The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed employee’s attitudes towards work. Work-life balance has become prioritized by workers, with many now no longer wanting to live to work, but instead work to live.
In this context, employees expect their employers to care more about their wellbeing and stress levels.
The issue is that employers are lagging behind; performance reviews remain focused on traditional, formal, process-driven topics, like setting objectives and deciding on learning and development opportunities.
Research by OpenBlend found that HR leaders think that managers are struggling to hold effective conversations about more informal, human challenges, like wellbeing, purpose, and working schedules, when doing performance reviews.
78% of the 20 HR leaders surveyed by OpenBlend said they had medium or high levels confidence in manager’s ability to effectively discuss formal topics; 60% said medium and 18% said high.
In contrast, 44% of the HR leaders said they had low confidence in their manager’s ability to have effective informal performance conversations around wellbeing and purpose. Just 10% said they were highly confident.
The report noted that ultimately “managers find it easiest to talk about more formal dimensions such as setting delivery expectations and ensuring the right tools are available”.
While managers find it “hardest to engage around more informal dimensions such as connecting individual and organizational purpose and supporting wellbeing”.
Support managers better
These figures are worrying given that there is a key correlation between a manager’s ability to talk about wellbeing and purpose with an organization’s performance and bottom lines.
The issue is how you move from process-based performance reviews to more humanized approaches. The solution is more HR support and guidance for managers, according to OpenBlend’s research.
OpenBlend founder and CEO Anna Rasmussen commented that it is critically important to support “managers in how to have broader conversations that enable those managers to understand their employees on an individual level: What matters to them? What struggles are they experiencing? What would improve their working lives?”
“These are the conversations we need to create and normalize – but as our research clearly shows, managers are often less confident in talking to their employees about these more informal issues.
“To overcome this, organizations need to focus on embedding effective and inclusive one-to-ones into their culture as well as adopting the right training and tools that can provide managers with the requisite frameworks and guidance.
“In today’s environment, where employees are having to navigate one challenge after another, organizations need to act on this now if they are to mitigate the impact on attrition and business performance.”
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