No longer simply responsible for the hiring, evaluating, and firing of their employees, today’s manager has taken on a role that has more in common with a college counselor than a boss. Employees look to their managers for career guidance, work/life advice, and more. “I think that millennials especially take comfort if they have a strong manager,” said career consultant Jyll Henon, who left her job with Yahoo in Sunnyvale, California, to move to Miami to help staff a series of start-ups.


“They’ve become coaches, mentors, friends, consultants, and more. And I think it’s all based on a new level of trust and familiarity that wasn’t there in the past. People are more likely to discuss their personal lives, their career plans, and their problems. The workplace is an extension of our family room, in a way. We’re much more open than we used to be, and that openness creates new roles.”


Total package


Still, the roles that are paramount in a manager’s responsibilities involve creating the best team possible, helping employees achieve the company’s goals and making sure that the best and the brightest stick around for the short- and long-term future. In other words, the main focus of a good manager is team management.


“It comprises all of the work processes and systems that are related to retaining and developing a superior workforce,” wrote Susan Heathfield in The Balance. Heathfield, a management and organization development consultant, continued. “Talent management is a business strategy that organizations hope will enable them to retain their top talented employees. Just like employee involvement or employee recognition, it is the stated business strategy that will ensure the attraction of top talent in competition with other employers.”


Build ’em up


Brian Weed, CEO of GradStaff, says talented new employees especially look for guidance from their managers. Those who find it often show signs of loyalty to their manager, to their team, and to their company for years. “The boss may not have a Twitter account and may find technology challenging, however, don’t underestimate what he or she can teach employees,” Weed said.


“Every industry has important ‘tribal’ knowledge that gets handed down to hew hires, and industry knowledge is absolutely essential to career success.” Weed also suggested that employees with strong mentors placed a higher value on their employers. “These people will be key allies in helping them learn about the company and the industry, as well as advocates for them when new opportunities emerge,” Weed said.