Ibec Academy: Help your managers get the best from their people

July 20, 2022

The below blog from Jenny Hayes, Head of Ibec Academy, is adapted from an advertorial feature in the Irish Times, available here. For more details on the Ibec Academy and how it can support your organisation, head to their dedicated website.


Why is continuous learning vital?

Recruiting, onboarding and training new employees is expensive. However, when companies offer their people a culture of continuous learning, it helps them to feel more driven and motivated in their roles, which leads to higher retention rates, increased morale and ultimately peak performance. So, developing a thinking and learning culture needs to become a core element of every business strategy, as the world of work continues to change at a rapid pace.

This is borne out by the findings of a 2022 Ibec Learning and Development survey of 233 HR professionals, where 83 per cent of organisations with a Learning and Development plan in place have linked it to their strategic plans. So, learning to learn and being open to learning are critical competencies for every level within the workforce in the years ahead. Organisations need to support their people to embrace this competency and develop this attitude, to help them to succeed as well as gaining personal mastery in their areas of expertise.

What is the role of the manager in building a learning culture?

Critical to the development of a culture of learning and growth mindset is the role of the manager, as very often how a person feels about the work they do is heavily influenced by their direct manager. These are the people who see the team performing day to day and are often best placed to help each person identify what they do well and the areas they need to develop further.

“Our survey also highlighted, that when rating types of learning by importance, 95 per cent outlined management skills as number one, leadership skills at a close second, with managing performance and employee engagement ranked third and fourth,” says Jenny Hayes, head of Ibec Academy.

“Therefore, developing inclusive leaders for our world of work today, with many people working from home or in a hybrid way, needs to challenge unconscious bias, develop emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, diversity and inclusion and the ability to be authentic when leading others, with humility at the core of how we work. Leaders who stand out have developed many of these attributes and continue to challenge themselves and to grow their levels of self-awareness and openness to new ideas.”

Inclusive leadership includes the manager’s ability to build trust, deliver results and optimise the talent in the team. The ability to listen to and understand the people in the team, as well as helping each one to achieve more than they thought they could achieve themselves, differentiates good managers from great managers. Great managers are those who focus on the emotional connection with others and are really “there” and present, when they deal with their teams.

The past two years have shown how vital this support is and the critical role managers played in ensuring people in their teams were supported through the rapidly changing working environment that transpired. Developing personal awareness, mental health and resilience were key areas of development during the crisis, all of which are areas requiring ongoing learning and further growth as we move into the future.

One of the best questions a manager can ask of his/her team during times of change is: “What can I do as your manager, to help you to be your best?” Coaching is a key way for organisations to embed a culture of learning and the application of that learning in practice, supported by each line manager. Continually asking this question and combining it with a structured coaching approach is likely to have a significant impact on the morale of the team as well as overall results.

Developing a thinking culture needs to be a strategic priority as the world continues to change rapidly. Organisations that offer staff opportunities to grow and to acquire new skills and qualifications are best placed to attract top talent as well as retaining the talent they have. Critically, managers within the organisation play a central role in supporting the learning of their teams through coaching, building on the strengths of their people and identifying areas of development and growth.

People like to be part of a winning team, so managers who get results and know how to relate to those around them are very often the ones who attract the right people to work with them. Great managers are those who regularly ask what they can do to support their people’s learning and who know the value of inclusive leadership and continual learning for themselves.

Consider working with a training provider to help deliver flexible courses tailored for your organisation

“At Ibec Academy, we work with organisations across Ireland that have committed to investing in the development of their people to set themselves apart, making skills and skills recognition a core part of their strategy,” says Hayes. “A central part of our work, is the development of customised programmes, many of which are accredited by our strategic partner, TU Dublin, focusing on the goals of the organisation, team and individual. Equipping your people to lead through change, with managers supporting their teams on this journey, is central to the work we do in the Ibec Academy this year in particular.”

In the Ibec Academy, we work with individuals on our short courses or cpd diplomas in management, leadership, HRM, coaching, mediation and strategic innovation, building skills, knowledge and competence in a practical way that makes a real difference. By offering an accredited award as part of your people’s learning journeys, not only are the key skills developed, but the individual also receives a recognised qualification from their employer, thus meeting the needs of the person and the organisation.

The Ibec Academy offers short courses and accredited cpd diploma programmes that address the most salient trends shaping the future of work, as well as top management challenges in areas such as remote working, leadership, coaching and managing people. Other courses are also available in key areas such as environmental, social & governance (ESG), strategy, innovation, diversity & inclusion, emotional intelligence, leading through change, resilience, and wellbeing strategies.

As part of Ibec, we are Ireland’s largest lobby and business representative group. Our purpose is to help build a better, sustainable future by influencing, supporting and delivering for business success. With more than 250 employees, Ibec engages with key stakeholders in Ireland and internationally through our six regional offices and our Brussels office, along with an extensive international network in the UK and US.