Love For Our Managers At Datto

April 22, 2016

Love For Our Managers At Datto

By: Daniel Newman

For this week’s Tech & Culture Blog, Associate Trainer, Dan Newman, shares some recent training Datto Managers underwent. 

Love them, hate them, tolerate them—managers have a big impact on employees. In fact, managers are often cited as the main reason an employee stays or leaves a job. Ideally, they should be incredible, but there’s enough examples of when they aren’t. Or are just okay. Or are getting better, but don’t seem to be making much progress.

Instead of leaving managers to their own devices, organizations should invest time and resources in their management. We believe Datto is a place where people can do their life’s work and do it exceedingly well. So, we developed a robust leadership and management training program to cultivate great managers.

One priority we made at the outset was framing this training as professional development, not punitive development. We didn’t assume anyone was in need of remediation or was already a terrible manager. We wanted to frame this training as an investment in great people. Because this was so important to us, the Training Team and HR collaborated over five months to develop a multi-pronged approach to management and leadership development at Datto:

  • First, we brought all new managers up to speed on common skills and techniques so they could all speak a common language. We partnered with the American Management Association (AMA) to produce a high-quality three-day training course covering a suite of basic management skills and knowledge.
  • Second, we conducted application-analysis for managers who had received this training a year ago. It’s easy to forget or neglect concepts when faced with real-world situations; this refresher revisited core concepts while discussing how practice differs from theory.
  • Third, we created a resource library around leadership and management. A lot of talented managers and leaders work at Datto and they all have wisdom to share. We designated part of our company intranet to disseminate the wisdom.
  • Finally, we developed a series of offerings and programs with a holistic approach to leadership and management. Datto is a unique place where unique kinds of leaders flourish; for training to be effective it must be diverse, multi-modal, and frequent. This was accomplished by company-wide challenges, small-group discussions, cohort-based communities, and speakers talking about leadership.

We used the fourth prong as a way to uncover latent talent in high-potential employees that are not in management roles yet. By design, it connects employees from all different walks of life and allows them to share their challenges. We think it’s important to provide grapple points for talented employees to grow their skills and network, so they can be awesome when they inevitably grow into management roles…#win

Datto is always striving to be better. Nobody is exempt from being the best they can be, whether they’re a manager or an entry-level employee. In the same vein, we measure and analyze the impact of these initiatives to grow and change to the always-adapting teams. We’re willing to completely change the way we do this if the data convinces us because, frankly, that’s what it takes to be awesome.