“Our managers will lead us through this crisis”: What are you doing to support them?

This year has been an unsettling time, things are uncertain and many businesses have had to adapt and reorganise. Its’ important to do all the necessary planning to make sure that any change programme runs smoothly. That’s obvious, but less obvious, is the need to create a clear plan to provide support to retained employees, particularly following a restructure.

Once a new organisational structure is launched, and changes to processes and systems are underway, what’s in the plan to support the people the business is going to be relying on to take it forward? The impact of change on employee’s daily lives, ways of working and general wellbeing, may have been significant. Restructuring can be a worrying experience for some, and right now the pandemic has amplified the cultural and operational turbulence that normally accompanies change.

A survey by KPMG in May 2020 of 1,000 US employees and managers noted that 72% of upper management and 66% of middle managers said their job had become more demanding in the wake of the pandemic. It is arguable that this number is indicative for the UK too, with many senior managers experiencing an increase in both the volume and complexity of work they must do, along with a potential uptick in stress and anxiety.

If the focus has been on executing the change process itself, employees that remain with the business may have been given less consideration. Arguably in many cases, a lot more attention could be paid to this group at both the planning and post-restructure stages of change programmes.

Following any reorganisation, it is not unusual to entrust experienced, loyal employees with a broader job scope and additional responsibilities. After all, they are a known quantity and it would be great if they could deliver another X% wouldn’t it? However, there could potentially be an adverse impact on employee wellbeing, focus, engagement and performance if they are not adequately supported.

How are managers and employees really feeling? Are they getting to grips with changes that have been made?; feeling isolated working from home; worried about whether they are supporting and leading their team in the right way; hitting the performance measures that have been set; fearful of losing their job too? Employee burnt-out is a real concern, symptomatic of people feeling like they are ‘always-on’, required on back-to-back video calls, working longer days and striving to make themselves heard in a virtual work environment…

The challenges of 2020 will continue into 2021 and the role of people managers is more critical than ever, supporting their reports to keep them healthy, engaged and performing at their best. Managers need to be empathetic to the many concerns employees have, these concerns may not be as noticeable as they once were. Its’ now more important than ever to have a plan to support managers to be at their best to help others. Coaching is one intervention that can help with this.

If you are considering how to best support your managers, please do get in touch

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