Any scroll on LinkedIn will show various pieces of advice for people managers: Best practices, important reminders, cautionary tales, and more. At the individual level, many of us have experienced a range of managers and management styles—those who call us to our best selves, and, unfortunately, those who show us how not to lead others.
At FullStory, our goal is not to just “be aware” of the importance of managers. Instead, we recognize that managers are a lynchpin to FullStory’s culture, job satisfaction and employee engagement. Successful managers help all FullStorians become successful, both here and beyond. As our organization evolves, managers need the skills and abilities to properly coach and develop their teams to help the company and each FullStorian reach their goals. We’re committed to supporting managers with the tools, processes and coaching they need to be successful at FullStory and beyond.
The result? We created our Manager Development framework with three strategic pillars. We want to:
Invest in our leaders
Help them build relationships
Ensure there are opportunities (and fair process) for internal promotion through the manager ranks
1. Invest in our leaders
For manager training efforts, we want to equip managers to not only develop the necessary skills themselves, but also feel confident in the processes we have in place at FullStory. We’ve partnered with LifeLabs Learning to facilitate trainings ensuring our managers have a strong foundation for managerial success. We prioritized classes around change management, behaviors of inclusion, feedback best practices, and strategic thinking (to name a few). We then incorporate the trainings from LifeLabs into our internally-led sessions around specific talent philosophies. These are especially helpful for those new to managing at FullStory and serve as helpful refreshers to all managers year round.
These trainings pair with other learning opportunities we provide for all FullStorians, like a $500 learning subsidy, book clubs, skills learning library, career coaching sessions through Modern Health, and more. Many managers use these company-wide offerings for manager-specific development.
2. Build relationships
There’s two important relationships when it comes to managers — the relationship with their team and their relationship with each other. When it comes to their relationship with their team, we believe in the role of a manager to create the environment for their team to thrive. We view our people managers more as “leaders” than “management.” The word “management” itself feels authoritative and stuffy with a pyramid-like and top-down approach to work. Instead, our philosophy encourages managers to flip this top-down “management” style into a more inverted pyramid. With this view, managers serve the base of the pyramid and prioritize supporting up and strengthening their team through education, experience and exposure. We help managers build a relationship with their team based less on top-down authority and more on encouragement and empowerment
In a job full of edge cases and ambiguity, having a trusted group of other managers facing the same challenges provides an invaluable resource for sharing ideas and seeking advice. Plus, some of the best education you can get as a manager comes from your peers. With this mindset, we created Manager Peer Cohorts that use Donut to automatically group managers every six weeks with three goals in mind:
Build peer support networks that improve collaboration and organizational velocity
Develop and foster relationships between managers across the organization
Provide a safe space for managers to seek advice or input on issues they are facing
While many managers out there work closely with other managers on their team, we believe our peer cohort method leads to even greater cross-functional collaboration, support, and growth for our managers.
3. Ensure opportunities
We recognize career growth looks different to different folks at FullStory, and we want to create a development culture that fuels all types of growth. Some want to become more specialized in their role, others desire cross-functional project work, and some wish to move from an Individual Contributor to a Manager role. With this in mind, we work hard to hire managers internally when possible.
We’ve adopted a process where manager roles are posted internally first. This strategy is intended to help internally grown managers apply first and, therefore, reduce ramp time, reduce attrition, and support development opportunities at FullStory. We’ve invested in a transparent internal jobs board and transfer program to promote internal promotions. Our People Partners (HR Business Partners) and recruiting team frequently meet with Individual Contributors to answer questions on open manager roles, provide clarity, and support hiring internally whenever we can. There’s something special about celebrations we see in Slack, LinkedIn, and on team meetings when a FullStorian moves into a new manager role.
Managers are key to organizational success, employee engagement, and overall job satisfaction. At FullStory, we believe in, invest in, and create opportunities for our managers.
Our Manager Development Program reflects this belief, as we do what we can to set these individuals up for success. Betting on these FullStorians has been one of the best and most rewarding investments the company has made.