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Peer to peer mentoring for people leadership development

While mentoring has been around in some form or another for a long time, it has never been easier to harness its power to have a long-lasting and meaningful influence on individuals and organizations, especially for leadership development. And that’s good news.

What makes mentoring even more critical today?

Mentoring is proving to be essential for both company and individual success. On one hand, organizations today are confronted with the challenge of operating in a constantly shifting and an unpredictable environment. The aftermath of a pandemic, increasing geopolitical conflict, and gloomy economic conditions place unprecedented demands on business and strategy. Employees, on the other hand, find themselves struggling to fulfil the various obligations of their professional and personal responsibilities. Often, in an attempt to “do it all” they experience burnout and fall well below their normal performance levels. Thus, accepting this new reality, with all its uncertainty and complexity, necessitates a shift in leadership strategy and approach to people management. It strengthens the case for trust-based leadership.

As more and more workplaces attempt to transition from an authoritarian work culture to one based on trust and inclusion, companies are starting to realize that that existing leadership programs are severely constrained in their capacity to prepare leaders for this change. Research indicates that short-term leadership courses are largely inefficient at assisting leaders in developing emotional intelligence, empathy, and other critical interpersonal skills. Leaders looking to develop these qualities require consistent support and an informed dialogue.

Mentoring and coaching are therefore seen at the top of the list of instruments for effective leadership development. They are acquiring an increasingly prominent role in leadership development.

Research backed benefits of mentoring

Research shows that the coaching industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. Globally, the estimated size of this sector in 2022 was 20 billion dollars. In India, research indicates that coaching will become a 7-billion-dollar industry by 2030. Most Fortune 500 companies now identify mentoring as an important employee development tool. 92% of the US Fortune 500 companies have a mentoring program.

Mentoring, according to experts, is notably successful in developing leadership abilities because it enables personal transformation via one-on-one encounters. Active conversations with a mentor may assist an individual in identifying their strengths and limitations as a leader and recognizing opportunities for growth. It also provides a secure environment for leaders/ managers to share their thoughts, think about the dilemmas of leading others, and be vulnerable. The knowledge and experience of a mentor ensures that the mentee receives guidance tailored to the mentee’s specific context and constraints. A skilled mentor also provides gives a mentee thought-provoking case studies, anecdotes, and positive role models. As a result, they can assist the mentee in developing a blueprint for future success.

The growing need for mentors and coaches also reflects the effectiveness and value individuals place on relationship-based training methods. Organizations that invest in relationship-based leadership development tools like mentoring see a positive impact on employee retention. In a study, 62 percent of employees from organizations that use mentoring or coaching agreed with the belief that their organization’s leadership development initiatives helped in retaining talent. Another study showed that employees with mentors were 5 times more likely to secure promotions than those without mentors and 67 percent of organizations reported that employees are more productive when they have mentors. Great Manager Institute’s Study shows that employees who receive job-related guidance from their managers are 9 times more likely to feel positive about both their manager taking an active interest in people’s professional development and their manager helping people see growth opportunities in the organization.

Mentoring GMI Study

The role of mentoring

In a study by LinkedIn, 51 percent of respondents said that they continued to stay in touch with former colleagues. While the exact role this plays in their development may be not be clear, there is a strong indication that workplace connections are of immense value to employees. Mentoring is believed to speed up professional progress in addition to boosting knowledge and skills. It also, provides just-in-time assistance, perspective on dilemmas, challenges, and issues; it bolsters skill building, self-esteem, and confidence. Mentoring gives mentees access to industry leaders, which aids in the development of a stronger professional network.

Mentoring adds immense value to those playing the mentor role, as well. Through mentoring, Mentors can deepen their technical and subject matter expertise. Another area where mentoring may be quite helpful is the development of communication skills and emotional intelligence. Focusing on the needs of another, active listening and responding in a judgment free manner helps improve communication skills and builds a leadership style based on leading with trust. Lastly, when monetary rewards or yet another “difficult endeavor” fail to sufficiently motivate, helping others develop may greatly increase a person’s feeling of meaning and purpose.

By mentoring individuals inside their organizations, managers may improve their awareness of how actions affect those at lower levels of the organization and re-evaluate procedures and policies to create a more dynamic and productive work environment. Mentoring people from diverse backgrounds also fosters empathy, which managers may utilize to create effective diversity and inclusion strategies in their own organizations.

“I enjoyed the conversations with the other people managers on the Great Manager Institute’s Mentor platform. It gave me a chance to share my experiences and help Managers with their leadership styles. Leadership is so central to bringing out the best in people and I enjoyed the opportunity to have these conversations.”

– Dalreen Patrao, Mentor on Great Manager Institute’s mentorship platform

More than ever, people are looking for the ideal mentor to assist them create the strongest route to professional success and personal wellbeing. However, finding the right mentor is a challenge not so easily solved. In one study 97 percent of the respondents said that having a mentor is valuable and 55 percent believe that having a mentor can help them succeed. However, 85 percent did not currently have a mentor, indicating that employees may not have access to resources that would help them gain access to the right mentors.

Mentoring Platform - GMI

Virtual mentoring platforms, such as GMI’s platform, are assisting in the “glocalizing” of mentoring by making mentor networks more accessible to individuals and organizations than ever before, while also overcoming the challenges of traditional mentorship programs.

In an increasingly global workplace, mentees may wish to explore mentoring possibilities from outside their organization or even their country. Virtual Mentoring platforms can help individuals connect with Mentors from around the world who can provide a unique perspective and specialized knowledge to help them grow in their chosen field.

With technology, virtual mentoring offers more freedom. Online meetings may be arranged whenever it is most convenient for both parties. This helps people retain a feeling of work-life balance, which is especially important for individuals who have additional personal obligations.

The potential to foster genuine relationships between participants is the most significant advantage of virtual mentorship programs. By communicating with a mentor remotely rather than in person, a mentee may find it simpler to be honest and open, something that may not be possible in a more formal setting.

It is difficult to overstate the potential of mentoring in facilitating significant change in both the mentor and mentee. It’s maybe the most useful instrument we have at our disposal in these trying times.

What can organizations do to support more women in becoming people leaders?

In 2021, the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 31%, the highest number ever recorded. According to research, for every 100 men who get promoted to a managerial position, only 85 women receive the same honor. Understanding why this phenomenon is recurring despite similar competence levels has become increasingly important and is a key step to support women in becoming people leaders.

In a fast-paced and competitive field like business, we need to utilize all our human resources and assets optimally for growth. The lack of women in managerial roles defeats this goal of maximizing the company’s utility. It is time for underrepresentation to be addressed by organizations. Here are a few things we can do to support and ensure more gender-diverse management by encouraging more women to become people managers and leaders.

The A-B-C-D of creating more managers at the workplace:  

Acknowledge strengths and vulnerabilities:

I was 9 years old, studying in the 3rd grade – when I would struggle to see what the teacher wrote on the blackboard. When I struggled to see the math problems, I usually relied on my memory to hear what the teacher said and solved the math question. This eventually became a routine. It took 8 months and a visit to an ophthalmologist to figure out that I was far sighted and needed spectacles. To me, this is a classic case of denial – unwillingness to admit flaws, defects or anything anomalous. The tendency is to “adjust” and a lot of women do it regularly (professionally or personally). 

To help women succeed as managers, it’s important to make them self aware of their areas of competency – strengths and gaps. 

How does one do it?

By sharing feedback through conversations or encouraging them to get their ‘people perception’ profile evaluated. How well are they perceived to communicate? Do they set expectations clearly? Do they stay true to their commitments? …encouraging them to ask many such questions to themselves and the people they collaborate with. Usually it’s difficult to get objective, unbiased feedback through conversations, hence it’s best to use anonymous tools to understand strengths and blind spots.

Assessments also help break stereotypes wherein determined and competitive women have been deemed too masculine and collaborative and family-oriented women are too feminine for a workspace. 

A technology company couples this with weekly “Appreciation Tennis”, where the reporting manager also talks about the positive micro-decisions they saw the female colleague take and asks them to share their own inventory of things done well. Create a safe space to acknowledge both achievements and vulnerabilities.  Encourage them to seek help – show them how to do it.

Build Capability

Our educational system and on-the-job training, prepare us reasonably well for functional skills. Relationship skills are what we expect managers to acquire as they get promoted – possibly as a function of experience.

To help women succeed in managerial roles, help them first understand how one succeeds in a managerial role at your organization and what it takes to get there. The measures of success in managerial roles in two consulting companies may also differ, if one is a startup and the other is a global brand, although their services may be very similar.

While this was about ascertaining capability, being ‘able to speak up’ is a common hurdle women face, when it comes to demonstrating capability. 

Research suggests that men do 75% more  talking, during regular business meetings.

This isn’t obvious because men have more to say. Confidence plays a huge role. As an HR / Business leader or a working professional, give women colleagues the opportunity to lead meetings and thereby build confidence. Prep them up, use positive interjections like “that’s an interesting point of view”, to validate their ideas. 

At Great Manager Institute®, we have created a Community that allows female managers from our client organizations to seek mentoring/coaching and a networking opportunity with a Community of other Managers/Leaders.

Create a Brand:

Everyone has their own personal brand. But not everyone knows how to make it work in their favor. A brand differs from a product, in the fact that a brand is usually derived through how others (typically customers) perceive you. In today’s world, everyone is our customer – be it professionally or personally, and every interaction is a moment of truth.

To help women succeed as leaders, organizations must help them understand what their personal brand today looks like. Help women colleagues identify forums where they can talk about their work, their leadership style and brand themselves – without thinking “how much is too much?”.

Devise policies that support a better representation of women:

Begin by giving women a voice at the table. If your female colleague has a great idea, champion her and  make sure she gets the applause, instead of letting someone else take the credit. 

Lastly, however contrarian it may sound – if your company is invited to participate in a panel, refuse to take part if there is no female representation on that panel. The first step to change is to demonstrate the change through your own actions.

If you are a policymaker - listen to them when making policies.

While designing policies, companies must have enough representation from women to support their growth as people leaders. Policies dictate the day-to-day working of the company. If we wish to create a managerial panel that is gender-diverse, we must start from the very bottom. Research shows that the new service economy relies heavily on women’s natural abilities for long-term strategic vision and community building. Having more women in managerial positions is the first step to fixing the depleting pipeline of women leaders in our organizations.

Implementing these strategies will help you support the growth of more women as people leaders.

3 ways HR Leaders can reduce attrition

May be cliché but very true, a company’s most valuable asset is its people, and keeping them engaged in the work and ambitions of a company is core to achieving an organization’s mission. Turnover of employees happens for a whole host of reasons, and when losing employees faster than replacing them it is a troublesome sign of employee attrition. Hence, every HR leader must consider utilizing our 3 ways to reduce attrition.

Frontline managers have the greatest impact on improving employee engagement, especially when processes and information are in place to support them.

Losing an employee can impact time-dependent work, create hardships on the remaining team, and add costs for recruiting and training of replacements. Often companies consider turnover, or attrition, as the cost of doing business and don’t regularly measure it and learn from the data. There are three steps leadership can take to ensure managers minimize employee attrition and improve overall employee engagement.

1. Understand What is Going On

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. When it comes to employee engagement there are three categories of metrics that should be collected and analyzed on a regular basis. If you are not conducting exit interviews, it is an important first step to understanding. The interview should be conducted by someone on your HR/People team and the goal should be to translate the conversation into discrete data that can be used for reporting and analysis. Break it down by departments or business units so that you can see where specific issues may be more predominant. Also, develop a set of standard “reasons” for why an employee might depart the organization. Allow for the ability to collect up to three, in ranked order; it is not always a single reason why someone has chosen to leave an organization. You may learn that the employee resigned because they were offered another opportunity for more money, but also discover that they sought out the opportunity because their manager was showing favoritism to other employees and the department culture had become uncomfortable to work in. 

Collecting this information is not a perfect science, but it can shed a lot of light on opportunities for improvement.

At least quarterly, if not monthly, your company should send out employee engagement surveys. This can be tricky because employees can get survey fatigue. Select a survey instrument that strikes the right balance between not providing enough meaningful and actionable information and one that employees stop responding to because it takes up too much time. Tracking the response rate is important because it is also a sign of overall engagement. If employees aren’t responding, it could be because they don’t trust the company to either act on their feedback or keep it anonymous. Encourage managers to routinely ask their team members to complete the survey and emphasize how important it is to the company to understand what is working for people, and what is not. Employees should feel there is substantial weight placed on their anonymous responses.

Know your turnover rate and track how company activities and engagement strategies are impacting it; this is as important as tracking supply costs or productivity. We recommend this metric be part of monthly leadership meetings and shared openly with employees. To calculate your attrition rate, you simply take the number of separations divided by your avg number of employees and multiply by 100.

2. Be Intentional About Engagement

Engagement is a broad term and can easily become awash in leadership jargon. Be intentional about what employee engagement means to your organization and make sure your managers can fluently articulate it. How do you want to describe the experience your employees have working for your company; give yourself something to shoot for. Most companies will have mission, vision, and values statements; all important directional anchors to help guide decision-making and culture. It is equally important to have a well-articulated engagement statement that serves as a strategy. Imagine while a manager is interviewing a candidate, the candidate asks them what working for your company is really like. They might say, “we strive to build diverse and trusting teams, empower our people to innovate and create, make sure management is listening, and remain as flexible as practical to promote a healthy work-life balance.” This engagement statement should remain dynamic and can be fine-tuned as it is informed by what you are learning from employees.

3. Connect the Dots

Now you are collecting data and measuring all the right things. Your employees know you are collecting this information, so it is a positive signal that you want to improve. Many companies stop here and fail to connect the dots between collecting data and acting on it. Consider the steps we are outlining here as a continuous feedback loop. The data you are collecting is describing the current state of employee engagement at your company. Your employee engagement statement describes your desired future state of engagement; comparing these two tells your frontline managers where the opportunities exist.

Why focus on the manager?

Our 3 ways to reduce attrition revolve around your managers because they are the connecting links between organizational culture and employee experience. Our research shows that 67% of attrition and retention is induced by managers. The same research also shows that 64% of employees with ineffective managers plan to leave their organization.

Managers should be transparent with employees about the gaps and opportunities so that they can engage with them on solutions. An easy trap with any process where you are seeking out information about an employee’s experience is that it can create a culture of problem-identifiers. Managers can instead create a culture that is solutions-oriented where employees feel ownership for the steps taken to improve their workplace. Maybe a manager learns that there are hiring decisions they have made that bring the wrong skill set or personality type into certain roles, or teams.

The Manager can meet with people closest to the work and build a new hiring qualifications profile or set of interview questions. Perhaps the data suggests that one manager is viewed as “not competent”. You might spend more time with that manager to understand where they struggle and if training or coaching is a worthy investment. Common in most survey responses are opportunities to improve communications. Pull a cross-section of employees together and brainstorm tactics to improve.

No matter how you connect the dots, managers should have an ongoing plan that reflects what is being learned through your company’s feedback loop so they can drive toward solutions.

Help your managers plan to prioritize; eventually, they will see improvements and get closer and closer to creating the work environment and experience your teams will want to remain a part of.

Feedback as Nudges

Great Manager Institute’s leadership development platform automatically converts team feedback into recommended actions for people managers.

Top Challenges and Opportunities for HR Leaders in 2024

Human resource leaders face a whole host of challenges and opportunities in 2024 and beyond. One top priority will be leadership development for managers but that is closely followed by employee engagement and retention, change management, recruiting top talent, and digital automation. It’s tempting to jump directly into solutions; however, it might be useful to focus on fundamentals so that strategies are informed by a clear understanding of what outcomes you want to achieve. Let’s keep things as simple as possible and ask ourselves what it is we want for our organization, specifically when it comes to its people. There is one overarching answer to this question that often gets lost in our search for solutions. We want our people to find joy in their work. When people find joy in their work, they do more of it and do it better. The side effects of this outcome translate to better products and services, happier customers, and a more successful organization. The challenge for 2024 is how to do it.

We know that front-line managers have the greatest impact on what workers experience in their jobs, so one important challenge will be helping them develop the coaching and leadership skills they need to get the desired outcome. Workers’ expectations are changing; they want to do purposeful work aligned with their values, to work where there is an opportunity for growth, to have culturally diverse colleagues, to be in a transparent and trusting environment, and to be respected for what they bring to the job. Workers view their job as a relationship and will invest no more into it than they perceive they are getting from it. It is fair to say that workers who find these qualities at work, will be more likely to also find joy in what they do. Use these fundamental expectations of workers to build the foundation of your future-of-work strategy.


Do your frontline managers know what outcome you are after? If not, begin having that conversation. It might surprise them to know that people finding joy in their work is an organizational ambition that also applies to their own roles. Managers are not likely driving toward an outcome they knew nothing about, so create universal awareness.


Workers want purpose in their jobs and that means there has to be some alignment between organizational values and those of workers. Do your company values easily come to mind? Do your managers and their teams know them without looking them up on the company website? It is not uncommon if they don’t. Take a look at your company’s core values and put them to the test. Do they reflect who you are? Can they be difficult to embrace all the time (they should be, otherwise they are table stakes)? Do they match your culture? Are there stories that prove they are lived? Core values should be tested in how you make decisions, what decisions you make, and how people in the organization treat one another. When hiring, managers should know how to seek out candidates that are intrinsically motivated by similar values.


The workforce of today includes people who are acquiring new skills and knowledge continuously, people who want to grow and develop, people who want to be valued for all they have to offer, not just the skills required by a job description, or inherent in a title. Consider creating broader and more flexible job titles and reimagine how you define people’s contribution by labeling their skills and accomplishments. Managers, as coaches, should work with their teams on an individual level to get clarity around each worker’s desired career paths.

Diversity & Inclusion

People travel to faraway places to be immersed in different cultures so they can broaden their own life experiences. Workers want that same immersion in the workplace, be it in-person, remote, or hybrid. Inclusive and diverse hiring is a great first step, but to thrive managers will need a lot of help and practice learning to communicate in a multicultural environment and to do so will need 1) a feedback loop created by reflective and active listening, 2) to be vulnerable enough to ask for help in understanding various cultures, 3) respect – not frustration – in their tone and body language, and 4) determination to learn.


Authenticity and honesty matter when communicating with workers. Research tells us that the human brain has a hardwired bias toward the negative which can cause us to act irrationally. Companies can sometimes spin messages to workers in an effort to counterbalance the bias. Managers especially, have to walk a fine line between being overly negative in their words, tone and body language while not being perceived as inauthentic or dishonest. This, again, speaks to the importance of professional development for managers with heavy emphasis on communication.


Intentionally build a culture of teamwork and collaboration. All great accomplishments are the result of collaborations in one form or another and great accomplishments bring fulfillment (joy). You can’t build the culture you want without listening to the stories being told by people doing the work; they are your feedback loop. Those stories come about based on the words and actions of you and your managers. If your words and actions support teamwork and collaboration, that is what you’ll hear in those stories.  Surveys and exit interviews are great tools, but nothing can take the place of listening to people where they work.

HR leaders are faced with many challenges and opportunities in their day-to-day life. There is no doubt you will need strategies and tactics to deal with the competitive forces in your market that make sourcing and recruiting great talent an ongoing challenge. You will have to develop the communication, project management, and digital tools needed to manage change and minimize change fatigue. You will have to reimagine your workforce by understanding what blend of onsite, hybrid, remote, and freelance workers can best meet the needs of your customers. However, with the fundamentals necessary to help people find true joy in their work firmly in place, these challenges will be achievable opportunities. 

Can CHROs predict attrition and course correct?

Rising attrition in organizations has always been a matter of concern for the CHROs. This leads to the question, “Can CHROs predict attrition and course correct?” The efforts and costs required to hire new employees to fill the talent gap and to train them to reach an optimum level of performance is substantially high and time-consuming. According to AON PLC report, India witnessed an overall attrition rate of 20.3% in the first half of 2022 and most of the attrition came from voluntary resignation.

Further to this, the year 2023 did not start on a great note and the ripple effect of recession is being felt throughout the world economy resulting in mass layoffs and uncertainties. Interestingly, despite the looming peril of layoffs, a spike has been observed in the attrition rate, more conspicuous in some sectors.

Many employees are looking to switch to other companies for the want of better opportunities, competitive salary or to simply have more secured jobs. 

Managing employee attrition is one of the most important strategic priorities and often used as a key performance indicator (KPI) to measure how well CHROs are meeting their people objectives. Any deviation may prove detrimental for the organization’s sustained growth and put a question on CHROs’ credibility. Many times, CHROs face this conflict of positioning attrition as a major challenge in front of other business leaders, it’s only when attrition rate crosses a certain figure, it is deemed as a problem and then the fire fighting starts organization-wide, putting extra pressure on CHROs. 

Therefore, it becomes imperative for the CHROs to keep a tight check and dive into the root cause to proactively control those factors which may trigger attrition.

Is Attrition Predictable?

The big question – is it possible for CHROs to foresee attrition and be armed with the preventable strategies to arrest it at the right moment? 

Fortunately, the answer is yes! Game-changing HR technology and various AI and predictive people analytics and statistical modelling are enabling CHROs to collect, measure and analyse relevant data to predict attrition and take corrective actions.

For instance, an IT giant like Infosys has developed an algorithm that gives a heads-up on people at the risk of attrition. HP also used data science to create a ‘flight risk’ indicator for its employees. The program is designed to identify risk opportunities to save capital.

These and many more such examples press on the need to invest in the right HR and people analytics to chalk out the best strategy for your organization. 

To be able to predict attrition, a great amount of planning is required; a three-pronged approach can help CHROs:


CHRO attrition image

Attrition is not an overnight phenomenon; it starts long before an employee decides to put down his papers.

Therefore, it becomes important to recognize the various factors that may trigger attrition in employees.

These factors can be either work-related or personal; some of the work-related factors may include:

  • Strained relationship with managers
  • Dissatisfaction with compensation and growth opportunities
  • Perceived lack of fairness
  • Uncomfortable working conditions, like long commute hours or change of place.

Apart from these, some of the personal factors may comprise of:

  • Demographics e.g., age, gender, ethnicity etc. Research suggests that women are more prone to quitting work for various reasons as compared to men
  • Personal issues pertaining to marriage, medical reasons, spouse transfer, higher education, etc. 

In most cases, employees contemplating attrition may exhibit a peculiar behavioral pattern that must be taken cognizance of. Disengaged employees may show inconsistent attendance patterns and may take unscheduled and more frequent leaves. Their performance might also look compromised with missed deadlines and sub-standard deliverables. Furthermore, a visible change happens around how and what employees put forth their views about their organizational brand and experiences within and outside organizations – it might not sound very positive and encouraging. 

The data around these factors can be collected formally through various well-made engagement and culture surveys, formal feedback sessions, 360-degree performance evaluations, actual performance data, attendance logs, exit interviews, etc. Informally, insights could be gained through casual team meetings, one-on-one conversations, and social media platforms. Once data is collected, the next step is to measure and weigh multiple variables to ascertain causation.

Root Cause Analysis

CHRO attrition image 2

By leveraging the right technology, one can determine the precise balance of each variable’s contributions to attrition, e.g. multivariate regression model can be used to include all of the variables to see how much each variable proportionally contributes to the attrition. 

Variables showing more weightage will need more attention. Word of caution here – it is not viable to make generalizations for the entire organization, CHROs may guide their team to use a segmentation approach to break down the data to see what’s more relevant for specific business units, functions, and roles. This will help CHROs to customize their reporting to other key stakeholders and business heads which in turn will help in creating bespoke retention strategies for specific groups.

Rectify and retain:

CHRO attrition image 3

Once the segment-wise analysis is done and areas of attention identified, efforts must be taken to create interventions around the determined need, per segment. For one segment, increasing growth opportunities and support would help while for another, offering a competitive salary would be the best solution. 

Furthermore, CHROs can leverage AI-driven initiatives to formulate retention plans and derive benefits like other organizations. Infosys has been using big data and predictive analytics to formulate a retention strategy. They have created an algorithm to identify the criticality of each employee from the skills and experience point of view, which is helpful in making career plans for their teams and identifying training and development needs.

We at Great Manager Institute have been helping CHROs reduce attrition through our AI-powered people manager/leader development platform that not only gives managers team feedback data but recommends actions they can take to improve employee engagement.

Rectify and retain:

Many organizations including Google, AOL, and Facebook use analytics extensively to gain insights into various parameters. India also witnessed a 77% growth in HR analytics professionals, according to a report – The Rise of Analytics in HR: An Era of Talent Intelligence, and the number is slated to further escalate in the coming years.

Today’s uncertain time calls for smart and robust planning to manage employees. CHROs who are at the helm of creating people policies must have a clear understanding of why people are leaving the organization and what can be done to stop this. Harnessing the power of people analytics and AI will give them an edge in arriving at evidence-based predictions and formulation of effective retention programs ultimately helping CHROs to predict attrition and course correction. However, utmost care must be taken around the issues of ethics, data surveillance, and privacy; CHROs must build a culture of trust and transparency to onboard employees and other stakeholders in this journey.

How to use the power of AI in Leadership?

Managers often realize the importance of regularly engaging with their team, fostering their growth, and motivating them to perform their best. However, despite being aware of these best practices, there is often a significant disconnect between what managers know they should do and what they actually do. The use of AI in leadership can help reduce this disconnect.

Numerous qualitative and quantitative research studies show how managers across industries are cognizant of what actions could create high employee engagement at workplaces, but struggle to implement this knowledge into practice – a phenomenon commonly referred to as the ‘knowing-doing gap’.

While traditional methods of teaching people management competencies like classroom training, in-person workshops, and e-learning can be effective in building knowledge of what to do, these essentially fall short of making the managers apply their knowledge in real time. This raises the question of why the ‘knowing-doing gap’ persists.

One factor is the perceived degree of difficulty in performing a task that can lead to the sustenance of the gap. Knowing what is to be done is half the story. Knowing that as a manager I need to resolve conflicts within my team is not enough. The need to also be aware of how to resolve conflicts is crucial. When there is a significant ambiguity on how to execute a particular people management skill, it leads to the persistence of this gap, as the perceived difficulty to perform that specific task is high.

There is an overwhelming amount of information that managers are expected to retain which has been increasing at a whirlwind pace, especially with significant advancements in technology and cultural norms around the world. Building more domain knowledge as well as keeping up with people management competencies comes to be a challenge and can lead to forgetfulness.

What does rsearch say?

Herman Ebbinghaus, a famous German psychologist did extensive research to prove how memory retention declines over time and how information is lost, especially if there is no attempt to retain it. Practicing the behaviors that have been learned, to form steady consistent habits is key.

Now, if a manager has cracked the code of what behaviors to apply and practises them to get better at people management, but does not get relevant feedback from their surroundings or the outcome of the behavior is delayed, it gets all the more difficult to sustain that habit as it is prone to perish over time. To summarise, managers may very well require a system that reminds them to consistently perform constructive behaviors to form habits, especially if there is a significant degree of perceived difficulty; if those behaviors require recalling actions from memory; and if there is poor feedback and delayed gratification for the behavior performed.

As mentioned in the book ‘Nudge’ written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, to bridge ‘knowing-doing gap’, one of the most effective ways is nudging individuals. The authors define nudge as, “…any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.” A nudge makes it more likely for a person to behave in a particular way by altering the environment so that automatic cognitive processes are triggered to favor a desired outcome.

Use of AI in Leadership Development at Great Manager Institute®

With an aim to use the power of AI in leadership development to create sustained habits, we, at Great Manager Institute® have built a new feature called ‘Behavioural Nudges’. Every day, managers using our AI-powered people leadership assessment and development platform receive a simple action that they are supposed to perform during the day to sustain their journey to become great people managers.

The proposed actions are a simple, no-brainer, which exactly details out what is supposed to be done and how. For example:

“Connect with at least two team members today and ask them how you can support them with their work.”

“Take some time today to appreciate a team member and share that appreciation with the group.”

Managers receive nudges depending on various goals that get selected through our employee feedback survey to prioritize a specific area of outcome to work upon. For example,  if your employee feedback survey shows that your team feels you are not guiding them enough, not sharing relevant feedback, and are not focusing on their professional development, then ‘Increase team’s productivity’ is an outcome goal captured for you.

Nudges would be customized to build such behaviors that would make you increase feedback sharing with your team, guide them, and focus on their professional growth. Likewise, there are outcome goals like ‘Reduce team conflict’, ‘Improve team motivation’, ‘Enhance team collaboration’, etc. which send you customized nudges that exactly answer the ‘how-tos’ of listening to your team, resolving conflict between individuals, involving team members in decision making, recognizing efforts of your teams, building intra-team and inter-functional collaboration, etc.

The impact of The Nudge

By providing nudges on a daily basis, which answers what is to be done, how and when, we aim to significantly decrease perceived difficulty and manage forgetfulness by reducing the cognitive load on memory for each manager. Since the effects of a manager’s actions on employee engagement, team performance, and productivity may be gradual, the feature offers a gamified learning experience with instant rewards. Each time a user completes an action, they can mark it as ‘Done’ and earn coins that are collected in one place, making the experience fun.

As experts at fostering people management skills, our constant aim is to bridge the ‘knowing-doing gap’ across industries and functions by making learning exciting, and effective which brings significant results in managers. We truly believe in creating a world where every individual gets an opportunity to work with Great People Managers™. The use of AI in leadership development accelerates our journey towards achieving our objectives more efficiently.