Insights Discussion: Supporting People Managers in the New World of Work [VIDEO & RECAP]

By Perceptyx - April 17, 2020

3 Key Takeaways from the Insights Discussion

You might think your job is hard, unless of course you’re a people manager, in which case you KNOW your job is hard. Managers have one of the most difficult, emotionally-demanding roles in your organization, and the expectations of managers have only increased over the past several years.

During this week’s insights discussion, we sat down with a panel of HR leaders from three different enterprises to discuss best practices and lessons learned from their experiences supporting people managers during COVID-19.

So what did we learn from the discussion?

1) Treat your managers as if they are the glue holding your organization together - because they are!

Managers are often referred to as connectors, linking pins, conduits, facilitators, linchpins, and several other terms synonymous with a function that is not only essential to an operation, but also makes the connections necessary for success.

Emphasizing effective communication seems fundamental, but we can’t take it for granted. Your managers have an essential role in curating and delivering information across your organization, but it may not be clear to managers how to message these communications properly. Leaders should encourage managers to relay information and respond to employee concerns in a way that is most appropriate to the individual contributors receiving the message. Knowing how to best deliver information is based on a thorough understanding of the challenges, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, concerns, and expectations of the members of their teams. Managers have a responsibility to meet employees where they are, and use their understanding of their employees to deliver a positive employee experience throughout this crisis

2) Managers must be gentle on themselves and their people.

Now is not the time to push yourself or others to do everything. The truth is, many tasks are not mission-critical to operations during--or while recovering from--the fallout of COVID-19. For most businesses, this is a time in which there is tremendous value in focusing on well-being and taking care of yourself so you can take care of others. A leader’s role is to ensure the right work is being done, a role that becomes even more critical during times of turbulence. We must provide our managers with the resources they need to lead their teams, and we can’t assume that someone in a management position is already enabled with the competencies, skills, and resources they need to be great leaders and people managers.

Employee well-being will look different depending on the organization and the function within the organization. The most important concept to push is good communication, empathy, and understanding for the needs of your employees.

3) Encourage empathy, vulnerability, and authenticity from your managers, not perfection.

Empathy is the cornerstone of great leadership. While we are all feeling the unease of ambiguity - a muddy and unclear view of the future - it’s not the job of managers to have all the answers. Managers and senior leaders should not approach employee communications as if the way forward is clear. Candor and transparency will be expected and appreciated by employees. Managers should be open and authentic about their own struggles. Now is the time to lay down the weapons of ego and approach your interactions with employees from a place of heart - truly listening to concerns without judgment, and responding thoughtfully or with a simple acknowledgement that the employee’s voice has been heard. And there’s no better way to reinforce that they’ve been heard than to demonstrate this through direct action and communication.

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