[Editor’s Note: This post comes from Alexandra Levit, workforce futurist and author of Humanity Works.]
I know a PR professional who rocked her individual contributor job during the pandemic. Her boss took notice, and at the beginning of this year, she was promoted to a supervisor role.
While she was more than qualified for this transition, my friend struggled. She’d suffered anxiety and burnout during the two long years of COVID-19 and felt physically and emotionally isolated from the team she now managed.
Her organization probably would have wanted to help her – if they knew what was going on. But, the company didn’t have a mechanism to find out, and this woman didn’t feel comfortable sharing out of the blue.
A 2021 Gartner survey revealed that 68% of HR leaders agree that hybrid work responsibilities are overwhelming for managers, but only 14% are taking action to remedy this. The manager experience, and especially the new manager experience, can go a long way.
In last week’s webinar with Rival, formerly SilkRoad Technology, I discussed all the essential components of positive new manager experience. Here is a sample of the guidance related to caring for your new managers’ well-being.
Build a sense of psychological safety: Psychological safety is a shared belief held by members of a team that others on the team will not embarrass, reject or punish you for speaking up. Psychological safety is a component of organizational culture that admittedly takes time to establish, but the essence is this: new managers should not feel like their new position or reputation is in jeopardy if they admit they’re struggling.
Develop online training materials that demonstrate empathy: There are obviously certain things you expect your new managers to learn. However, these messages should avoid judging and acknowledge that everyone is doing the best they can. They will also communicate that you understand the stressors new managers are facing and that you give your new managers permission to be human.
Facilitate open dialogue between leaders, managers, and colleagues about mental health: Provide talking points (depression and anxiety are nothing to be ashamed of, etc.) and offer confidential support resources (behavioral health, crisis hotlines, etc.).
Consider expanding your benefits package beyond the basic EAP: Be creative with new wellness services that may include things like nutrition coaching, health retreats, and massage.
Organize all-hands events that focus on mindfulness, resilience and coping with uncertainty: These can be provided in person or virtually, and ideally, senior leaders will participate. In addition to sharing new tools and coping methods, these events will double as team building and relationship enhancing exercises for your distributed workers.
Share the signs of burnout and encourage new managers to seek help before they are drowning: Ensure new managers understand their career and flex-work options, and that you’ve provided training on how to operate most effectively in a hybrid or remote work environment. Remember that this is still a new concept for everyone and new managers don’t know what they don’t know.
To learn more about building a supportive experience for your new managers, check out the webinar replay and let us know what you think!