For People Leaders


Seven Ways to Equip New Managers for Success

What can companies and HR leaders do to equip new managers for success? We're sharing 7 tips HR leaders and companies can use to help new managers thrive from day one.


Top-notch managers can be in short supply in today’s often-competitive management recruiting space, making it difficult to find, and then retain, high caliber managers. Quality managers are essential for team and organization success, as they play crucial roles within an organization, including:

  • Hire and train new team members
  • Provide purpose and direction through clear communication, planning, prioritizing, and goal setting and completion
  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities
  • Provide accountability through setting clear expectations and offering frequent, honest, and helpful feedback
  • Create and maintain a healthy work environment
  • Communicate clearly with and be accountable to upper management

While successful managers are key to an organization’s success, research has shown that 60% of new managers fail in the first two years, and 50% of managers are viewed as being ineffective. These sobering statistics lead to this crucial question:

What can companies and HR leaders do to equip new managers for success?

Since our mission at Campfire is to “build better managers by blending authentic peer connection, actionable content, and scalable technology,” we’ve made creating tips and tools that HR leaders and companies can use to equip new managers for success a top priority.

The steps of the management experience can make all the difference in how successful a manager is in their new role, as well as the success their team will experience under their leadership. To make this process as simple as possible, here are 7 tips for setting up new managers for success.

Tip #1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities

This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but two people, based on past experiences and perspectives, can understand the same concept very differently. So when onboarding a new manager, it’s crucial to define roles and responsibilities down to the minutest task to ensure that managers clearly understand all aspects of their job. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know, and while it’s tempting to assume that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and understood, this often might not be the case. When possible, have the new manager teach what they’re learning—to the HR leader, a peer manager, etc.—because studies have shown that we retain 90% of what we learn when we teach it to someone else.

Tip #2. Provide the right resources from day 1 (and even before, if possible)

New managers need all the resources they can get, and as an HR professional, providing as many resources as possible is a huge step towards developing and supporting top-notch managers. These resources can include the following:

  • Books: Both industry- and management-related
  • Tools
  • Apps
  • Professionally reviewed websites (Harvard Business Review, for example) 
  • Courses and classes
  • TED Talks
  • And more...

Basically, any resource that will be helpful both now and into the future should be included in a new manager’s resource toolbox. In our (biased) opinion, one of the best resources you can give a new manager is access to Campfire's guided, peer learning sessions. Sign up (or refer your managers to sign up) for a free session right here.

Tip #3.  Provide training and continuing education

While we all realize that new manager training is crucial, the training process cannot end once the onboarding process is complete and roles and responsibilities have been covered. Since the workplace is constantly evolving and changing, training and education must continue throughout the manager’s service in the organization in order for them to continually grow and thrive in their role. Here are a few of the many areas to keep in mind with continuing training and education that will benefit both the manager and their team:

  • Offering constructive feedback
  • Dealing with disputes
  • Helping team members to grow in their current roles and develop skills for future roles
  • Changing workplace rules and regulations
  • New technologies, processes, and procedures
  • Contacting HR: When it’s appropriate, the guidelines and process for doing so
  • Connecting and collaborating with others successfully

(Learn more about what it means to be a Connector Manager here)

Tip #5. Provide mentorship and collaboration opportunities

The most successful organizations include mentorship and collaboration in their company structures, and for good reason. Mentorship and collaboration can lead to greater success and higher retention rates among all levels of the organization, including managers.

Where mentorship is concerned, 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorship programs to all employees—both managers and team members. Peer managers, seasoned managers, personal contacts within or outside the organization, or even the resources discussed above can serve as mentors, allowing managers to continue to develop professionally and successfully as well as giving them the tools to mentor their team members.

When it comes to collaboration and leadership positions, 86% of leaders place the blame for failures on the lack of collaboration. However, companies that make collaboration an integral part of their organization—for both management and team members—report a 50% reduction in employee turnover. Collaboration is important for retention and greater productivity overall, and regular collaboration improves communication, allows for the free sharing of ideas and brainstorming, and nurtures that team mentality that is so important in today’s workplace.

“A champion team will defeat a team of champions.” ~ Old saying among sports coaches

Tip #6. Teach new managers to lead, not manage

There is a difference between managing and leading, and while leaders are also responsible for the tasks of managing (planning, budgeting, organizing, hiring, terminating, coordinating, and other day-to-day responsibilities), successful managers are also leaders, first and foremost. Leaders go above and beyond the managerial tasks, exemplifying the following to their team members:

  • Vision
  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Connection
  • Coaching
  • Vulnerability
  • Trust
  • Empathy
  • Accountability

Leaders encourage their team to follow them, while managers have people that work for them. Leaders help their team perform at their highest level. Leaders lead.

Tip #7. Offer continual support

“Having a good manager is essential, like breathing. And if we make managers better, it would be like a breath of fresh air. ~Michelle Donovan, Director of People Operations at Google 

Embracing the role as a new manager can sometimes feel daunting, even with a few months under their management belt. With so much to learn and retain, and with a strong desire to be successful, support from HR leaders can make all the difference between success and frustration for those new to the management space. 

With all the difficulties that can come with recruiting and then retaining quality managers in an ultra-competitive market, it’s crucial that HR leaders and companies do all in their power to help new managers thrive in their new role and responsibilities. After all, when a manager thrives, their team thrives, and the organization thrives.

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