Paying Attention to What Needs Attention Just Got A Lot Easier for Frontline Managers
In large companies, one of the most demanding jobs is that of frontline manager. Given the myriad of responsibilities, tasks, and assorted demands, it’s tough for them to focus on which employees and what aspect of their performance need attention each day. So we've decided to something about. it. Read this post and learn how Centrical's Manager Insights uses AI to help frontline managers streamline work and stay laser-focused on coaching their teams to success.
In large companies one of the most demanding jobs is that of frontline manager. The person in that position has a really heavy workload. Reporting up the line as well as managing a team of 15 to 20 employees. Keeping all of them closely aligned with company goals, adhering to policies and procedures, as well as making sure each performs well on a sustained basis.
Given the myriad of responsibilities, tasks, and assorted demands put upon frontline managers, it’s tough for them to focus on which employees and what aspect of their performance needs attention each day. Along with help focusing, frontline managers need time. Identifying the team members doing well or not so well takes times. Lots of time. Something they don’t have.
As the CEO of Centrical, a company with an Employee Success Platform designed to help companies help their employees perform better, I’ve been hearing those twin concerns expressed with increasing frequency. Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and plenty of employees remain working from home (WFH).
So, we wanted to do something.
Yossi Ben Ishay, Centrical’s Vice President of Product, said, “we wanted to find a way to help frontline managers focus on the things that really needed their attention each day. We wanted to go beyond sending them alerts on employees’ whose performance were outside established parameters. The aim was to give context in brief, so more than knowing about the situation they’d gain insight into it and, with AI-shaped recommendations, see what their next best action should be to address each situation.”
Yossi and his team branded the capability they developed Manager Insights. It was added to the Manager Console on the Centrical Employee Success Platform. The design drew a frontline manager’s attention to Manager Insights the moment the console came into view on a desktop or mobile device. Discussions with frontline managers at our customers convinced us that having five truly top priorities appear each day was optimal.
Frontline managers would see five banners, stacked on top of each other. In each banner was the image or avatar of an employee, a few words about the issue or cause for concern, and what should be done, including coaching suggestions or learning activities. The frontline manager could get more information simply by clicking on the banner. And with that, compact tables or trend lines would show the matter with greater context. Of course, if desired, a deeper dive could be made, drawing on all relevant data for the specific employee right from there. Once addressed, the particular banner could be removed. The feature included a built-in reminder function to close the loop. This would ensure that managerial efforts yielded desired behaviors or results. Another set of five banners would appear each day, reflecting the outliers on the team.
Right from the Manager Insights banner, a frontline manager can start to coach or use Centrical’s Conversation feature to start a private one-on-one communications with an employee. In a WFH world, the value of these capabilities cannot be understated. By being able to easily identify and address matters sooner, not later, managers of remotely working teams can ably handle matters before they get difficult. Keep in mind, short of instituting some sort of Big Brother ongoing visual monitoring system, frontline managers can’t see if employees are struggling as they did when teams worked together in the same place.
“It’s important to understand that Manager Insights is not just about bringing to frontline managers’ attention those employees who might be under-performing,” Yossi said. “From the banner kudos can be offered for outstanding work or to encourage a step-up in effort.”
Initial reaction to Manager Insights from Centrical customers makes us feel it’s something that will make a difference for their frontline managers and the employees they supervise. A Centrical customer with a global customer support services provider told us, “it’s like something we have but it takes everything to another, higher, level.” Another, simply said, “amazing.”
Sounds like we listened and built something that will let frontline managers pay attention to what needs attention. To more efficiently and effectively drive the performance of their teams, whether they work in an office, a home or the field.