, in every single people supervisory role in the company and up, we're going to talk about exactly what that means here.

Well, why is this happening? Why is this change occurring? Well, this change is occurring because managers, whether you're an executive HR people, ops professional managers are the key. Managers are the key lever point by which anything can be moved in an organization. It's the key to creating nurturing high-performance teams.

And it's only been more true in the last six months, but this has been true for some time. See what people used to want was compensation and benefits as the number one thing, why they would go work and you'd go for a paycheck and stay for paycheck and pension and job security, people would stay for decades at an organization.

Now. Cultural values, leadership and management and growth and development, all rate as more important to somebody's choosing to go somewhere and staying and committing their full engagement to that job. And when we look at the employee experience, graft, no doubt in yellow, HR plays a significant role in the candidates and pre higher and higher.

And sometimes you have an onboarding experience, but past that initial onboarding, it's truly an overwhelmingly the manager that is responsible for so much more of the employee experience, touch points. And so here we are. Yeah, HR being kind of left alone to do a survey, then they actually need managers, sexually fixed things.

Most of the fixes and the solutions, and then the change is needed at the manager level. And so therein lies some of this tension. And so, which is why companies are looking at this manager excellence frame. Because they see that managers are so much more, much more so than ever, right? When you're talking about virtual and remote workforces and the office experience has gone, and the water cooler moments with other coworkers has gone when we have more things pulling at us as people and as employees and as humans, uh, pulling us away from work, whether it's social, political pandemic, e-learning related reasons.

So now the manager's job is harder than ever, and it's more important than ever. And HR plays a remarkably important and critical role in helping develop those managers. And that's how the best leaders are thinking about it. But if you're not investing in manager excellence, especially in this VUCA world that we live in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, where managers are equipped to, to me, I'm going to make their own decisions.

You're doomed. It's, it's going to be really hard to succeed as an organization. Without this. We know that people join companies, right. Leave managers. We know that. So number one reason why people stay or go. We know that from Gallup and our own data, that 70% of employee engagement variability is accounted for by a single driver.

It's the relationship between the manager and the employee. Yeah. It's because of that. 60% of managers fail in the first two years of their job. That is really, really painful. Despite most senior executives saying that manager development is key, but so few of them think that the, what they're doing today is actually effective effectively.

There's really three ways that this lack of manager actions place at an organizations, great managers don't grow. And so they leave because that's really important to them to keep on growing and developing. Or many times you promote that really amazing individual contributor into a place of management.

And we don't surround them with, with training and support, and then they start wreaking havoc across the organization, despite their best intentions or, Hey, any of you have been held back by a manager before. Where everything else has been the role, the comp has been there, the company purpose. But if that relationship with a manager isn't there even high performance will struggle.

And eventually to part the organization to go to a place where they can do their best work, but it's really hard at scale. Right? Why do we think it's important? Most of us don't feel like we're being effective at it. It's hard. It's hard to do at scale specifically when you have more than one or two or five or 10, some of you have hundreds or even thousands of managers, how do we do this?

We have to answer all these questions to get it right. How do we actually get managed to own their own development and to really own it and drive it? So some of themselves, how will we gain C-suite alignment that this is something that's worth investing in and that these managers should focus on these areas of their development.

How do we actually create personalized development? Because what I need as a manager is different than when Nicole needs as a manager, we're at different people with different growth paths and giving us the same lesson is going to be a waste of time, probably for one of us, maybe two of us. And so how do we create personalized development plans that specifically address.

The thing that I'm going through right now that I have energy and focus around fixing right now, just not just this generic 17 competencies of manager excellence. And then lastly, and maybe most importantly, how will we know what's working when, as we invest in focus and energy and time and money into this, how do we know that managers are actually becoming more excellent?

And, you know, we, we looked around and saw that no one was bringing this together. You have folks that can give you data like performance management or employee engagement, survey data on the left. And that's great. You need to place of data to begin from and on the right. You'll have folks that are trying to improve managers via coaching platforms or, or learning and training.

And those are great too. But on the left-hand side, we're just. Looking at data that tells us what's wrong over and over and not really equipped to actually solve it. And on the right hand side, we're just trying to solve things without really understanding. What's truly lacking. What's the best growth area to focus on.

It's not grounded on a personalized development plan. And then even if it is, where's the accountability and the follow through for support for those new skills and new practices to actually take hold and truly change behavior sustainably. So the first bit is we have to start with data, gather important context.

That's the, we create a shared context. That's how we align executives of this matter. That's how we figure out what managers needs, what we start with an employee engagement measurement. And we understand we're able to see that measurement by manager. And then we analyze that data. And again, those companies that are doing this best, get aligned around what a few key focus areas and a few key managers that have an outsized impact.

If we could help improve them. After that, it's really important to have a consultant, somebody third party that can help facilitate the executive discussion around this and really get aligned around this. And then this is the fun part. We create personalized development paths for those managers based on specifically what showed up from the data.

And then we're going to give them a human coach to actually develop and change. I know that the times in life where I've really needed to change something about how we're showing up, it's been done through coaching because it actually drives change in me because I'm owning what I'm doing.

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