Thanks to hybrid work, where employees can choose where, when, and how they want to work, the role of managers has become even more critical, and we need them more than ever.
Hybrid work has offered people the opportunity to own their professional lives.
On the other hand, it brings challenges like high stress levels, pressure, and uncertainty. Many people also need help to differentiate between their work and private lives and unplug entirely at the end of a shift.
In this respect, managers can play a critical role as they know employees personally, help them set boundaries, and maintain a work-life balance.
In this article, I’ll discuss the importance of managers in driving a company’s culture and how they can actively empower employees with a hybrid work schedule. Let’s dive right in!
Why are Managers Important?
Managers are important because they impact employee engagement strategies and culture change twice as much as anyone else in the organization. They can make or break the employee experience and how employees work together to achieve common goals.
A supportive management structure can encourage a quality workplace culture that supports diversity, improves employee engagement, and builds a quality job environment that attracts new talents.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, highlighted the importance of managers, saying managers are full-service concierges.
Research has shown that great managers matter when creating a great workplace. Google’s Project Oxygen found a causal relationship between great managers and more substantial outcomes for teammates.
Another webinar by Humu concluded that managers are the most critical connection points between the workforce of any organization and higher levels of leadership. Information flows through managers from multiple channels to the upper levels of organizations.
The webinar called managers agents of change and the force that can make or break the employee experience. The following statistics backed up this claim:
- Employees are 7.9x more likely to stay at a job when given consistent growth opportunities by their managers.
- Great managers can get 22% higher employee engagement across their teams.
- Teams with great managers tend to have 78% more psychological safety, which is one of the essential factors behind effective performance.
- 40% of the departing employees could be retained if their manager takes positive action on time.
- 58% of the employees consider their manager the most significant cause of their burnout.
What Role do Managers Play in Driving Hybrid Work Culture?
As discussed earlier, hybrid work allows employees to deal with their professional duties the way they prefer. They can take their work to their dining table, park, beach, or even a resort in the Alps. However, in doing so, the division between professional and personal life is fading, affecting work quality.
This is where managers must build a connection between a hybrid workplace and personal life. Here are some ways in which a manager actively empowers their employees in hybrid work and drive a company’s culture:
Help make Wise Decisions
Managers help employees pinpoint their limits and make more effective decisions about their working lives. Of course, they are still free to choose when and where they want to work, but managers can guide them if the place they have chosen is right for them would they be able to focus on their work.
Protect Employee’s Drive & Energy
Managers connect with people on personal levels, which enables them to get the best out of them. They know their hidden talents, how much work is too much for them, and how productive they can be in a given amount of time. All this information allows managers set specific targets for them while protecting their drive and energy, which can ultimately prevent burnout and create happy and empowered employees.
Improve the overall well-being of employees
Great managers are highly concerned about the overall well-being of their employees and want them to be happy and energized. They encourage employees to be honest about their feelings and find ways to uplift their spirits to increase their productivity at work and tackle the detrimental effects of hybrid work.
Allow employees to share their concerns
Another way managers empower their employees is by creating an environment where employees are welcome to share their input and talk about their concerns. In hybrid work, it is important to recognize the problems of virtual working, which can be hard to cope with.
Working remotely regularly can hamper people’s sense of belonging, and allowing them to share their feelings gives them an impression that their employer cares about them.
Challenges Managers Face Today
Even though managers play a critical role in promoting a positive workplace culture, they face many challenges due to the need for more tools, support, and how to build community in the workplace.
According to the research by Humu, the COVID-19 pandemic has created several new obstacles, and managers have twice the attrition risk compared to other employees and a 25% higher burnout rate.
According to a recent study conducted by Dell in Asia Pacific, 60% of the managers say they don’t feel mentally ready to manage hybrid teams. Moreover, they experience distorted communication, scope & deadlines, and the pressure to organize every element of good management as the key challenges.
How to Support Managers at Different Levels?
Managers are fundamental for an organization’s success and incredibly important to give them the support they need. Here are a few steps you can take to support your managers:
One of the most helpful things you can do is get your management teams to work together and train them on the key fundamentals, like handling hybrid culture and creating psychological safety at work for employees. Train them on delivering the objectives while following the hybrid guidelines successfully. There are two free courses, “How to Manage a Remote Team” by GitLab and “Communication strategies for a Virtual Age” by the University of Toronto that you can recommend to your managers who are interested in improving their skills.
Involve them in the onboarding process
Around 10% of the employees left their jobs due to poor hiring processes. Most freshers are recent graduates and may find it extremely challenging to understand the company’s cultural values. Things get even more complicated in hybrid work schedule as they don’t have much time to have face-to-face interactions with their team members and connect with them. Managers play a vital role in the onboarding process and easing in newcomers. Even Nadella said that Microsoft interns return to the company because of the great immediate manager.
Keep them informed
Managers are the connecting points through which employees experience the company’s culture, so keeping them involved in all the major decisions is the key to success. Salesforce gives their managers monthly “All Leader Calls” to share information and resources and also sends regular email updates with solutions on how to tackle managerial issues.
Provide them with opportunities for team interactions
Companies should nudge managers regularly for important occasions like birthdays, milestones, and others to celebrate their achievements. Additionally, give them ideas and opportunities to bring their teams together, such as for an after-work dinner or drink session, to ensure they all feel connected.
Give them the right tools
Just like baking cookies without a baking sheet and oven won't get you very far, the right employee management software is crucial for managers to succeed. Empower managers by investing in the tools they need to do well.
Companies need to understand that even if they have HR teams to drive employee engagement, they still need managers who can connect with employees on a personal level and boost their morale with employee engagement best practices.
As for hybrid work, it is critical to have experienced managers who understand the needs of the employees, meet their expectations, and lead them in the right direction. Luckily, more and more businesses now realize the importance of managers in driving a hybrid culture and providing them with the right resources to carry out their duties.
Managers are and will always be a central part of any organization, which may fail without them. Hopefully, after reading this article, managers will be given the respect and importance they deserve!