Manager Tax

taxThe HR team has a large number of responsibilities, but by far, the most important is likely creating a workplace where employees can deliver their best with minimal friction; including managers. However, the last time I counted the number of internal tools in my organization that managers needed to work with for managing talent, I counted nine. Nine different URLs that they need to be aware of and use. On poking around, I discovered that this isn’t unique. Many organizations take pride in creating processes around talent management that leaves a manager confused. No wonder that the first thing a manager says when in trouble is – ‘Speak to the HR’ or if they are kind, “I’ll speak to the HR.”

It is a miracle how every solution that the HR team creates seems to magically add just a little more stress on the manager. This only hit home when a business leader came to me with a problem statement and said, ‘Can you try to create a solution that will not add to the manager tax?’ Once look at his earnest face and I laughed for a straight minute.

I realized between struggling with customer obsession and employees first, we have forgotten all about managers. In our intention to do the best thing for our employees and espousing ‘Managers Manage’, managers began to realize that managing people wasn’t as much fun. Take for example the performance management process. How much time do your line managers spend in navigating through it, including managing bottom performers? While it is true that managing people is a large chunk of their job, it is our job to make it simpler for them by not over complicating our processes or giving them yet another spreadsheet to populate.

So while I have already thrown a 31-day challenge out there, here’s another one if you are willing.

Analyze your processes (start with one) to check how you can make it easier for the managers. Ask yourself – is this really needed? Do a cost benefit analysis. Ask yourself if it is something automation (pssst…AI) can help with. Or is it something you can design better.

When you’ve done that, do come back here and tell me what you learnt. Am curious.

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