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Six Chicago technology companies share their insights on how companies can ensure their new managers hit the ground as leaders. Groupon’s blended learning program, for instance, equips leaders with the tools they need and allows them to get practice by using those tools in the real world. Its leaders also have an online resource they can use if they need assistance in managing a team, says Eliza Wicher, head of global talent development. She says leaders need to be able to listen and adjust their plans based on employee input. At SMS Assist, Chief Human Resources Officer Becky Lowe says their in-house program cultivates new leaders to be successful in their roles via a variety of developmental tools. The collection of courses offer workshops, microlearning videos, coaching aids and direct access to the talent development team on emotional intelligence, dealing with conflict and providing critical feedback, among other issues. Home Chef offers a six-month, in-house leadership development program with a focus on emotional intelligence and changing behaviors to make candidates more effective leaders. Meanwhile, Upwork offers a formalized mentorship program that pairs all new hires with budding leaders, giving mentors the opportunity to jump right into real-life leadership challenges and actively coach new hires in their first months. At Hireology, Vice President of People Shannon Ward says that it is not only crucial to provide new leaders with the training they need, but also to provide ongoing development resources for existing leaders. Finally, at cleverbridge, HR executives say developing leaders requires a focus on empowerment to enable all leaders to communicate transparently, provide regular feedback and be able to recognize great performance. The company also looks for people who are truly passionate about leading teams.

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