What You Need to Know About Developing Your First-Time Managers

You believe you’ve identified the perfect employee to fill a management role at your business. Now what? 

Unfortunately for many first-time managers the next step is figuring out how to lead or manage people without being provided with formal leadership training. In other words, “winging it.”

According to The Ken Blanchard Companies’ First-Time Manager Survey, 85% of managers receive no training prior to switching to the role of manager.

Neglecting to onboard new managers can:

  • Set up your rookie manager for failure 
  • Cause them to develop poor managerial skills that they’ll carry throughout their career
  • Affect your productivity and profit 
  • Lower employee engagement and retention (A Gallup study of more than 7,000 U.S. adults revealed that 50% had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.)

Setting your first-time manager up for success

Just because someone has been a top performer at your business doesn’t mean they have all of the skills required to make them a successful manager. And they shouldn’t be expected to be proficient in all required leadership skills in their first management position. The good news is that if you invest in your new managers and give them the right tools and training to do the job they can positively impact employee engagement, retention, productivity, and company profit.

  1. Have a transition period. Ideally, if you have a great manager leaving your organization on amicable terms, your new manager could shadow him for a period of time before taking over the reins. This isn’t always possible, however. Allow them to attend managers’ meetings or job shadow exemplary managers from other departments. If you work in hospitality, have them work alongside a manager on a different shift. There is no substitute for hands-on learning.
  2. Onboard them to leadership. All employees should have been onboarded when they started with your company. If someone is transitioning to management they will need to go through management-specific onboarding training, such as hiring, employee scheduling, performance reviews, approving time cards, and disciplinary action. Also, if it’s been several years since your new manager was hired, it’s helpful for them to attend a new hire orientation as a manager to know what is expected of new employees.
  3. Mentoring matters. While onboarding serves as an orientation to the training new managers need, mentoring is a long-term investment in your new manager’s success. Identify a well-respected leader within your organization to meet with your new manager regularly and share real-world experiences. Topics such as motivating a team, having tough conversations, and managing time are critical to discuss in a mentoring relationship. It’s also important that mentors are available to answer questions from their mentees. One option is small mentorship groups where seasoned leaders are huddling with less experienced managers over coffee or a meal.
  4. Cultural competency. Managers are cultural ambassadors by example. Now is the time to review and make clear the organization’s values so the manager is clear in communicating them by word and deed to their team.
  5. Outside help. There are a wealth of resources outside of your walls to help develop your talent. These include books such as The First-Time Manager and The New One Minute Manager that could be discussed in your mentoring groups. There are also online management courses through organizations such as The Ken Blanchard Companies. While these may complement what you’re already doing, remember only you can train to your organization’s culture.
  6. Time-saving tools. Managers can get bogged down in paperwork and time-sucking tasks like scheduling and leave requests. Having an outsourced payroll and HCM partner can help everyone get their time back. If you already are using payroll and HCM software make sure you give your new manager the appropriate access and training.

In Your Corner

We work with executives, managers and HR professionals every day and we understand the challenges you face. While we can’t solve all of your problems, our payroll and HCM solutions can make many aspects of your job easier, giving you some of your time back. If you’d like to learn more about how we can partner with you to simplify your processes, schedule a free 30-minute assessment with us.