CFOs: Have you allocated budget for ensuring managers’ success in the hybrid world? According to Gartner, there are three strategies that can help achieve this.
A Gartner survey of 75 HR leaders in January 2021indicates that 84% of respondents said it was more important for managers to develop soft skills — such as navigating difficult conversations — in a hybrid setting.
“Organisations must invest in resources to support managers and equip them with the skills they need for this new way of managing,” said Caitlin Duffy, research director in the Gartner HR practice.
Gartner research found that employees whose managers drive sustainable performance — high individual performance, while contributing positively to others’ performance without compromising their health — are 17% more productive and 1.7 times more likely to stay at their organisation than other employees.
The three strategies to ensure managers are prepared to lead their teams in a hybrid setting are as follows.
Equip teams for resilience
The shift to hybrid work has meant that teams are more geographically dispersed.
Therefore, to ensure managers' success in the hybrid world also means enabling managers to foster resilience and collaboration among their teams.
To achieve this, organisations must invest in tools and technologies that facilitate intentional collaboration — both synchronously and asynchronously.
Organisations can support stronger intentional collaboration by empowering employees to develop new collaboration habits that work for them in today’s environment, providing equal access to multiple worksite options, and calibrating virtual team norms with HR.
“HR leaders should also empower managers with the flexibility to reprioritise resources as circumstances change, ensure key outcomes are visible to direct reports and realign performance management goals with business priorities,” Duffy said.
Gartner research shows managers who can effectively reprioritise resources and goals are 27% more likely to sustain their team’s workforce health.
Invest in human-centric managers
To support employees, HR leaders must help managers develop the skills they need to navigate difficult conversations that foster team cohesion, inclusion and psychological safety.
This entails teaching managers to not only develop the skills to navigate vulnerable conversations with their direct reports, but also tailoring their approach to different employees to develop a deep understanding of their behaviours in context.
In addition, organisations must not overlook the well-being of managers.
The January 2021 Gartner survey of 75 HR leaders found that 68% of HR leaders believe managers are overwhelmed. Yet, only 14% of organizations have redefined the manager role to reduce their responsibilities.
Employers need to make space for well-being in managers’ workloads by helping managers radically prioritise and giving them permission to focus on it, said Duffy.
“When employers support employees – in this case, managers – with all aspects of their health during turbulent times, not only do they have better lives, but they perform at a higher level.”
Pivot to measuring performance by impact
With the onset of the pandemic, many organisations struggled to measure the productivity of their workforce in the newly remote setting.
According to Gartner, more than one in four organisations reported investing in new technology to passively monitor their employees in 2020.
To create a high-performing workforce, organisations should foster a culture where employees feel seen, not surveilled.
Specifically, to implement employee monitoring practices effectively, HR leaders should do the following:
1. Articulate a clear objective for monitoring employees, and help leaders and managers develop a common understanding of when to use it.
2. Choose metrics to measure the quality and impact of employees’ work. Organizations should use metrics for employees’ benefit, such as to gain context about their experiences and to identify work frictions.
3. Explain the purpose behind tracking, including how it is intended to benefit them.