L&D Can Help Managers Develop Their Employees

L&D Can Help Managers Develop Their Employees

In the first year of my HR career, my manager asked me to attend an HR conference. She specifically pointed out sessions she wanted me to attend and explained why she thought they would be important for my development. She also illustrated how the information would be valuable to the company and some of our upcoming priorities. I was excited about the development opportunity and how I could contribute to the company’s priorities, but most of all, I felt excited that my manager wanted me to learn and grow in the field of HR. Me! I was elated that my boss wanted me to develop. I was motivated and did not want to let her down.

Just like my first manager motivated me to want to develop, when a manager encourages their employees to develop, it makes employees feel valued. It shows that not only the manager but the organization is interested in their growth and contributions to the company. Managers can motivate their employees in many ways and L&D can make it easy!  It is well established that employees who are motivated to develop their skills will develop their skills.

Here are 4 ways that managers can help their employees to develop and the simple ways L&D can make it easy for managers to encourage, recognize, and manage professional development.

1. Encourage Development


Managers need to encourage and point out opportunities for development. They need to be creative and show employees the different ways to develop and how this development will help them and the company.


Make sure your managers understand the full list of ways employees develop. Managers cannot encourage development if they don’t understand all of the different ways for employees to develop. Employees develop in many ways, such as taking online or IL/VIL courses, reading professional journals, special project assignments, mentoring or training another employee, researching a topic or new process, job rotation or additional job responsibilities, attending a conference, and developing a network inside and outside the organization. Make sure your managers understand all the different ways and are comfortable applying the different tactics at the right time.

2. Recognize Development


Managers need to recognize the employee for development and the increased contribution to the team and organization. When managers reinforce development with praise and feedback, they are encouraging the employee to continue to develop. Use a combination of public and private recognition. Recognition includes:

  • Mentioning the development experience in a team meeting
  • Mentioning the development to other leaders, while the employee is in earshot
  • Congratulating the employee via email or through social collaboration tools
  • Asking the employee what they learned
  • Asking the employee to present the findings of their research


Make sure managers understand all of the different public and private ways they can recognize development achievement. Then, make it easy for managers to recognize employee development after the completion of the training or development activity. Here are a few tips:

  • When an employee completes a course or a workshop, harness the LMS’s ability to send an email notification to the manager showing the name of the employee and the name of the course or workshop completed. Make it even easier by having the email mention the learning objectives of the course or the workshop. We will show you how to add to this email in the next section on showing the link between development and personal performance.

3. Show The Link Between Development And Personal Performance

Many companies use an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP identifies the employee’s development opportunities and often identifies solutions for that development.


When managers and employees complete the IDP, the manager can continue the discussion and point out the benefit for the employee. Employees are more willing and motivated to complete the development when they understand the “What’s In It For Me.”


Consider adding to the LMS’s auto-email from the last point. The email template can include questions that the manager can ask the employee about the training and these questions can be as simple as: “What did you learn and how will you use what you learned on the job?”

4. Be A Good Example And Invest In Your Own Development


Managers need to walk the talk. When managers take the time to develop themselves, employees see the learning benefits and the department employees are more motivated to develop themselves.


Make sure senior leaders are following the same process with all levels of leadership in the company.

L&D can provide help to make it easy for managers to support, encourage, and motivate their employees to develop. Employees will want to develop, and when employees develop, individual performance goes up, and as a result, organizational development goes up. Win/win/win!

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