Building an On-Demand Support System to Smooth the Transition to New Manager

Whether it’s a new job at a new company, a new role thanks to a hard-won promotion, or a new responsibility added as a team expands, making the move to manager is a big transition.

For the employee, a change in status offers a change in opportunity, a chance to climb the ladder and be a part of even greater things. For the company, the change is meaningful too, as every change in leadership has the potential to alter a team’s performance — either for better or for worse.

Though everyone involved works hard to ensure the right candidate is selected for every management spot, there are no sure things when it comes to transitioning a front-line contributor into a manager. The customer or technical skills that once helped an individual rise above their peers may be of little use at the next level, where communication, planning, and leadership are more important.

Failing to make the transition is far from uncommon — studies indicate as many as 30%-60% of new managers won’t live up to expectations in their first two years in the role.


New Manager Training Programs Can Help — When They Are Available

All this hardly comes as news, of course. Organizational HR and learning and development teams have long understood the potential inherent in the transition to management, and by now many have implemented some form of new manager training program (although still not all — some 35% of organizations still don’t offer so much as a single Q&A session to help new managers learn the ropes).

For those teams that have developed manager transition training programs, the structure and delivery of those materials varies widely.

  • Some companies schedule intensive “boot camps” for new leaders, scheduling 3-5 days of classroom sessions meant to teach what the company expects of its management team members.
  • Some assign a mentor or coach to help guide new managers as they get their footing, establishing professional learning relationships that ideally last a lifetime.
  • And many offer a series of classroom sessions, scheduled retreats, and for-managers-only communications and presentations meant to ensure that even if every manager works a bit differently, they all work from the same knowledge base.

So why then, even as the majority of organizations offer some degree of new manager support, do so many fail to meet the challenge of the role? What’s not working?

It’s human nature to assume that when others are struggling, they just need more information. Just a few more tips or pointers, we think, and they’ll get it.

Problem is, for new managers, a common problem is simply that there’s already too much information. New managers are beset by input from trainers, coaches, and peers, not to mention their new manager and their new team. Adding more required learning to the list doesn’t solve that problem — but changing how you deliver that information can.

Supporting New Manager Transitions with Video Coaching

As companies put increased focus on preparing new managers for success, all too many only end up compounding the difficulties the new leader experiences — not for want of details, but for want of time. Bootcamps, classrooms, webinars — attending all these things eat up the precious hours new leaders need to spend bonding with their team and getting up to speed on where things are at and where they need to be.

Still — the information shared in those events is essential. What’s a development team to do?

The answer may be simpler than expected. When time is the challenge, make delivery flexible.

eLearning technology, especially video, has already enabled HR and L&D teams to support and scale training activities to worldwide audiences on-demand. That same supporting technology is a ready solution your team can use to give new managers more control over their onboarding experience, take charge of their development, and achieve greater balance between learning the ropes and meeting the team.

With video-enabled training materials available on-demand, new managers can quickly digest new information (learning at a rate much faster than possible by reading text alone), and can do so whenever fits their newly-bustling schedule (be it over lunch, on the morning bus ride into the office, or in the evenings after the kids are in bed).

Just as importantly, video-enabled training also opens new doors for ensuring new managers have the information they need.

  • Video materials help to support “push” learning, by giving development teams a resource that can be pushed out via email (or even a multi-part email drip campaign) to managers for review.
  • And video supports “pull” learning, serving as a resource that new managers can come back to over and over to ensure they understand the message. With the right video learning platform, your managers can even search your training videos for any keyword spoken or shown on-screen, for instant access to a relevant moment.


What Kinds of Training Videos Should Be Included In New Manager Training?

Exactly what information an organization shares as part of getting new managers up to speed will be unique — every company has different policies, different structures, and different objectives when it comes to showing leaders the ropes. That said, there are a few common categories of new manager training materials that are perfect opportunities to support with video:


Managerial Training
While they may be your most promising young employees and most knowledgeable team members, all new managers still have a host of day-to-day “how to be a manager” skills they’ll need to learn from scratch. Many companies rely on video to provide a reusable reference guide to:

  • Conducting an interview
  • Giving employee reviews
  • Disciplining employees
  • Accessing manager-specific benefits


Sharing Experience & Knowledge
When taking over an established team (whether as an internal promotion or an external hire), perhaps the single greatest determiner of a new manager’s success is how quickly they completely and accurately understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team and the work they are responsible for. To help new leaders get up to speed, many organizations are tapping the social learning potential of video to aid in executive onboarding:

  • Recording exit interviews with departing managers focusing on teaching their replacement what they’ll need to know
  • Sharing insights about the team from new colleagues, focused on helping the new manager see how their team fits within the organization
  • Providing process or technical overviews from subject matter experts
  • Giving quick access to level-approved information not intended for front line employees, including the specifics of growth plans or product and partnership development opportunities


Organizational Role Information
For many new managers, this role will be the first time they’ve been asked to get work done through their people rather than simply getting things done on their own. It’s a subtle distinction with a series of new skills to learn, many of which are the people-oriented “soft skills” schools are now only beginning to teach. As an HR or L&D organization, your company’s managers will often be the front lines in how your organization communicates with your employees — and video can be a surprisingly effective coach for teaching new leaders the right way to interact with and motivate their teams. Consider developing materials to coach managers on:

  • How to promote and support employee development
  • How to give and receive feedback
  • How to recognize outstanding effort
  • How to recognize and respond to problems with team dynamics
  • (If applicable,) how to the process of moving from peer to manager


Video Gives You the Tool You Need to Make New Manager Training Work

Employee training and communications teams have made video a core part of new hire onboarding. Yet while it’s video’s ability to scale globally that makes it so useful for onboarding front line hires, it’s the technology’s simple flexibility that make it such a valuable part of bringing those front lines super stars up to their new management roles. With video, the details your managers need are there whenever and wherever they need them — and that key points can be searched out and replayed over and over, on-demand.

Ready to see how your organization can help make sure every new hire — from the front lines to the corner office — has a great first day? Panopto’s enterprise video platform can help. Contact a member of our team today to schedule a demo or sign up for a free trial.

Published: July 29, 2015