Updated December 2022
How do people become supervisors, team leaders, and department managers?
More often than not, it's through promotion. They've put in the years, worked really hard, and slowly climbed up the corporate ladder.
Promotion through merit is a great thing. The only problem is, it rarely comes with training on how to actually manage people effectively. It can be really difficult to go from being part of the team to leading the team.
What's the best way to recruit and hire candidates? How can you increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover? How should you handle conflicts?
These are all fundamental human resources issues. And they're just a few reasons why basic human resources training should be mandatory for anyone taking on a leadership role.
Here's a closer look at how HR skills help managers succeed.
Better Hiring Practices
Hiring too quickly, and not using a reliable process for singling out the very best candidate for each role, is one of the most common HR mistakes managers make.
But if you're a busy manager who needs to fill a position quickly, it's very easy to fall into this trap. You meet a candidate you connect with easily, and on the surface, their skills appear relevant to the role—so you take the leap and make an offer.
Weeks, or maybe just days later, it's clear you've made the wrong decision. You missed clear warning signs that the person is not, in fact, a good fit for your team. Now you have to start all over again, having lost time, money, and productivity along the way.
Effective hiring demands a consistent, well-planned approach. Your strategy should include certain key elements, such as:
- A very clear description of the role you're looking to fill
- An effective recruitment plan
- A checklist to use during interviews
- A thorough review of applications, credentials, and supporting documentation (like letters of reference)
- A trial task candidates can perform so you can evaluate their skills
- Pre-screening to quickly rule out candidates who aren't a good fit
Basic human resources training helps managers understand what a good hiring process looks like and how to apply it to their specific field and circumstances.
When you think about how crucial it is to build the best possible team, it makes sense to rely on something a bit more scientific than gut instinct when signing new work agreements.
Lower Employee quit Rates
High employee turnover is a major productivity killer. It's also terrible for workplace morale. Why do employees suddenly up and quit their jobs? It almost always comes down to management.
And we're not just talking about horrible bosses who drive good employees away for obvious reasons.
Tons of research done on employee turnover points to a range of more subtle factors that push people out the door.
According to a piece in the Harvard Business Review, Why People Really Quit Their Jobs, these are three key reasons why employees jump ship:
- The work is not enjoyable or satisfying
- There were no opportunities to grow
- Their skills weren't being used
In all cases, the finger points directly at management as the responsible party. Ultimately, managers decide who does what, whose ideas get listened to, and who gets promoted.
These are tough decisions to make when you've got your own agenda, deadlines, and higher-ups to deal with.
On the other hand, ignoring employees' wants, needs, and true potential directly impacts the bottom line. This is the fastest way to lose talent and undermine your authority as a leader.
Once again, a little human resources training goes a long way to help managers set up structures for understanding and satisfying important employee needs. These include fundamentals like:
- Conducting regular and effective performance reviews
- Helping team members set and achieve key goals
- Offering training opportunities
- Listening carefully to employee feedback/ideas during meetings
- Cultivating a respectful work culture where each person feels valued
This is what managing a team is all about. Supervisors who learn and apply these HR fundamentals get the gift that keeps on giving: happier, better performing, more loyal team members.
More Effective Workplace Conflict Management
When should a manager get involved in a conflict between employees? And if they do get involved, what position should they take?
Many leaders take no action at all. Unless laws are being broken, they turn a blind eye to employee conflicts—sometimes even writing them off as petty disputes that don't warrant their attention and will resolve themselves.
And while it's true that minor disagreements usually run their course, deeper issues can fester and multiply when ignored by managers.
Like cancer, conflict can spread through entire departments and small businesses, creating a toxic work environment. Productivity and morale take a hit, and before long, talented people start looking for new jobs.
Contrary to popular belief, stepping in doesn't mean taking sides. Effective workplace conflict resolution is about mediating a resolution that both sides agree on.
It's about facilitating a dialogue between warring factions, getting to the real root of the problem, and helping those involved reach a mutually beneficial solution.
But again, this is a skill that must be learned. Quality HR training for managers always includes courses on mediating disputes, with a toolkit of techniques and resources leaders can use to resolve workplace conflicts.
To disagree is human. Managers need practical strategies for handling the inevitable, and ensuring employees feel listened to, respected, and safe at work.
An End to Micromanaging
Micromanaging is one of the biggest time-wasters and morale-crushers in the corporate world. Nothing tells an employee you don't trust their work or intelligence like micromanaging.
At the same time, we can't really blame managers for this one. Many have risen from team roles where they were used to carrying out important tasks all by themselves.
Handing those assignments over to someone else feels inherently frightening—maybe even irresponsible.
At the end of the day, the manager has to answer to higher-ups about whether goals were met. Isn't it better to oversee every little detail yourself, to make sure you hit those targets?
HR rules say no.
In fact, this is a very poor allocation of your human resources. If you've hired the right people, you must allow them to do their jobs—so you can focus on leadership tasks.
One of the most difficult challenges new managers face is trusting their team members to get their respective jobs done. But if you don't give them room to use their skills, learn, and grow, you'll end up committing one of those deadly management sins we talked about earlier.
And your top talent will simply walk away.
Learning how to delegate to your team is a fundamental HR principle. And yet another reason why human resources training should be mandatory for all managers.
Learn more about human resources training for managers
Does any of this resonate? Think you (or someone who works for you) could benefit from some basic HR training?
Explore the Human Resources Management certificate offered at Kompass. It's an online course you can complete in three to six months, depending on the pace you choose.
Instructors are HR experts with a wealth of practical tools and knowledge to share with managers.
Click below to see complete course details and chat live with an advisor. We're here to help.