The role of managers has evolved dramatically thanks in no small part to new technologies that have shaped the employee experience. Digital transformation has changed expectations around information access, communication, collaboration, and performance management. Managers must embrace a tech-enabled approach to effectively support and engage today’s workforce.
Communicate Through Modern Channels
The days of manager-employee communication happening primarily face-to-face or by phone are gone. Employees now expect engagement through instant messaging, intranet communities, and collaboration platforms.
Make yourself available across preferred digital channels. Take an active part in company forums and share praise and feedback in real-time using chat tools. Quick, streamlined digital communications foster connection. Tech-enabled communication keeps managers accessible while aligning with employee preferences.
The ability to access information and connect on the go is now assumed. Ensure you have mobile access to essential management systems and be responsive in addressing needs virtually. Embrace video conferences when in-office meetings are difficult. With a distributed, remote workforce, the 9-to-5 confines of an office-based manager are obsolete. Mobile technology frees you to manage effectively from anywhere.
Automate Repeat Tasks
Managers often get bogged down in routine administrative tasks that technology can easily automate. Explore ways to hand off repetitive processes.
For instance, use tools that automate:
- data collection/analysis
- status reports
- updating records
- compliance documentation.
Automation frees up managers’ bandwidth for higher value activities like mentoring, problem-solving, and building relationships.
Support Remote Teams
Many employees now work remotely full- or part-time. Digital tools are indispensable for leading cohesive hybrid teams. Use video conferencing for daily check-ins and meetings. Create digital team spaces for collaboration and informal connection. Send regular updates recapping wins and goals.
Prioritize Learning Tech
Today’s pace of change makes continuous learning essential at all levels. Make use of digital training tools to sharpen your own skills as a manager. During onboarding and beyond, complete web-based courses on leadership, communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, coaching, and other critical competencies. Model embracing new technology for continuous improvement. Set an example of seizing digital opportunities for growth.
Collect Real-Time Data
Digital tools allow for gathering instant feedback to inform your leadership. Collect input through:
- short pulse surveys on team needs/concerns
- quick online polls after meetings/projects
- anonymous suggestion boxes.
Solicit regular input at the press of a button. This gives managers an accurate sense of challenges and morale before larger problems manifest.
Streamline Performance Management
Automated systems for goal setting, check-ins, feedback, and reviews make performance management seamless. Select tools that align with your needs, and integrate goal planning and tracking. Digitize multi-rater assessments and maintain consistent records accessible to managers and employees. Automate reminders for key milestones. Well-designed digital systems lend transparency while reducing the labor intensity of performance management for managers.
Audit Your Digital Presence
Like anyone, managers sometimes overlook how their digital footprint affects those around them. Self-audit by:
- reviewing your email/chat tone for unintended insensitivity
- examining the content you share internally and on social platforms
- considering the impressions left by your online schedule habits.
Model stellar digital citizenship. Your example guides employees on the human side of technology engagement.
Specialized support services amplify what managers can accomplish through technology. Secure external expertise in areas like human resource information systems/HRIS, payroll/benefits management, regulatory compliance and IT and cybersecurity. The good folk at VertiSource HR explain that outsourcing administrative functions you aren’t trained in lightens your workload. It also reduces institutional risk exposure.
The digital transformation of employee relations keeps accelerating. Managers must continually adapt their approach to stay ahead of the curve. With strategies rooted in leveraging tech’s human potential, managers can navigate this change successfully.