employee development

Want to be a Better Boss? Make Employee Development a Priority.

Fulcrum Labs
123 posts

When it comes to training and development at work, managers have a big role to play. In fact, according to a 2016 Gallup poll of Millennials, almost 90% say they value “career growth and development opportunities.” Additionally, managers are critical to the experiences that younger employees have at work, accounting for “at least 70% of the variance in engagement scores.”

It’s not news that bosses can make or break a job. For example, we know that:

People leave managers, not companies – A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses and not the position itself.

A good boss can be more valued than a pay raise – A recent study says that 56% of employees would turn down a 10% raise to stay with a great boss.

We also know that when it comes to developing more productive, skilled workforces, management is key:

Great bosses boost productivity – Great managers boost employee productivity by an average of 11% per employee, and have lower turnover on their teams.

And finally, we know that employees want their managers to communicate with them about their performance, offer tips for improvement and show that they value their contributions. In fact, the research found that employees who strongly agree with the following four items in Gallup’s signature Q12 engagement survey were twice as likely to express job satisfaction:

  • “There is someone at work who encourages my development.”
  • “In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.”
  • “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”
  • “At work, my opinions seem to count.”

Clearly, development is a significant component to morale, employee retention and productivity. And it’s something that each manager should prioritize with his or her employees. In fact, in a recent Harvard Business Review article, Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and the author of The Superboss Playbook, argues that exceptional leaders don’t leave it to HR to create career progression programs for their team members. Rather, they personalize their coaching, support, and teaching efforts.


“They don’t just track the big learning opportunities granted to their employees. They also understand the nuances of how people are growing week-by-week and month-by-month and adjust their actions accordingly. As a result, they keep their teams engaged and excited.” – Sydney Finkelstein


But tell a manager that she or he needs to invest more time into training and you’ll likely get some pushback. Tell them that they need to track this level of granularity, and they just might walk out of the room. That’s because managers already have a lot on their plates. Adding more ownership over employee development might seem like a bridge too far.

But that’s exactly what makes some new of the training technologies hitting the market so interesting. For example, our AI-powered adaptive platform is easy to set up, easy to use and can be deployed outside of the mainstream HR or L&D function (e.g. within specific teams or business units), so there’s low friction from the get go.

And once it’s up and running, it gives managers accurate read outs on exactly where their employees need to improve (weak spots and knowledge gaps), where they’re excelling (so managers can recognize their efforts), and even insight into their mindsets (for mentoring and coaching cues). And the platform gives all this detail and nuance within a simple dashboard – empowering leaders to customize the training and mentoring for their teams without a lot of heavy lifting or time-consuming analysis.


“When you embrace customized employee development, you become a far more effective and admired boss. You might even turn out to be an exceptional one.”

– Sydney Finkelstein


For the bosses who want to be exceptional – those who want to have a positive impact in the lives of their employees – but struggle for time, Fulcrum’s platform might be an ideal tool. To learn more about how Fulcrum can work within your organization and help you earn that “World’s Best Boss” mug, let’s connect.