Invest in Your Employees’ Future
As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, begin to anticipate future priorities and initiatives.
Be intentional about developing the people on your team for roles that will support your department’s priorities and initiatives.
Focus your feedback and coaching on the specific skills, knowledge, and abilities that your faculty and staff will need in their future roles.
As the vaccine becomes more widely available there is a sense of cautious optimism for the future. We can begin to imagine what life will be like when more faculty and students return to in person teaching and learning and more staff meet and work face-to-face.
Still we know that our work post-pandemic will not be the same as it was pre-pandemic. Some of our work may continue to be done remotely, some of the systems and processes that were developed to meet the challenges of the pandemic will continue, and there will be new obstacles to address.
While much of the future is unknown, we can help the faculty and staff that we supervise to develop the knowledge and skills they will need when the pandemic places fewer limitations on our lives.
Anticipate the future
The core purpose of your department is not likely to change; however, your priorities and short term goals may need to shift to align with changing circumstances. As you prepare for the future, think about these things:
- What work will need to continue?
- What new initiatives, projects, and tasks will need to take place?
- What are the specific outcomes for that work?
- How will that work be carried out?
As our situation changes and evolves, continue to clearly share with your team how your department’s goals and priorities are also changing to meet the demands of the moment.
Assess the readiness of your team members
Faculty and staff at the University have accomplished things we never thought possible. Continue to take advantage of the momentum of growth that’s taken place during the pandemic. Reflect on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the people on your team.
- Who is ready to take on future challenges?
- Who is interested and capable of developing the skills and abilities needed to do this work in the future?
- What are the facts and data to support this person’s readiness?
- Start to discuss with your faculty and staff their career objectives and future opportunities.
Check your bias
Unconscious bias can easily make its way into who supervisors focus their time and resources into developing and promoting. Be intentional about who gets opportunities for special assignments or exposure to senior leaders. Are you constantly calling on the same people for these opportunities? Why? Are there others who rarely or never get opportunities for development? Why? Use data and facts to make decisions, rather than groupthink or gut instinct.
Focus on feedback, coaching, and learning
Providing thoughtful, authentic, and clear feedback is the most important thing you can do as a manager to support your employees’ growth and drive their performance. Focus your feedback and coaching on the specific skills, knowledge, and abilities that they need in their future roles and provide them with new experiences and assignments that will help to prepare them.
These three quick guides can help you deliver impactful feedback and coaching: