People management for hybrid working

10 September 2021

Many organisations have been forced to revisit their organisational design as a result of the pandemic. Employers are re-evaluating not just where roles are physically located, but how they are designed, how they are managed, and how they are measured.

The manager as coach

Hybrid working requires managers to develop some new people management skills. Some organisations are looking at the ways managers manage more closely and deciding coaching skills should be a priority.

Managers should be able to coach people to develop their own careers and take responsibility for their own performance and development. This is especially important for hybrid workers, because they spend a large amount of time working independently. Adopting an effective coaching style can also lead to greater engagement and optimum performance from teams. 

Creating a coaching culture

There are two key considerations for businesses wanting to introduce a coaching style:  

  • Coaching is all about experience and reflection. Managing by coaching, rather than by command, means that managers must encourage people to work things out for themselves and ask questions. Are changes needed so that people are comfortable with this?
  • Coaching does not come easily to everyone, and it requires a manager’s time and energy. Do your managers have the skills and capacity necessary to be good coaches?

Who benefits most from coaching?

At an individual level, coaching is of real help to poor performers and employees looking for career development.

But entire organisations can also benefit from a coaching-focused management style. This is especially true for firms that take on lots of trainees or graduates because they need nurturing and a more personalised approach. Managers of employees who have had an extended period of leave will find coaching a valuable tool for helping those people to get back up to speed.

People management in a changing workplace

Great people management has never been more hotly discussed. Here are some of our favourite considerations for managers from the latest commentary on management and the workplace:

  • Great role models aren’t necessarily always ‘on’. Managers need to define for their teams what great looks like. If, as a manager, you’re always ‘on’ your team may feel it needs to mirror your behaviour. This could harm your team’s performance and wellbeing and, eventually, lead to burn out.
  • Management is a service. The best managers and leaders hold themselves accountable to their teams. They make it their business to understand the issues the team faces day-to-day and they enable good delivery. How this is achieved will depend on the organisation, but a manager who removes obstacles to good work is highly valued by team members.
  • Replace the water cooler. Managers who have conversations with teams on topics other than work on a daily and weekly basis tend to foster greater levels of commitment. Even when people are working from home it’s important to keep these conversations going. More junior or newer members of the team who joined during lockdown will especially appreciate regular communication.
  • People like working with people. This is true of teams and of clients. A lot of the feedback we’re getting on workplace sentiment is that people are now tiring of talking to their computers. According to the latest research from Bloomberg and YouGov, even Gen Z and young millennials want to go back to the office, though not full time. These workers are also more concerned about their career progression than any other age group the longer they work remotely.

If you would like to discuss any of your own people management issues, or how to develop a coaching style in your organisation, please contact Kerri Constable.