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The manager sets the tone

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: prioritising employee development is essential!

Focusing on employee development improves performance by enhancing employees’ skills and competencies, increasing productivity. It contributes to a positive learning culture, which helps attract new talent and, more importantly, fosters loyalty among existing employees. It nurtures leadership skills, creating a strong leadership pipeline. Not to mention that it also retains skilled employees, avoiding the expense of hiring replacements. Lastly, prioritising employee development leads to better engagement and motivation among employees, benefiting both individuals and the organisation. So, we know that focusing on employee development is important, but how exactly do you implement it?


It all begins with the manager

Effective employee development begins with the manager. A Gallup survey found that “the quality of the manager or team leader explains at least 70% of the variance in team engagement.” As a manager, you’re leading your team to success, and success can only be met if employees are developing professionally and personally. To put it straight, the manager sets the tone. It’s true in many contexts. For example, in a team meeting, if the manager is in a happy, excitable mood, so is the team. If, however, the manager is unhappy, perhaps stressed, then again, so is the team.

It’s not just about the manager’s mood, however, but also about their approach to supporting their employees.


Let’s say you have two teams within a department. Jemma is the manager of Team A, and Gemma is the manager of Team B. Jemma is target-orientated with her team, and numbers on the board are the ultimate goal and focus. But because Jemma is so focused on the next best strategy to hit targets, they don’t have time for 1:1 meetings with team members, don’t spend any downtime getting to know team members outside of their job roles, and haven’t made any personal development goals with their team members.

Gemma, on the other hand, whilst still being focused on the productivity of their team, takes a different approach. Gemma sets time every week to have a 1:1 with each team member to provide feedback, learn about their successes and challenges of the week, understand what training or upskilling would help them out, and generally ask how they are. Because of this, Gemma knows exactly what is going on with their team and understands what the individuals need to be successful in their roles so that the team increases productivity and members enhance their careers.

Managers have so many roles to fill. Sometimes, it’s innate for you to connect with your employees on a personal level, and you relate with Gemma, but if that is not comfortable for you, you may relate with Jemma. Both sets of characteristics are “gems” for success, which is a lot to ask for in your managers. Add to it, most people who are managers rarely get the training required to do it right, even some of the time, no less every time. But don’t lose hope; management and development are not skills you turn on; they are skills you practice, and here’s why:


Why the manager needs to set the tone

If a manager dedicates time to their team member’s development and growth plans, the individuals will inevitably also dedicate more time to their development. It will motivate them to look up courses and discover lessons, skills, and practices to get to the next step, push a project to completion, or exceed expectations. Knowing they have a supportive manager who will help them on their development journey, anything is possible.

However, if a manager doesn’t set the tone of enhancing development within their team, employees will not necessarily see the importance of it, or even know when they can take time to focus on their development plans.

We live in the age of the deskless worker. Making up 80% of the global workforce, deskless workers can be found in any role and any industry, including technicians, managers, sales teams, construction workers, and service workers. However,  43% of deskless workers are currently looking for a new job. Simply put, deskless workers don’t get the same ‘face’ time with their managers, leading to poor development planning and overall motivation, causing low retention.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you have a team of 5 or 50, remote or deskless, employee development can always be made a priority. Let’s take a look at the simple steps your managers can take to help them make effective employee development a priority:


How to make employee development a priority

  1. Create a culture of continuous learning

One way to support employee career growth is to foster a culture of continuous learning. 94% of employees stated they would stay at the company longer if their employers invested in their careers. Providing employees with easy access to learning opportunities, such as eLearning, webinars, and workshops, is a great way to support their growth. Managers can also encourage employees to share knowledge and best practices with one another, creating a culture of learning and growth.

Kallidus makes learning and development easy so that employees, managers, and L&D teams can deliver growth for your business. Learn LMS is our award-winning, user-focused LMS that allows you to deploy, manage, track, and report on all types of learning, allowing your people to complete essential training, whilst driving self-led learning. The platform makes it easy for learners to learn but it also makes it easy for managers to develop their learners and to forge a culture of development throughout the business.


  1. Invest in performance management

When times are busy, performance reviews and feedback can easily get pushed back or even completely missed, especially in a dispersed and deskless workforce. However, it’s crucial to foster continuous performance management company-wide as it means managers invest time into your people and their individual career plans within the business. This, therefore, creates a greater sense of security for your workforce, increasing productivity and improving morale. Happy people = committed people. With performance management software, setting up and completing reviews has never been easier. Perform enables you to monitor performance continuously throughout the year, provide feedback, goal tracking, and create flexible reviews. Allowing both manager and employee to provide feedback and plan for growth, development has never been easier.

What’s more? With Kallidus, managers and employees are never surprised at performance review time. The objectives are synced with day-to-day progress and development so that when the time comes to complete a quarterly review, team members know exactly how far they have come and the manager knows too.


  1. Set weekly 1:1

More than 28% of workers said that 1:1 support from their manager contributes to their overall success and happiness at work. It makes sense! As mentioned earlier, 1:1s can be used to discuss how the week is going, if there are any issues on each side, and generally just for some time to chat – which is super important if you’re a deskless or remote worker and don’t get that regular face time organically. This improves communication with your team members on an individual level, showing investment in your relationship.

Effective communication allows both parties to create rapport and feel more at ease when conversations around feedback arise. Problems are solved proactively, giving both parties a chance to discuss the real peaks, and what mistakes you can learn from.


  1. Provide meaningful feedback

It’s time to normalise giving and receiving feedback. Encouraging and normalising feedback develops an honest and uplifting culture within your team and wider organisation, enabling people to truly enjoy their successes, whilst empowering growth. Investing time into regular feedback increases retention, with organisations achieving turnover rates that are 14% lower than those that don’t. Regular feedback = stronger employee relationships.


With these steps, you can foster a culture of continuous development throughout the organisation, helping your managers set the tone for their teams, and encouraging employees to grow.

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Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.


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