Hays UK jobs and employment blog


How Covid-19 has changed what it means to be a ‘good manager’ - forever

By Mark Staniland, Managing Director of Hays Ireland

The worldwide coronavirus crisis has put managers to the test, and many have had to adapt rapidly to protect their teams and organisations. The paradigm shift to ways of working has been compared to other crises like the Second World War, and just as that conflict was a catalyst for social and economic change, the impact of coronavirus will be far reaching, potentially changing the way we work forever.

With that in mind, here are 5 skills good managers need to have to counter the threat of coronavirus to their business – and, crucially, to help it thrive again once the crisis moves on:

1. Remote management

A no-brainer right now, managers need to be able to manage and develop a scattered workforce, keeping teams aligned despite their remote locations. Managing remotely presents a very different challenge to managing an in-house team. Greater delegation, trust and transparency is needed, and more effort is required to get face-to-face time with each member of your team (through the right video conferencing software of course).

Managers who fail to adapt to remote working will find it more difficult to keep up productivity and morale during this challenging time. Even once the crisis has passed, more and more workers, emboldened by recent experiences, will demand working-from-home as standard. In order to thrive as a manager in the future, managing remotely must be a string to your bow. Visit our ‘Inspire me remotely’ employer hub for tips and advice on remote management.

2. Wellbeing management

Social isolation is, well… isolating. Humans are social creatures, and long periods of continuous remote working will have an impact on your employees’ psyche. At best, employee motivation and productivity will be down; at worst, their health could be affected. As an employer, it’s up to you to ensure that your employees’ wellbeing comes first, and that they have the support they need to keep themselves happy and healthy while remote working.

We’ve created a guide to help you manage your team’s wellbeing, as well as a suite of free training packages to help improve worker morale over the coming weeks. These will be invaluable tools even after the crisis has passed and will help ensure that wellbeing is always prioritised at your organisation.

3. Agility and adaptability

Being able to adapt quickly to new and unforeseen challenges is a useful skillset at the best of times, but is absolutely vital in a post-coronavirus world. During periods of uncertainty it is quick decisive action which gets teams and organisations through. By being highly reactive to new developments and agile enough to adopt new solutions, a manager can help his team survive and thrive.

Adapting quickly to remote working, and establishing new processes to make working from home possible is a brilliant example of agility and adaptation, but before this crisis is over, more agile decisions will need to me made.

4. Skills strategy and talent pipeline management

Agility is not the only thing a manager needs to thrive in times of crisis. Strategy too is important, particularly in regard to staffing needs. Business doesn’t stop just because you’re working remotely, and if the recovery is to be slow, managers and leaders need to have a solid strategy for the acquisition of new talent with new skillsets in the remote working world.

The working world will have to adapt to the new normal, including interviewing, recruiting and onboarding staff remotely. To help you do this, we’ve created a guide to onboarding remotely, with insights into how you can manage your staffing and continue to hire during the crisis. In the future, this skillset will allow you to make hires based on skills alone over location. You could even find yourself able to manage an international team of experts from your home office.

5. Team development and upskilling

With an uncertain horizon, and concerns about the future commonplace, the best thing you can do is retain your workforce and put them first, even if this means temporarily furloughing them. During this time, managers should be taking stock of their team’s skills and trying to understand how they can be further developed for the future.

Remote working skills are clearly important, but what else? Coding, design, data analysis? Most skills can be picked up online and developed remotely. By offering your team the chance to develop their skills, whether furloughed or not, you’ll demonstrate your dedication to their development, as well as securing a strong, skilled workforce ready for new challenges and opportunities once we emerge from the coronavirus crisis and move forward to conquer the next challenge.

If you have any further questions or concerns about hiring in the current climate, please contact your Hays consultant, or visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work Hub to access a collection of resources that will help you to manage your team, undertake interviews and successfully onboard new candidates – all whilst working remotely.

About this author

Mark joined Hays in 1985 as a trainee consultant and has been in various roles, sectors and locations during his time at Hays. He is a Board member and in 2019 his responsibilities extended to Hays Ireland.


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