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How to support managers in the face of future work challenges?

Blog > > How to support managers in the face of future work challenges?

Colombe Mandula, co-founder of Simundia and Charles de Fréminville, CEO of Bloom at Work, hosted an HR breakfast on Wednesday 16/10 on the following theme: “How to support managers in meeting the challenges of the future of work?”. Today we offer you a summary of their discussion.

The challenges of tomorrow for managers


To the question “According to you, what challenges are managers facing?” the HR managers present around the table mentioned the fact that their managers did not feel sufficiently trained for their jobs and that there could be problems of confidence in the corporate structure of tomorrow. They complained about the difficulty of finding the right level of proximity with teams, often struggling to balance between empathy and assertiveness.


As an introduction to the talk, we were reminded of the challenges presented by Jacob Morgan in his book “Future of Work”, with the key ones being:

  • Automation
  • Networks (social but also more broadly networking)
  • Worker mobility
  • Globalization (strongly correlated with mobility)
  • The new aspirations of the Millennial generations
  • Compensation is no longer a priority for them
  • Well-being, on the other hand, although difficult to measure and understand is an imperative
  • Technological as well as human changes (and challenges)!


Alarming figures on management and managers


It is therefore a whole culture that must be reinvented and managers must embody this change! Historically, the manager is the one who leads, directs, trains, he has the authority to order the individual actions of which he is an expert. This authoritarian and expert model is now very far from what managers are asked to do: embody a vision, unite teams, coordinate, coach, be a conduit between top management and the field. The difficulty of this change can be seen in the increasingly negative survey figures: 97% of managers say that they think they are doing their job well and their employees are only 64% to agree, 48% of employees think that their manager has no impact on their work and 16% that they would be even more efficient without a manager! Result: this job is no longer dreaming and only 10% of employees wish to occupy this role (and 37% of managers wish to remain so).


In addition to this (already alarming) observation, the situation is not improving: 85% of managers in France find their jobs more complicated than before. This trend is particularly marked in France: managers indeed feel more overwhelmed (78% in France vs. 71% for the Western average), more stressed (74% vs. 69%) and more demotivated (59% vs. 52 %)!


However, management is the keystone in companies which most of the time undergo profound changes, the transmission belt between top management and operational teams. Supporting managers is thus promoting the engagement of talents, the dissemination of the corporate culture, and creating support around the common project.


New managerial models to design the workplace of tomorrow


There are more and more examples of companies that have changed their managerial models to adapt to new aspirations and new challenges. Frédéric Laloux in his book “reinventing organization” quotes several. The general principle is as follows:


Managerial models have colours and change from red to opal following the below rainbow:

Nouveaux modèles managériaux

Another model can provide the keys to support managers in their change: the servant leadership developed by Greenleaf. In this model the manager puts himself at the service of the teams to help them grow, we find an already popularized posture of manager coach.


Train managers to embody these new postures


But change cannot be decreed! It is, therefore, necessary to train managers to embody these new postures. However, training is standardized according to "typical profiles", while we are all different and therefore need individualized support! It is also known that only 10% of a collective theoretical training is retained by the human brain. In particular, responding to the problems of stress, work overload and motivation mentioned requires working on the soft skills that affect each individual even more personally.


The difficulty, therefore, falls to the HR functions, which must offer a personalized, appropriate response at the right time and often on several sites at the same time for new issues that affect a large number of employees.


Coaching provides a good answer to this question, but we have to find a format that can be deployed on a large scale whereas it is now reserved for an elite (top 1% of managers), triggered in “curative” (so when the problem has already taken on too much importance), and inflexible (several months for operational implementation).


Coaching, the solution to develop soft skills


To meet these challenges, Simundia offers large-scale coaching. The short and video format makes it possible to cover a large population and therefore have a measurable impact on the scale of the company. Coaches provide individualized tools based on the context and the issue being addressed, as well as a roadmap to help anchor change in daily life. An HR dashboard also makes it possible to monitor requests for coaching, the themes are chosen and the impact on commitment, performance and fulfilment.


Bloom at work is going in the same direction by proposing to survey all employees on a regular basis to "take the pulse" of the company and gain transparency and responsiveness. The interpretation of the indicators and verbatim collected allow the implementation of actions (coaching, training, team building, etc.). A way to avoid large annual surveys that only reflect a particular moment in the life of the company and often result in watermelon indicators (green on the outside but red when digging).

Written by Olivier Wautier
On 16 September 2021