Article: Transforming managers: From gatekeepers to enablers

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Transforming managers: From gatekeepers to enablers

The changing nature of work has put managers in a challenging position. While their teams ask for greater flexibility, business leaders seem opposed to the idea. How can managers be equipped to tackle this challenge?
Transforming managers: From gatekeepers to enablers

Managers play an essential role in ensuring their teams remain driven and motivated to succeed. The adage that they are the crucial link between the organisational vision of growth and employee productivity has become more critical than ever.

In light of the changing nature of work and employee preferences, their role has gained greater salience. Managers today are tasked not only to ensure their teams are productive but also to shape business processes to meet their needs. 

But many find themselves in a tough spot.

Accentuated by the Great Reshuffle that's been currently underway in economies across the globe, companies today face stiff talent competition. The pandemic compelled employees to reassess their priorities, and today are actively looking for companies that provide them with the right sense of purpose and care. Flexibility and how it's embedded in their work is another essential concern that is shaping employee preference. Such market trends dictate the factors that have become important in determining how engaged employees remain with the company. 

Talent solutions for the new world of work 

While companies reshape how they work and formulate new talent practices to address shifts in employee preference, their efficacy depends on their managers. As crucial variables in the equations, managers accelerate employee performance and play a vital role in ensuring organizational goals transition into everyday work. Moreover, as a primary touchpoint for employees in a hybrid world of work, they play a critical role in shaping employee experience and ensuring employees find fulfilment and purpose in their work. 

Companies can further transform managers from passive stakeholders to active drivers of workplace transformation. To address the growing uncertainty, the right digital solutions strive to revolutionize the impact managers can have on their employees. Microsoft Viva's range of workplace solutions enables managers to leverage the robustness of the Microsoft Teams platform to address workplace challenges. 

What allows talent solutions such as Microsoft Viva Insights and Topics to enable managers to provide real-time answers to some of the most challenging talent problems in a hybrid world. With access to powerful tools to peer into essential team insights, managers can leverage Viva Insights to facilitate a robust work culture. It also helps managers build impactful ways to ensure productivity, create better work habits, and better track the work done by remote/hybrid teams. Insights offer recommendations to ensure employee well-being and productivity are both prioritized. 

Viva Topics remains a state-of-the-art workflow management tool that enables remote workers to stay in sync with those working out of the office seamlessly. 

Today there is a growing business need to integrate these talent solutions into how managers work and operate. Differing expectations pits employees' need for flexibility squarely against the demand from senior leaders to return to a version of the world that existed before the pandemic.  

Modern-day management challenges

Microsoft's recently released Work Trend Index 2022 highlighted the challenges hybrid work presents for managers in India. Over 84% of managers in the country say they don't have the influence or resources to make changes for employees. For many, this problem stems from top leaders, as 65% of managers say leadership is out of touch with employees. According to the report's findings, a critical factor influencing the leader's decision is the uncertainty around flexible work. While over 67% of leaders in India say their company already requires, or plans to require, full-time in-person work in the year ahead, this stands in opposition to what employees expect. 

Over 67% of employees in India said they were likely to consider shifting to hybrid or remote work in the year ahead as part of the WTI’s India specific findings. The demand for flexible, hybrid work remains significantly high within Gen Z and millennial employees, two core demographics of our modern workforce. Additionally, remote and hybrid jobs are still on the rise. 

For many, it's a problem of productivity. The Work Trend Index notes that despite over 85% of employees in the country saying they are just as or more productive since going remote or hybrid, 62% of business leaders in India fear productivity has been negatively impacted since the shift to remote or hybrid work. Moreover, leaders have spent the past two years under crushing pressure, shepherding their people and organizations through uncertainty amid unprecedented economic challenges. So it's easy to imagine why they might see a return to the office as the solution. 

But now, leaders have a new and urgent challenge in an uncertain economy and labour market: setting the standard for flexible work in a way that balances business outcomes with new employee expectations.  Microsoft Viva's range of workplace solutions like Connections and Learning provides leaders with an impactful, robust tool to help them remain productive in a flexible world of work. 

While managers face many challenges in translating their business goals into how their employees work, the right tech solutions can significantly improve their work with the right tech solutions. The right tools can help bridge the gap between leaders' perception of falling productivity in a flexible work environment and the employees' demand for more flexibility. 

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Topics: HR Technology, Talent Management, #ReimagineEmployeeExperienceWithViva

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