September 27 responses

In keeping with the question, some respondents cited things they’re already doing, while others identified aspirational goals. Here’s how they think HR pros can help supervisors succeed:

1. Make professional development routine

“I’m looking for ways to get my established supervisors to look introspectively at their roles. Those who are engaged aren’t the problem—I want to reach those who are ‘too busy’ to explore new methods and ideas.”

  • Recommend Supervising at Iowa: Encourage new supervisors to enroll within six months, then take other series like BUILD.
  • Create professional development plans: Draft one at the outset for every new supervisor.
  • Focus on seasoned supervisors, too: Emphasize that learning is a career-long effort
  • Schedule check ins: Set 30-, 60-, and 90-day meetings to talk policy, process, and progress.
  • Match them with mentors: Give new supervisors a sounding board, especially on challenging topics like performance management.

2. Advocate for more training

“All supervisors need more training, or access to more training. Having difficult conversations, delivering discipline, and dealing with individuals who won’t work are all hard topics that need to be addressed.”

  • Introduce standardized onboarding: Outline expectations and start building skills for success.
  • Push to build training into work schedules: Elevate education as a priority.
  • Introduce new topics and methods: Teach root cause analysis, for example.

3. Engage the team

“It’s important that the people a supervisor oversees be given the opportunity to provide periodic feedback to his or her performance to his or her boss.”

  • Share individual goals: Establish what every team member wants to accomplish and help supervisors help them get there.
  • Emphasize workloads: Expect supervisors to know what everyone does and when to pitch in.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate: Encourage supervisors to hand off any tasks that other team members can do and learn from.

4. Help them shape the culture

“As supervisors learn the details of their new roles and responsibilities, they need to learn how to create a culture where the people they supervise will thrive. This is often missed, and it’s especially important to people in new supervisory roles.”

  • Value flexibility: Show supervisors how it can be a win-win, producing a team that’s engaged and productive.
  • Share support resources: Introduce resources that help team members manage personal priorities and stay fully present while at work.
  • Model healthy behaviors: Lead by example to encourage wellbeing.

5. Innovate at the unit level.

“We are creating a program focused on our two lowest response areas from the Working at Iowa survey and other feedback: conflict and performance management. We’ll hold meetings and workshops that build proficiency in these areas, working to avoid duplication with other programs.”

  • Identify issues: When in doubt, ask your team where to focus.
  • Pilot solutions: Establish success measures, evaluate, and improve.