HR professionals have a lot on their plates these days. With the dramatic shift many companies experienced toward remote work, and other significant changes brought about by the pandemic, HR teams are being challenged with complex issues in addition to their usual duties.

In response, HR teams should tap into the power of collaboration, particularly with managers. Manager involvement can help streamline processes, create efficiencies, and have a positive effect on employee engagement. To maximize the results of capable HR, strong partnerships between HR and managers are essential. It’s a cycle—effective HR, effective managers, and effective employees drive effective organizations forward. 

In this guide, we will cover five important ways that HR can empower and leverage managers to:

  • Oversee performance management
  • Inform compensation management
  • Recognize employee accomplishments
  • Manage onboarding and offboarding
  • Engage in learning and development

If you’re looking for ways to support your HR teams and strengthen management relationships, pick a few of these to implement.

Oversee performance management

While in most companies, HR is responsible for establishing and overseeing the employee performance management process, managers are tasked with the role of facilitating the completion of the hands-on aspects. Unfortunately, managers are often already overloaded, and performance management can end up at the bottom of their already full to-do list. This makes for a less than satisfying experience for all parties involved. As Brian Kropp, a human resources expert at the Gartner Group, explains to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Managers spend an average of 210 hours per year on performance management, and our data shows their number one frustration with the process is how time-consuming it is.”

One way to alleviate this bottleneck is for HR to encourage managers to approach performance management as an ongoing dialogue rather than a once-a-year formal event. They can also establish ways for managers to get employees more invested in the process by providing them with standardized forms that include questions for them to answer before their performance check-ins and meetings. Taking this approach can be particularly effective when it comes to remote workers. By building in routine checkpoints and creating less formal opportunities for discussions via status calls and virtual one-on-ones, managers can stay connected and share feedback with their remote employees.

Even when performance management happens more frequently, inconsistencies and bias can affect the process. To address this issue, HR can implement the use of a committee to conduct performance evaluations. According to Harvard Business Review, this approach starts with managers subjectively rating employees’ performance. That data is then passed on to a calibration committee composed of other department managers and high-level staff. The committee meets to reach a common understanding of the types of achievements and contributions that warrant various performance ratings. The committee then has the authority to make adjustments to individual employee ratings as needed. After this, the managers meet with their direct employees to discuss the ratings.

Regardless of the specific performance management methodology used, it is important that there is a system to support HR, managers, and employees in maximizing the program’s effectiveness and ensuring a fair and unbiased experience for the employee. To maximize efficiency, streamline the process, and support everyone involved, we recommend using an HCM that offers performance management as part of the solution. Key performance management features to look for in an HCM include customizable scheduling and automated reminders, actionable goal setting that aligns with department and company strategies, and accessible reporting that is easy to review and analyze.

Running seamless performance reviews in bob

Running performance reviews in bob is easy and flexible. You choose how to manage the process and how often. Using one centralized platform, all stakeholders are kept in the loop so you can seamlessly manage 360° performance reviews, including evaluations from employees, peers, managers, and subordinates in one place. Sample review questions help to unify the process company-wide and save time. 

Performance reviews don’t need to be a formal, once-a-year process. bob helps you to empower continuous employee growth by setting clear goals and growth plans. Whether you are working remotely or in the office, bob helps you run a fair and unbiased review process. All employee data, such as employee achievements and promotions, are easily accessible in bob.

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Inform compensation management

An effective compensation management process benefits both the company and the employees. According to a Harvard Business School study, performance-related pay, including incentive and merit bonuses, positively affected employee engagement and job satisfaction. While HR is responsible for establishing and implementing an organization’s overall compensation management strategy, HR teams should partner and collaborate with managers to clearly define job levels and associated salaries.

Managers have the most visibility about each individual job. Working alongside their team members, they understand the skills, abilities, and background required to be successful in a role. Their daily experiences and observations can provide valuable data for job descriptions and job leveling decisions. Managers can also help conduct compensation reviews to ensure there aren’t pay gaps.

When it comes to compensation management, HR and managers alike can find themselves struggling with outdated compensation tools such as databases or spreadsheets that make it difficult to have a direct line of sight into their budgets. To empower managers to help with compensation management, an effective system must be in place.

Investing in a compensation management system can alleviate the burden by making accurate and up-to-date data readily available and providing customizable reports that allow managers greater visibility and provide the information they need to communicate about compensation with their employees effectively. In addition, compensation management systems can also help HR leaders become strategic in their approach. A system can provide a compensation scorecard that provides metrics HR can analyze and use to identify any issues.

Managing a smooth compensation process using bob

bob helps companies make fair compensation decisions on allocating equity, bonuses, and salary increases among their employees. All stakeholders involved in compensation decisions, such as HR, C-levels, finance, and managers, have access to real-time employee data on salary, tenure, and performance. This enables them to identify pay gaps, and collaborate within bob to make meaningful, equitable decisions. bob supports multiple currencies and pay periods, enabling seamless compensation allocation across global teams.

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Recognize employee accomplishments 

Employee recognition encompasses everything from specific achievements such as meeting sales goals and celebrating milestones such as work anniversaries or length of service. Special occasions such as welcoming new team members or highlighting stellar job performance also fall under recognition. When a company has an official and organized recognition program, it demonstrates to employees that the company values them. Managers, leaders, and colleagues are empowered to acknowledge each other for contributions they make to the organization’s overall success, which helps employees feel more engaged and motivated. 

An O.C. Tanner employee survey included the question, “What is the most important thing that your manager or company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?” Respondents provided various responses and personal examples, but a pattern emerged—37% of respondents said that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often. Additionally, a Glassdoor study found that 53% of employees would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their managers.

Due to competing priorities and a lack of time, recognition may, unfortunately, slip to the bottom of HR’s list. It’s the nice-to-have program that never happens. But HR doesn’t have to be involved in every single recognition act. Manager involvement is essential to the success of a recognition program. This is a great area for HR to partner with managers to make recognition as meaningful and as powerful as possible. As well as to make sure recognition happens.

The program should be straightforward and simple to use. When recognition is easy to do, everyone is encouraged to participate. HR can empower managers by ensuring that they have templates, tools, and resources that make recognition easy to implement. Peer-to-peer recognition is also an effective way to increase engagement and boost morale. Social media shout-outs, team kudos, and gamification are all important aspects of a well-rounded recognition program. Giving recognition may not come naturally to everyone, so it’s also helpful to provide a guide or even quick training about how to make recognition as meaningful as possible. Once HR puts these tools in place, they can step back and let managers enjoy the experience of making employees feel appreciated for their efforts.

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Celebrating employee achievements and milestones in bob

bob makes it easy to create a culture of employee recognition at your company. bob’s Shoutouts can be used to celebrate employee milestones such as birthdays, work anniversaries, and promotions or to give a warm welcome to new hires. Kudos recognize outstanding employee or team achievements, such as surpassing a sales target, completing a complex project, or establishing an employee resource group (ERG). Anyone can post a Shoutout or Kudos and show their peers, subordinates, or managers how valued they are. All employees can join in the celebration by responding through posting comments or emojis.

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Manage onboarding and offboarding

As the frontline introduction to the organization, managers need to provide consistent, helpful onboarding—even if it’s not their strength. Research conducted by Glassdoor shows organizations with a strong onboarding process improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. A robust onboarding program helps engage employees from the start and get them up to speed quickly to be productive sooner.

In a study conducted by LinkedIn, 72% of employees say one-on-one time with their direct manager, whether conducted in person or remotely, is the most important part of any pre-boarding or onboarding process. This indicates the importance of a manager’s role in the onboarding process. HR can support managers by offering an onboarding plan and program that they can utilize to ensure their new hires start on the right foot.

Another great way for managers to ensure successful onboarding is by assigning an ambassador or buddy. It’s as simple as matching an experienced employee with a new hire to help make introductions, answer questions, and initiate regular check-ins. According to HCI, 87% of organizations with a buddy program consider it an effective way to speed up new hire proficiency. Yet, less than half of companies include one in their onboarding process. 

When it comes to virtual employees, an effective onboarding process takes on even more importance. Managers cannot rely on in-person interactions to ensure they are integrated within their team. HR can help facilitate greater manager involvement in onboarding by using an HCM with an integrated onboarding system to reduce manual administrative tasks, allow employees to complete essential forms online, and send automated reminders to managers to ensure milestones are achieved and the process stays on track.

As crucial as a strong onboarding process is, the same attention and effort should be applied to employee offboarding. Your offboarding experience has a direct effect on your employer brand. Yet, a survey done by the Aberdeen Group shows that just 25% of organizations report having a formal offboarding process in place. By prioritizing the offboarding experience, HR and managers can work to ensure that employees leave with the best possible feeling about the organization. It also helps everyone accomplish the required administrative tasks, and offboarding lessons learned can be applied to improve retention. 

As the people who help an employee exit, it makes sense for managers to be empowered to handle these essential offboarding steps. Having the right HR tools in place can support them in this offboarding effort by providing a streamlined process that includes online access to forms, key documentation, and automated reminders to ensure a successful employee exit.

Seamless onboarding and offboarding with bob

bob helps to make onboarding and offboarding positive and smooth experiences. With bob, you don’t need to wait until a new hire’s first day to help them to feel engaged and part of the company. Set up a preboarding workflow for uploading personal information and documents directly into bob, and get all of the paperwork out of the way. You can also set up task lists for the new hire’s manager to get in touch and for IT to purchase the necessary equipment and set up the employee’s workstation. bob’s onboarding workflows help HR provide new employees with a positive onboarding experience from their first day and ensure that no detail is overlooked. All onboarding workflows can be set up in advance and automated for new joiners with a click of a button. 

Likewise, when an employee leaves, you want to give them a positive experience. Set up offboarding workflows that cover everything from returning equipment to scheduling an exit interview. Use lessons learned to make positive changes for your company.

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Engage in learning and development

While the HR team can provide the organization with comprehensive and robust learning and development (L&D) programs, they don’t have the bandwidth to facilitate learning and performance improvement for every individual. It is a manager’s role to work with their employees to define and set development goals. Managers should also be empowered to communicate how those goals relate to advancement opportunities within the company. 

As Andy Grove, the legendary founder of Intel, once said, “there are only two ways in which a manager can impact an employee’s output: motivation and training. If you are not training, then you are neglecting half the job.” For learning and development to be truly effective, managers are positioned to ensure activities are tied to the employee’s role and goals.

Additionally, as Training Industry Magazine points out, learners change their behavior when their direct managers reinforce and communicate about training before, during, and after learning. This is where managers—as the ones in touch with the employees daily—can be leveraged to support L&D in a very strategic way. By providing coaching experiences within the flow of work and identifying when and what type of additional development training will have the most impact, managers can assist employees in making the most of learning opportunities. 

This is especially important when providing L&D opportunities for remote workers. As managers have more virtual employees than ever, there is a need to change the length and duration of learning activities. Rather than all-day intensive sessions, content should be delivered in a more condensed, action-oriented learning style that can happen over a period of time. According to Joe Miller, vice president of learning design and strategy at BenchPrep, “The previous one-off training programs,” such as a one-day workshop or a few hours of a training session, “lose their effectiveness if that content is not reinforced and constant in nature.” 

When learning can happen in an extended timeframe, and managers can reinforce concepts within the normal course of work, understanding and training effectiveness will ultimately increase. In addition, managers can then see firsthand how their employees apply the new knowledge to their daily work.

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Creating a culture of Learning and Development with bob

As a powerful people management platform, bob was designed to empower company culture and put employee growth at the front and center. Using bob, HR, managers, and employees can easily plan, track and celebrate learning and development. 

bob’s Goal Setting feature enables HR and managers to assign training as a goal for employees. This can be as part of onboarding, ensuring that all employees complete a specific training session or encourage learning of a new tool. Employees can also set goals for themselves, creating timelines for personal achievements over the next month, quarter, or year. 

Employee development and achievements can also be recognized and celebrated across the company using Shoutouts and Kudos, helping to create a culture of learning and development. 

Finally, bob integrates with several popular learning management systems (LMS), enabling HR to create ongoing training opportunities for their employees. Certifications and achievements can be documented on employee timelines as recognition for their accomplishments and future reference by the company.

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When it comes to employees in the workplace, managers matter perhaps more than any other element. According to Gallup, managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. That’s why it’s so critical to have HR systems in place that can empower managers to take an active role in employee management tasks like performance and compensation management, recognition, onboarding and offboarding, and learning and development. 

A strong collaboration between the HR team and managers and the right tools and systems to support this collaboration will ultimately deliver the kind of experience that keeps employees satisfied and engaged with the organization.