How To Develop Managers Who Champion Your Employee Experience

Fabian Sandoval

HR Analyst

31 May 2023

Wondering how to develop managers who champion your employee experience? Here’s everything you need to know.

Management used to be centered around supervising jobs done by workers. Nowadays, that’s simply not enough. Managers today must be ready to create an environment that promotes the wellbeing and satisfaction of their employees. Without managers that can do this, an organization’s long-term success and growth are in jeopardy.

This article will focus on the strategies and best practices to develop managers who can support employees and ensure the success of your business. 

First, assess your needs

Before you can train managers who champion your employee experience, you need to know the pain points in your organization. How do you educate your employees about the importance of mental health? How do you assess and track your employees’ mental wellbeing? What are the main causes of stress and burnout in your work environment? How do you approach mental health situations? 

You should be asking these questions so you and your team can identify the gaps before using the advice from the next sections for training. 

Develop emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is one of the most important attributes of a good modern manager. Developing emotional intelligence in your managers is thus an important goal. This is how to do it:

  • Encourage self-awareness: Teach your managers to understand their emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and triggers. Otherwise, all you’ll have is managers who just react to problems instead of preventing them. Self-aware managers make better decisions too. 
  • Improve social awareness: Managers should be trained to recognize and respond appropriately to the emotions and needs of their employees. Without this skill, they can’t build strong relationships with their workers.
  • Sharpen communication skills: Teach managers to communicate clearly and listen actively, and you’re halfway there. Effective communication equals increased trust and motivation among employees.

Foster trust and transparency

Everyone knows that trust is the foundation of any successful relationship. The benefits of trust are many, from increased employee engagement to improved job satisfaction and loyalty.

Here’s how to train managers to foster trust and transparency:

  • Open door policy: Train managers to be approachable and create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Without feedback, it’s hard to discover new problems.
  • Clear expectations: Employees should not misunderstand their roles and responsibilities. Managers should be taught to communicate expectations clearly and consistently. 
  • Reward honesty: Admitting mistakes should be considered a strength rather than a weakness. Ensure your managers understand that the workplace will thrive as long as employees feel comfortable taking risks and sharing their challenges with them.

Ask managers to give regular feedback and coaching

As long as managers maintain an open-door policy, promoting a positive culture of feedback and coaching isn’t difficult. Train managers in these areas so that feedback is always there for your employees:

  • Regular check-ins: Your managers must be taught to establish a routine of one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss progress and areas of improvement.
  • Constructive feedback: They also must know that their feedback has to be specific and actionable, so it’s actually constructive. Employees must understand what they are doing well and areas where they can improve.
  • Growth mindset: A fixed mindset means there is no room psychologically for improvement. The growth mindset allows for improvement and prevents workplace stagnation. 

Teach managers to empower their employees

Supportive managers empower their employees, which helps them stay productive and satisfied. Train your managers to use the following knowledge and skills to do so:

  • Delegate effectively: Make sure your managers know that to excel in their roles, they must be able to delegate tasks and responsibilities that align with employees’ skills and career goals. Trust is a two-way street. Delegating shows employees they are trusted and frees management to handle more important tasks. 
  • Supply the necessary tools: There are painful aspects to any job. Management must be taught to supply employees with software tools that eliminate or soften these painful aspects. Providing employees with tools and training that make their jobs easier is one of the best strategies you can use to make them feel appreciated.
  • Encourage problem-solving: Managers should be taught not to hold the hands of employees and not just provide answers. Employees who don’t use problem-solving on their own will see this skill diminish. It’s a skill that builds confidence, resilience, and a sense of ownership.
  • Resources and support: Employees need access to tools, training, and support to be successful in their roles. Your managers must be trained not to limit their budgets to the point of pain to their employees. This can mean moving money around from other endeavors. Or, if your business needs more resources, consider seeking additional funding. There are several strategies that business owners can use to secure enough funding, from donations and grants to investments and venture capital.

Prioritize every employee’s wellbeing

The wellbeing of employees should be a top priority for supportive managers. Workers who feel truly valued are more likely to stick around, and to be engaged and productive in their work. Here’s how to train your managers to prioritize employee wellbeing:

  • Work-life balance: Recognizing the importance of balancing work and personal life is necessary for successful management. There are several things to consider, including flexible work arrangements, regular breaks, and respecting employees’ time off.
  • Mental and emotional health: Provide managers with resources about the symptoms of stress, burnout, and mental health issues. They must be taught about stigma and protective factors, along with legal and ethical obligations to the employer.
  • Create a positive environment: A work environment that is inclusive, respectful, and collaborative, and where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and experiences, is the only kind of environment that is suitable for the modern workplace.

Managers must reward employee achievements

A huge part of your employee’s motivation is receiving recognition for their achievements. Management acknowledging employee accomplishments is extremely important. Here’s what to train your managers to do so they can create a great reward system:

  • Personalized recognition: Managers should be taught to tailor their recognition to the individual employee. This may include verbal praise, written notes, public recognition, or tangible rewards.
  • Be fast and specific: Recognition should be provided as soon as possible after the achievement. Managers should include specific details about the employee’s accomplishment and its impact.
  • Peer recognition: Create opportunities for employees to recognize and celebrate their colleagues’ achievements. It’s a surefire way of fostering a greater sense of camaraderie.

Encourage professional development

Managers must be trained to invest in employees and to help advance them professionally and financially. Of course, if you’re hiring contractors, it’s mainly financial advancement that will matter most to them. There are many options for paying independent contractors. As for direct employees, some good ways for your managers to support professional development are:

  • Identify strengths and interests: Managers who can identify employees’ strengths and career interests have found the first step to making them stronger and advancing their careers.
  • Training and development programs: Your managers must be told to give employees access to training, workshops, and other learning opportunities that align with their career goals.
  • Mobility and advancement: Management must be taught to support employees when they’re trying to climb the corporate ladder or explore new roles. This is how companies retain top talent and build an enviable internal talent pipeline.

Collaboration and teamwork should be a top priority

By developing a culture of collaboration, your managers can help employees build strong relationships, learn from one another, and achieve collective goals. Teach them to encourage collaboration and teamwork by:

  • Setting team goals: Managers must establish clear, achievable team objectives that encourage employee collaboration and cooperation.
  • Aiding team-building activities: Managers need to organize regular team-building exercises and activities that help employees connect on a personal level.
  • Promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing: They must encourage employees to share their expertise, insights, and experiences, which can help foster a sense of belonging and mutual support within the team.

Lead by example

Most of your employees are looking for a leader who they can follow. The only true way to lead is by example.

To successfully develop managers who champion your employee experience, teach them to model the behaviors, values, and attitudes they expect from their teams. This includes but is not limited to, empathy, open communication, and prioritizing wellbeing while rewarding achievements. 

Invest in manager training and development

Invest in management training and development programs that focus on developing the skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to lead effectively and support employees in general. Some elements of manager training and development programs may include:

  • Leadership skills: An obvious skill for managers is effective leadership techniques. These include: setting clear expectations, delegating tasks, and providing guidance and support to employees.
  • Emotional intelligence: Equip managers with self-awareness, social awareness, and communication skills.
  • Conflict resolution: A manager that can’t navigate and resolve conflicts within their teams or promote a harmonious and productive work environment is doomed to failure.
  • Time management: Your managers’ time is precious. Help them become more efficient and effective in managing their own time and that of their team members.

Why develop managers who champion your employee experience? Culture is key

The key to creating a supportive and productive work environment is in the hands of your managers. Nurture the qualities and skills outlined in this article, and you’ll soon have a culture of support that comes from your managers, enhancing the employee experience and bringing better engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. 

The benefits far outweigh the costs, as good managers that contribute to their organization’s culture are worth their weight in gold.


By Fabian Sandoval

Fabian Sandoval is a project manager specializing in HR and workforce management for small-to-medium-sized businesses. He has over seven years of experience working with remote recruitment and employee productivity tools.