Employing people

How much of effective HR strategy relies on people managers?

They say employees don’t quit bad companies, but they do quit bad managers. Here’s four tips to build great employee experiences through line managers.

Is your organization guilty of promoting people to managerial
positions they’re not suited or ready for? If you are, you could be undermining
the employee experience you’ve worked so hard to create.

Think about it like this: every employee has a manager, and every
manager has the potential to shape their employees’ experience of the business.
So, if you have 100 different managers, you will have at least 100 different employee

It therefore follows that no matter how much effort you put in to
building your HR strategy and great employee experiences – if the managers in
your company aren’t aligned to this, your talent is still at risk.

The scale of the problem

As the saying goes, people don’t quit companies, they quit managers. In fact, 75% of employees considered their line manager to be ‘the worst part of their job.’

“So much of HR ‘in the trenches’ is impacted by managers, for better
or worse,” explains analyst Ben Eubanks.

Jazmine Wilkes, Human Resources Generalist at Ignite Fueling
Innovation adds: “Managers can make an employee leave a company faster than
anything else.”

Staggeringly, Gallup discovered that companies will promote the wrong person to a managerial position 82% of the time – that could mean a vast number of managers are already in the wrong position.

Are you giving enough support to
managers to ensure they’re adding – instead of detracting – to the employee
experience? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Make sure they’re equipped
with all the company knowledge they need

Ensure that your communication
with managers focuses on giving them the knowledge, encouragement and resources
they need to do their jobs well.

Teach them everything they need
to know about the company. From the business’ values, to its vision. Do this in
a way that helps managers feel connected to the company – involve them in it,
if you can.

Remember, managers are employees
too, with their own employee experiences, and won’t want to feel left out. Once
they’re involved, let them know that one of their responsibilities is to shape
the employee experience for the employees they manage.

2. Add a personal touch

As well as communicating
regularly via official channels, HR and People teams should look to make
personal contact with managers as regularly as possible.

This personal touch will help
managers to feel connected to the company, more motivated and listened-to, whilst
allowing HR and People teams to offer managers guidance and incentives.

Take the opportunity, perhaps
once a quarter, to sit down with managers. Ask how they’re feeling – whether
they could benefit from more training, or mentorship, or if they have any
questions about the company itself. These catch-ups needn’t be official. They
can be informal conversations taken on coffee breaks.

Ben Eubanks recalls an initiative he
used to start an early dialogue between managers and HR: “Years ago, I worked
with a company that was changing performance management structures. The
managers had always balked at previous systems, so we locked them in a room
with the HR team to create a collaborative approach. The surprising benefit of
this was that the managers were on board with the approach from day one because
they helped to develop it.”

By collaborating often, managers feel
encouraged and empowered to contribute, making them more likely to feel
invested and support solutions and initiatives.

3. Be proactive about learning and development

Offering skills-based training can help managers to feel more
competent performing their normal responsibilities.

Management training in particular, however, is a must within your
organization. Even more so, for employees who are managing direct reports for
the first time.

Lolly Daskal, CEO and President of Lead From Within, explains: “Don’t wait for prospective leaders to come
to you – instead, you should approach them. Let them know what talent and
qualities you see in them, and help them see how they can utilize their gifts
for growth.

“The best way to engage more leaders is to
show appreciation for who they are and help them stretch themselves. Show that
you believe in them and give them opportunities to prove you right.”

4. Ask for feedback

The only way to know for sure how
to support managers is to ask for feedback from your management team. What do
they struggle with? What would they change?

In the words of Perry Timms, Founder and
Chief Energy Officer at People and Transformational HR: “Don’t work in
isolation and ignorance of each other’s contributions.”

“With the best intentions, sometimes HR
creates something that misfires”, he explains. “It’s too easy for us to insist
managers comply with their directives when the best approach is to understand
why they aren’t, and jointly review the circumstances managers find themselves
in – whether that’s a busy workload, too much pressure or a disproportionate
amount of time spent on task orientated jobs – and help them devote more energy
towards leading, listening to and learning with their people.”

How much of HR relies on good managers?

Whilst each line manager has their individual style of managing
which will inevitably result in different employee experiences, a good HR team
will train, coach, guide and consult with line managers on ongoing HR issues
and policies to make sure that they are operating within an agreed framework
which encapsulates the company’s values. Are you?

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