It’s no exaggeration to say that your people managers make or break your organization’s performance. They form the critical layer of connective tissue between the strategic priorities of your business and the employees who execute them and play an outsized role in motivating employees and improving the performance across the workforce. Good managers align their teams around the most important initiatives, ensure progress towards individual and team goals with continuous coaching and feedback, recognize and reward top talents’ contributions to the business, and ensure every employee has a career development plan.

Put simply, managers are the linchpins that can unlock greater levels of performance across your entire organization. But is your organization giving these essential people the tools, training, and development that they need to reach their full potential?

To help reveal more about the critical role managers play and help forward-thinking leaders understand how to boost their impact across the organization, Betterworks has just released our second report based on insights from our 2018 Continuous Performance Management® Survey. This report, which includes data based on responses from 379 non-HR people managers and 377 HR professionals working within US-based enterprises across industries, addresses all aspects of the management process from organizational goal alignment, manager/peer feedback, career development and recognition processes to best practices and technologies, including effectiveness in achieving desired business outcomes.

“This research underscores the critical role that people managers play in the overall success of any organization and the urgent need for HR to support them,” said Doug Dennerline, chief executive officer at Betterworks. “This includes coaching and guiding them around having the crucial conversations of setting and aligning goals, giving and receiving feedback, and recognizing and developing everyone on their team.”

Key Finding: HR and Managers Evaluate Managers’ Skills Very Differently

Our research revealed that while HR professionals and people managers agree that managers are the key to unlocking greater levels of performance, there is a significant disparity between managers’ self-assessments around the quality of their coaching and feedback and how HR evaluates their abilities.

Overwhelmingly, the survey found that managers hold a high opinion of their ability to coach and provide feedback to their team. 89% of managers surveyed agreed that their boss would say that they are doing a good job coaching or mentoring, while 76% are confident that they know how to best coach their team. Additionally, 87% agreed with the statement, “I am a good coach.”

HR professionals, on the other hand, hold a very different view of manager’s abilities. Most reported that they see significant inconsistencies in manager performance, with 89% responding that some managers are better than others at having the right conversations and the same percentage expressing a belief that some managers are innately more talented.

Overall, HR pros tended to give their manager’s abilities significantly lower overall ratings, with fewer than ⅓ of them ‘strongly agreeing’ that:

  • Their managers do a good job coaching and developing their teams
  • Their managers know how to best coach their teams
  • Their employees find their manager’s feedback helpful
  • All of their employees have a career development plan

Key Finding: Managers Want to Improve, and Expect HR to Provide the Training and Tech to Facilitate This

While managers gave themselves high scores, they also overwhelmingly (90%) expressed a desire to improve their skills. Of those managers surveyed, 65% wished they had access to better systems to collect feedback, both from their teams and their peers. But despite wanting to better their skills, most managers also communicated a lack of support from HR in making these improvements. Just 35% of managers strongly agree that HR is doing a “good job” of supporting them, while more than half stated that they don’t have the tools they need to improve.  

To address these concerns, HR leaders see improved technology as a means to guide managers toward having the continuous conversations necessary for sustained employee motivation:

  • 87% of HR leaders believe their managers would benefit from tech that would help them solicit and manage feedback
  • 84% say those managers would benefit from technology to help them have the relevant conversations they need to be having with their employees
  • 82% say that technology reminds managers to have relevant conversations about performance and development with employees on a regular basis

Development is just as important for managers, if not moreso. Too often new managers are thrown into their roles without adequate training, so when developing and implementing your performance management process it’s imperative that HR spends time helping each manager understand the coaching and development elements of their role. Over the coming months, Betterworks will continue to release additional collateral based on Survey findings, organized around helping HR teams and business leaders achieve critical business objectives.

Get your free copy of the second research report from Betterworks’ 2018 State of Continuous Performance Management Survey for more insights around the tools and tactics you need to help your managers become better managers.