New Year, New Manager…

In recent times, businesses leaders and employees have seen the importance of a supportive workplace and what a vital role first line managers have in creating that support. Being a modern day manager is more than just having the necessary technical knowledge and skills. To be great at your job and eventually become a great leader, you must possess some essential people management skills.  These skills are valuable but continually evolve and develop throughout your career.

People skills can be defined as the ability to interact amicably with others. These personal attributes can affect relationships, interactions, and communications with others. And that is why they are invaluable for business success, particularly to those embarking on their first people management role.

Many believe that the key people skills, or soft skills, are crucial to becoming a great manager and when we refer to the list below, it’s easy to see why.  Most senior executives, business owners and entrepreneurs today believe that soft skills are more important than hard skills.

Communication / Teamwork / Problem-Solving Skills / Decision-Making / Creativity / Delegation / Empathy / Trustworthiness / Time Management / Critical Thinking

Reading the above list make total sense and you can see just how they can become the glue that underpins the attributes that workers are look for in a supportive manager.

Remember, businesses are made up of people of different ages, from various backgrounds, and with different ideas of how to work. This means different groups within your business will be motivated by different things and will work best in particular ways.

To ensure that everyone in the team reaches their maximum potential, managers must build up a toolkit of people management skills. This is needed not only to motivate each member of the team, improve productivity and boost staff morale, but to also offer support and reduce stress in times of change, disruption or uncertainty. As this must all be done whilst aligning individual career goals and the goals of the company, holding a broad range of people management skills that can be utilised for different people and different situations is the only effective way to get there.

Futureproof are committed to developing new managers and providing them with the tools and techniques to thrive.  Get in touch to discuss our range of short courses and development pathways to see where we can support your new managers.

People Manager Short Courses

New Manager Development Pathway

Fostering Employee Wellbeing

It’s hard to argue against how important employee wellbeing is, but many organisations still have a way to go when addressing the topic.

The media constantly tells us of the benefits, but how can businesses go the extra mile when looking after their employee’s wellbeing?  Introducing a holistic approach is likely to be the most impactful way of doing it.  Organisations need to look at physical and mental wellbeing, introduce measures to promote and communicate a wellbeing strategy and involve as many people as possible to bang the drum on how important it is, not only for the employee but the wider business as a whole.

As a fairly simple guide, we believe that introducing the following steps could make the difference between a good approach to wellbeing and one that really engages and pushes the topic to the forefront.

Recognise and Praise

Recognition and praise should be at the heart of the culture of a business as it’s one of the most desired and easiest to implement.

Simply recognising employees for their effort, achievements and performance costs nothing but goes a long way in the minds of employees. The impact of a recognition-rich culture cannot be understated.

Don’t underestimate the physical

Introducing initiatives to promote a healthy physical environment for employees has major benefits.  Yes, hitting the gym isn’t everyone’s bag, but thinking laterally and introducing innovative ways to help employees improve their fitness can be a win for all.  Think about fitness challenges between departments, subsidised gym membership, cycle to work schemes, the daily mile, walk to work schemes – the list can be endless and there’s lots of great ideas out there.

Wellbeing Survey’s

Launch a wellbeing survey to get a temperature check on where your employees see the business tackling wellbeing.  Better still, link it with existing employee surveys.

The Wellness Calendar

Pay attention to the key dates, days, weeks and months in the calendar and link them with your own initiatives – think Mental Health Awareness month, Menopause Awareness month, Mindfulness week – the list really does go on!  Link this to your own wellbeing calendar and promote, promote, promote.

Charities & Tech

Look at ways you can link up with key charities on the key topics that mean the most to your employees.  Similarly, look at ways to encourage employees to use apps and podcasts to help boost their mental health and share some of the best feedback with the wide business.

Work/Life Balance

Ask whether your business is doing enough to address this subject and look internally at flexible working, maternity/paternity leave, compressed hours, lieu days, ‘re-focus’ days, sabbaticals or working from home flexibility plans.

Eating’s NOT cheating

Promote a healthy eating lifestyle by highlighting the positives of a healthy diet and look at ways you can help in the canteen.  Ditch the chips and introduce vegetarian and vegan options along with healthier snacking versions to keep people going throughout the day.

Driving Diversity in the Workplace

With all the press we read about equality, diversity and inclusion, many organisations are asking “is this the year of diversity in our business?”  For a business to progress and become more forward thinking, the answer has to be yes.

Research shows that organisations promoting a positive and healthy diverse approach, not only allow their workforce to flourish, but there is also a marked increase in collaboration, innovation and a collective ‘we are one’ mentality.

This is backed up by recent research that suggests gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.  Further research shows that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time and inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments.

So where are the focus points to help businesses become more diverse?  Many believe that it has to start at the top – successful ED&I strategies are driven by their Managing Director’s, HR Director’s and where they have them, with their Talent & Inclusion Director’s.  The more forward thinking companies look to appoint a Diversity & Inclusion Committee who provide direction, leadership and support to the topic and work hard in promoting an inclusive culture and educating those in the business that need a reset in their thinking.

Other quick wins in switching to a more diverse culture include:

  • Coaching sessions on the topic
  • Identify and appoint diversity sponsors or champions
  • Include ED&I in performance reviews and plans
  • Listen and get feedback and encourage best practice and new ideas
  • Implement a ‘challenge when it’s not right’ methodology
  • Work with external providers

Diversity and inclusion also play a massive part in recruiting talent – widening the barriers of your recruitment pool allows you to hire people from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences.  Businesses who constantly strive to recruit and maintain an equal workplace can benefit from create positive working relationships, greater productivity and performance, wider appeal to clients and customers and improved attraction and retention rates.

Futureproof Training are fully aware of the importance of this subject and what the benefits of a diverse culture are, come and talk to us to see where we can help your business.  Get in touch via

Key Attributes for New Managers

When we look back at our previous jobs and the people we’ve worked for, we often think about those who’s management style really got the best out of us – but what attributes did they show to make us remember them so fondly?

Being a good manager can be demanding, stressful and challenging, but done well, so rewarding.  It is a skill though and one that takes practice and patience but the key attributes below might help you in that journey:

Be approachable

Being welcoming and easy to talk to are at the core of what makes a good manager. Each team member should be comfortable speaking with their manager, without feeling like they are simply another number in the group.

Be patient

Learning to be patient isn’t easy and for many, doesn’t come naturally. It can take years to learn how to control emotions and decide how to react to things. A good manager learns to master this skill and takes the wider view on board at all times.

Be honest

People want to trust people and that’s no different in the workplace – every team must be able to trust their manager in both words and actions. As a manager, it is vital to keep promises and be open and honest.  Good managers lead by being open and honest and use these attributes to underpin their communication style.

Be encouraging

Success is measured in many different ways, but a strong leader understands exactly what this means for their team. They make it a point to help every team member succeed as an individual, while also focusing on the team as a whole. The ability to motivate an entire group to strive toward a specific goal is a major part of what makes a good manager.

Take ownership

This is more than completing a task, taking ownership is a key step all good managers need to make – it promotes a cohesive culture within a team and demonstrates the ability to step up and get their hands dirty – your team will thank you for it!

Be upbeat

As a manager, your attitude speaks a thousand words. Regardless of what is going on within an organisation, positive and negative, leaders deflect, they soak up the noise and keep morale high.  This mindset and technique will keep people on task and boost productivity.

At Futureproof, we’re passionate about developing new managers so get in touch by emailing us at to see how we can help.

The Beauty of Blended Learning

Here at Futureproof Training we’re a huge believer of the 70/20/10 learning principle and see this methodology underpin our development programmes and blended learning is a vital part of that thinking.  But we’re not just talking about classroom and digital learning, we see mixing classroom or modular learning with initiatives such as workshops, action learning sets, skills practice scenarios, 1:1 coaching, workplace shadowing, project work, buddy and networking groups, job rotation and accreditation as the key to making the people development stick.

Gone are the days where the ‘dip’ approach to learning, particularly in the people management space is enough and businesses are becoming ever more aware that a more blended approach reaches far further than the classroom and bringing delegates back together for shorter, more targeted interventions is proving to be massively successful.  Of course, selecting the right mix of learning methods and initiatives is important, but businesses should be brave and not think that just putting managers through a course is going to hit the mark.

Getting past the why is vital and answering the why am I here / why now / why me is the key difference to providing a good experience for delegates and providing a blended programme that will evolve and flex to their specific needs will always increase interest, awareness and engagement.

As we know, any method of workplace learning must support individuals, teams or the organisation as a whole to build capability that meets business needs. As working environments become more complex and greater agility is needed to ensure employees’ capability, it’s more important than ever to apply the breadth of different learning methods available.

Adopting the blended approach to learning comes with a number of benefits such as; offering a more tailored, personalised delegate experience,  ensuring content is company and industry specific, workshops are followed up with other innovative development initiatives, handing more ownership to the delegates and giving the learners the ability to learn they way they want to.

To learn more about our fully blended management development programmes for various levels of experience, contact us at or click on any of the links below: