In our middle manager blog series, we’ve covered the challenges they face and how to support them more effectively. We’ve also heard from middle managers themselves.
In the last post of this series, I’d like to explore how human capital management (HCM) platforms can assist HR teams in supporting middle managers. These management tools are especially adept for learning and job efficiency, so let’s start there.
A self-service learning portal can deliver customized content to middle managers, including communication and team building. Ideally, this learning portal is integrated with talent acquisition, onboarding, project management/workflow, performance, and career mobility systems.
Learning content should be in a variety of lengths and formats, including bite-sized videos, supplementary reading, and simulations, to be consumed at the manager’s discretion.
Learning is a corollary to job efficiency, of course, but middle managers can also benefit from systems that automate simple job tasks and synthesize data.
According to the survey, 60% of respondents are using technology to aid in workforce scheduling, and 61% have technology to measure employee performance. Furthermore, 56% are using technology to speed up recruitment processes, and 44% are using technology to identify flight-risk employees.
Data accuracy and integration, however, continue to be major issues. The Executive Survey found that 85% of respondents have issues with their workforce data, including 39% who said their data was siloed in different systems and 34% who claimed data was outdated or not available in real time.
Given these findings, it’s easy to imagine how data is a thorn in the side of the middle manager. How can they make rapid and informed decisions that are a staple of their everyday lives if they cannot trust their data?
Middle managers will also be reluctant to automate job components if the technology fails to work seamlessly with their core management tools or breaks down unexpectedly. After all, the last thing they need is more stress.
When it comes to creating a better middle-manager experience powered by HCM technology, there are several directions a leader could go. I recommend starting with internal focus groups with HR professionals, leaders, and middle managers in a variety of departments.
In these sessions, inquire about the biggest pain points in the middle manager’s day, and how these are currently addressed (if at all). What training and support do middle managers receive, and what role does HCM technology play in this process? Is the organization satisfied with its retention of middle managers, or would improvement be welcome?
These brainstorms may uncover one area of the employee lifecycle that’s especially troubling for middle managers. For example, perhaps the talent acquisition system is so cumbersome that middle managers’ open positions remain unfilled for months.
In this case, consult IT and/or an HCM provider to devise a pilot technology program with the intention of easing one burden at a time. Starting small will help to build a case for more expansive implementations down the line.
Thanks for joining me for this series spotlighting middle managers. If you’re a middle manager yourself, I hope these strategies help your organizations to help you.
Alexandra Levit is an author, consultant, speaker, and workplace expert. She has written several career advice books, and was formerly a nationally syndicated career columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Alexandra is currently a partner at organizational development firm PeopleResults.View Collection