Peer Mentor Network

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Management Incentives for Employee Development

Most of our discussion thus far has been about applying upward pressure on management to achieve mentoring and development needs within an organization. This time I’d like to talk about potential top-down initiatives.

Today I learned that the banking industry rewards managers (monetarily, in the form of a bonus) for promoting and developing their employees. At my company, managers would have incentive develop and promote their employees for two reasons only: investing time to develop employees either makes their job easier in some way, or it makes them feel good because they believe it is the right thing to do.

Giving managers some incentive certainly makes sense right? If the manager is rewarded, and the employee gets a promotion or gains some new knowledge, then it’s a win-win situation. Fortunately, my current manager spends time developing me because he believes it is the right thing to do for me and for the corporation. However, I can’t expect to work for people like him for my entire career.

So is money the only way to give managers that incentive? Certainly not. If your manager has performance incentives that are worth more than promotion/development incentives, then he/she may choose to neglect your development needs. An alternative would be to force managers to set objectives related to the development of their employees. Those managers would then have to review these objectives with their bosses on an ongoing basis. Failure to meet these objectives should obviously carry some consequence. Another solution might involve giving a monthly award to the manager who does an exceptional job of giving their employees training and development opportunities. Managers are competitive and recognizing the great ones publicly in a newsletter could put pressure on others to follow suit.

If you have unique experiences on this subject or can think of more ideas, please post a comment and share!


  • Interesting topic. At first it seemed to me there weren’t any other scenarios… but I’m still inspired by the “take initiative and be your own advocate” comment.

    In marketing I find that the best way to get someone to do what you want is make that action as easy as possible for them. Set them up to be successful.

    If you want to enlist the help of your manager in your own development (and you can’t control his/her bonus structure), you’re going to have to deliver a compelling proposition that leaves them with no other avenue than to engage. This can mean initially having to do a lot of the leg work. Eventually your manager will realize the other benefits to investing in your development like less work for them, more revenue, etc.

    hops mentioned metrics for development and that unless a manager sees some benefit, they could theoretically not care. So what happens if your organization doesn’t have program for rewarding good managers? You are still stuck with the challenge of engaging a manager to invest in your development and showing them the longer term rewards of that development.

    Perhaps you will get to where you want faster if you take the initiative to set the ball in motion. Make it easy for your manager to start investing in you.

    One avenue is to develop the milestones you think are reasonable for measuring some type of progress. Give your manager a springboard for feedback. They may say you’re right on (in that case you’re a genius) – or give you insight into a different direction. Either way, I feel you’re getting more valuable feedback and at the same time illustrating you are in the game expecting to contribute just as much effort.

    Employers will appreciate that reciprocation and will be more likely to invest in your development in the long run – they’ll also be more likely to recognize that your success makes them successful as well.

    By Anonymous big league, at Tuesday, April 25, 2006  

  • Interesting...I agree that it would be good to give managers incentives to train and develop their employees, yet I believe all managers should want to excell in their performance and to help develop their employees. The problem here is that we don't live in a perfect world and managers aren't always thinking for their employees but for themselves so I agree with you that there should be incentives.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

  • To be honest, at first I was a little surprised when I read this post. I guess that’s because I’ve taken the effort my managers have put into my development for granted.

    I’ve only had two jobs related to my profession. In the first job my manager was really overworked, so at the very least he wanted to give me more responsibilities to ease his workload. We laid out a short-term development plan and achieved the goals fairly easily. I was doing temporary work (3 months), so we didn’t talk about a long-term development plan. Long-term plans were discussed and set up for permanent employees though. I wasn’t at that company long enough to see how managers were rewarded for employee advancement.

    In my current job, employee development is taken very seriously. Everyone has a career development plan set up with their manager, no matter how experienced they are or what stage of their career they are at. 1, 3, and 5 year plans are laid out; it’s pretty extensive. The managers don’t receive any monetary compensation or penalization for how their employees perform. However, their career depends on how effective of a manger they are. There are many aspects of being a manager that can be used to evaluate their effectiveness, but the two major ones are employee development and production (projects on time, on budget, etc.)

    I would think that this is enough of an incentive for every manager to put a lot of effort into developing their employees. Yeah, there are some managers that just want to get their work done and head home to the easy chair. However, most managers should be developing their employees because that is their job.

    Anyone else have similar experiences? Or not even close? What do you think about the incentive that in order for a manager to perform well their employees have to develop and perform well?

    By Anonymous Dan, at Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

  • Assumption: Employee development is equated with a promotion (aka climbing the professional hierarchy).

    I've never seen a manager as a potential mentor. I've always approached my professional development and growth in one way: consistently produce quality work that will make my boss/manager look great.

    It's great if a manager can give career advice and direction but in a professional and competitive environment, a manager will only take the time and effort required (aside from available “resources” from the company) to develop potential employees if they consider the employee an asset to their own professional growth.

    In laymen’s terms: a manager will be promoted if they produce excellent work therefore your development/promotion is contingent upon their success.

    By Blogger M, at Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

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