Frontline managers are crucial: learn how to develop them
Frontline managers must be empowered for successful transformation in the post-Covid world
Post-COVID-19, the number of organizations conducting transformation efforts will increase as businesses are forced to adapt to new market conditions to survive.
Transformation projects are successful only if individual employees change their daily behaviors and begin conducting their jobs in a new way. Transformation leaders looking to ensure the success of their investments in transformation projects must make the frontline manager a driving force for change.
According to a BearingPoint study, granting frontline managers autonomy improves the success rates of transformation projects. For instance, in the UK 30% of frontline managers claim responsibility for delivering expected results of transformation projects. There, 42% of transformation projects are considered successful, however, in France and Germany, where the frontline managers who participated in the survey experience much less autonomy, the success rate of projects drops to 33%.
Frontline managers need different kinds of support and training depending on their professional experience. Frontline managers who are trained and empowered become well-positioned to propose future innovations for the organization and more actively participate in subsequent transformations. The approach to the training and coaching of this heterogeneous population should become more customized depending on individual needs.
The early onboarding of frontline managers from the project definition phase helps increase project success. However, even if these managers are involved in transformation project definition phases, there is still room for improvement in this area. This is shown by our survey: 21%2 of frontline managers are not always involved in the project definition phase and are instead being simply informed of senior- management-defined action plans. Therefore, involving frontline managers in the construction of the scope, objectives and implementation plan helps align all the players to a commonly defined target. This process is suited to the realities on the ground, fostering the appropriation of the transformation project.
Strengthening interactions between the line manager and the transformation project team helps to maintain alignment between these players throughout project development.
Conducting change is still often not part of the frontline managers’ job description and missing from both goals and rewards. Transformation leaders must embed transformation management into the role description and performance cycle of the frontline managers. This ought to include goal setting around change management initiatives, performance evaluation and reward.