How to help managers develop the potential of their employees?

How to help managers develop the potential of their employees?

Employee development is often beyond the scope of managers due to lack of training and time. HR, we give you the keys to help your managers support their N-1s.


Employee development is often beyond the scope of managers. 

Because of habit, lack of training or lack of time, managers very often focus on the performance of their employees, forgetting the source of motivation of their N-1s: their development. 

HR, how can you help the managers in your company to better support their employees? What actions should be taken? This is what you will discover in this article.


Performance and development: 2 concepts to distinguish for your managers

Performance and development are not dichotomous, they are complementary!

What is performance?

Performance, which is measured individually or collectively, analyses a past result achieved during a specific period. It often boils down to the achievement of objectives, how well they were exceeded and, if necessary, the measures to be implemented in order to better achieve them in the future (support, training, coaching, revision of objectives).

What is development?

In contrast, development is less tangible. It refers to the potential of an employee.

While the former is easily measured quantitatively, development is not. The assessment of development is concerned, for example, with an employee's ability to develop skills.

One would think that this field is reserved for HR, whereas it is directly relevant to the manager. Indeed, who is the best person to measure the potential of an employee if not his or her manager?

The manager coach 

In order to help and encourage managers to take on this development management, they must be made aware of their true role: that of the manager coach.

In other words, a manager who observes, listens, trains, supports and promotes. A new posture which also implies accepting to see the best elements of his teams leave, as in the case of internal mobility. 


Initiate exchange moments focused on development

Given the scale of the digital transformation and its impact on skills, it is crucial for managers to support the development of employees in dedicated sessions. 

Development interviews

Indeed, a development process deserves a more formalized framework than a discussion in a corridor or on Slack. This is the only way that managers can really support their employees in their development. 

The surest way to achieve this is tosetting up development meetings The best way to do this is to have development interviews initiated by HR and then conducted by managers on the ground.

This type of interview can take the form of a dedicated section duringan annual interview or be part of a campaign of independent interviews (professional interviews, for example).

The objectives of these development interviews

Development interviews allow managers to have constructive discussions with their employees about their development. 

More specifically, the exercise allows for a review of training/coaching needs as well as skills to be developed, career aspirations and workload. In doing so, the development interview helps to better align the needs of employees with the strategic needs of the company .

The exercise also makes it possible to reveal new career paths, in particular through an internal mobility policy. This is how the development interview becomes a real compass for detecting potential. 


Integrating managers into training management

Training management is a highly complex subject for HR. This is why HR professionals need to surround themselves with effective intermediaries to build training plans that correspond to the needs of the field .

Why should managers collect training needs?

Managers, with their pragmatic and exploratory knowledge of their teams, are a logical choice. Indeed, as they work alongside their N-1 on a daily basis, managers are able to discuss training with them and therefore to raise relevant training needs with the HR department. 

The Elevo study on training management

Moreover, this key role for managers is desirable and desired by employees. 

According to a 2021 Elevo study, the preferred contact for employees remains the direct manager/manager in 40% of cases, far ahead of the HR manager and the training manager.

Furthermore, according to the same survey, 82% of employees feel that they have a good dialogue about their development with their line manager/manager .

In order to enable the full development of employees, it is therefore necessary for HR to rely on managers when collecting training needs.


As you can see, while managers are well versed in supporting employees in terms of performance, the same cannot be said for employee development. However, managers can count on the support of HR teams to help them increase their skills in detecting potential.

Development interview outline

A free downloadable template to help you identify your employees' professional projects and boost their skills.

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How to help managers develop the potential of their employees?

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