Many workplaces have been evaluating their businesses with the disruption of the pandemic. Whether a workplace has increased flexibility through hybrid work, become more agile in providing services and products to meet customer delivery expectations, or other changes have been made to regrow business that was lost during the pandemic, there have been lots of changes.

Regardless of the changes and innovations we have all made, there is one element that continues to be critical to every business, the humans who perform the work. Lately, we have all been hearing about increased burnout, employees leaving for various reasons, labor shortages, and the financial strain caused by inflation and high gasoline prices. All of these factors can make it easy for leaders to lose sight of the basics of a thriving workplace; the organizational culture set by front-line supervisors.

Successful businesses have been taking an active role in supporting their existing workforce through professional development and the investment has improved productivity, increased sales, and reduced turnover. The best way to upskill your entire organization is to invest in the professional development of your existing and future front-line supervisors. Some businesses may have lost sight of the basic need to train new supervisors while living in survival mode. The best organizations continue to invest in the ongoing training of existing supervisors and also recognize the benefit of recruiting and hiring supervisors from outside the organization who can immediately fill a skills gap. The mix of preparing existing high performers to become supervisors, ensuring new supervisors receive proper support and training, investing in existing supervisors, and hiring from the outside when needed keeps organizations as a whole in the high performing category.

Front-line supervisors have a lot of responsibilities and are expected to effectively supervise their direct reports to drive results, and yet, many come into the role with no experience. Promoting high performing employees into the role of supervisor sends the message to the entire organization that there are career growth options, which helps improve retention. However, a bumpy transition can end up demonstrating to the organization that promoting is too risky.

It is often challenging for new supervisors to supervise employees who were once their peers. While the previous high performer might have achieved mastery of their prior role, now being in a role where the primary responsibilities include delegation, project management, coaching and directing former peers, approving time off, etc. may be foreign and unintuitive. Assuming that the new supervisor knows exactly what to do because they were a high performer is a mistake organizations often make. Developing interpersonal skills as a supervisor may not come naturally to everyone, knowing how to help more seasoned employees continue to feel valued in an organization could be challenging for a new supervisor, and recognizing how to help a poor performer may be a struggle for someone who isn’t experienced in providing performance feedback.

Aside from learning how to coach and guide employees, supervisors are also responsible for recognizing many compliance-related issues that often come up during other discussions with direct reports, such as an employee’s need for leave of absence. Without proper knowledge to recognize that an employee has brought up an issue that deserves further attention, a new supervisor could unintentionally create risk and liability for an organization.

The easiest way to quickly upskill an organization is to ensure that all supervisors have the right tools to perform successfully. The Personnel Perspective has built a robust Supervisor’s Toolkit Training course that we offer regularly. We have seen new and seasoned supervisors’ benefit from learning or refreshing their existing knowledge and become better bosses, guides, coaches, and mentors to their direct reports, benefiting the entire organization. When supervisors have the right skills to be effective in their role, their employees feel supported to increase in their skills and performance; over time, and when done correctly, the whole organization can upskill.

The Personnel Perspective is a full-service HR management consulting firm based in Santa Rosa specializing in human resources, management and employee training and coaching, and recruiting. The firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational excellence through its people. To learn more, call (707) 801-0140.