The world of work is much different today than it was just a year ago. A global pandemic has led to an increased focus on employee health and wellness. Remote work became much more prevalent. Travel ceased—or was drastically reduced to only the most essential trips. The employee experience, as we knew it, needed to be reimagined almost overnight.

Team member and manager needs have evolved, and it’s important that the HR function adapts in order to meet those needs. Here are some ideas to get started:

Encourage employee wellness

Employee wellness is top of mind for many HR teams and managers alike. In addition to preventing COVID-19 transmission, leaders must also pay attention to things like stress management, employee burnout, and anxiety. Train managers on how to identify these things in their team members, and the resources available that could help.

For example, make sure managers are aware of employee wellness benefits, which might include mental health services or a fitness reimbursement. Show managers how to review time off requests in your People Operations Platform, so they can ensure their team members are taking time to recharge. Put together a training on ergonomics so everyone can set up their workspace in the best possible way. Each improvement to employee wellness can help your team members be happier, healthier, and more productive.

Update policies and processes

Company-wide policies and processes can create guardrails for your managers, and help ensure a consistent employee experience across teams. For example, you may want to create or update policies around:

  • Remote work: If some, or all, of your team members will be working remotely, a formal remote work policy should outline your expectations and anything else employees or managers should know. 
  • COVID-19 mitigation: Help team members understand important safety measures if you’re preparing to welcome them back to the physical workplace, and whether you will require vaccination once it’s widely available. 
  • Time off: Share detailed information around sick leave expectations, government-sponsored leave options, and whether you have a paid time off donation policy.

You should also take the time to update people processes that may have changed. For example, how you have adapted employee onboarding to account for social distancing or remote onboarding. This will take the guesswork out for managers, so they can focus on providing a strong employee experience through these unprecedented times.

Provide the right tools and technology

Offering the right tools for your remote—or socially distanced—workforce can help your managers stay in touch with their team members, recognize them for their work, and collaborate on projects. These might include:

Build the HR technology stack that’s right for your organization by first collecting feedback from your managers and team members. Their input can help you adequately address their needs.

Keep a pulse on team members

Collect feedback in a variety of ways, including one-on-one conversations, surveys, or even a suggestion box. Find out what team members need, and take action to address those needs. Relay the information back to managers so they understand how they can better support your teams, and how to take advantage of the programs you put in place.

Also encourage managers to hold regular one-on-ones with their team members to check in with them. Keep the lines of communication open so they can relay important information back to your HR team.

Organize peer mentorship

Managers are in the trenches with their teams, and can learn a lot from one another’s successes and failures. Enable them to support one another through peer mentorship. There are a few ways you might go about this:

  • Random pairings: Randomly pair each manager on your team with another, provide an ice breaker to get them started, and let them take the conversation where they’d like. For example, ask, “What has been your proudest moment as a manager?” or “What has been your biggest challenge as a manager this week?”
  • Targeted pairings: Strategically pair two managers together, so one can help the other overcome a challenge. For example, if one manager has a high turnover rate, pair them with a manager with a high retention rate to see if they can provide ideas and support. 
  • Group mentorship: Similar to targeted pairings, identify a manager who has excelled in a strategic area and ask them to share their experiences with a group of their peers. Your mentors may choose topics like recruiting for diversity, building career paths, or adjusting to remote management.

Peer mentorship can encourage cross-department relationships, and allow managers to seek or offer advice.

Final thoughts on supporting managers

There has been a lot of change over the past year, and your managers need your support more than ever. Help them adapt to these unprecedented times so your team can thrive. This may look a little different in every organization, so let your team members and managers guide you.


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