Why you need people managers [PODCAST]
Two experts share their views
Companies are increasingly prioritising wellbeing, both in industries where this is a given, and in more business-oriented environments. You need to create a pleasant working environment if you want your employees to flourish. People managers play a crucial part in this, acting like a bridge between management and the employees and influencing the organisational climate. In this episode of the HR Magazine podcast, Lode Peters, Director of Zorg Vilvoorde, discusses this in more detail with Marleen Lindemans (Business Development Director at AG Health Partner) and host Liesbeth Imbo. He also explains how the High Energy Habits for Leaders programme provided an answer to his team leaders’ questions. We share the 3 most important insights with you below.
#1 Wellbeing is a basic requirement for a flourishing workplace
Both Lode and Marleen agree that wellbeing is the cornerstone of any productive, healthy workplace. Wellbeing is more than a box-ticking exercise, covers many different aspects. That is why you need to take a holistic approach, according to Marleen. “At AG Health Partner, we approach wellbeing in two ways: on the policy level and on the employee level, in a holistic, evidence-based way, taking the physical and mental health of our people leaders and employees into account.”
Wellbeing is also a crucial policy aspect at Zorg Vilvoorde, especially among people leaders. “In case, we place tremendous emphasis on the wellbeing of our employees, our people leaders, and our clients”, says Lode. “People who reach out to us have a specific need or requirement that we try to solve with Zorg Vilvoorde. To ensure that our employees provide the best possible care, our people leaders need to look beyond the employee, focussing on the person instead. And so our management must also focus on the person rather than the people leader. That is why we find a holistic approach so important, which is why AG Health Partner’s High Energy Habits for Leaders programme seemed like a natural choice.”
To ensure that our employees provide the best possible care, our people leaders need to look beyond the employee, focussing on the person instead. And so our management must also focus on the person rather than the people leader.
#2 Have people leaders map what energises them
People leaders are the bridge between management, (senior) executives, and employees. Every day, they perform social, emotional, and operational tasks, which are instigated top-down and bottom-up. Given the continuous demands from all sides, it is vital that people leaders remember that they too have needs. Before they can assist or lead others, they need to know what energises them, what makes them tick.
Marleen likes to equate this to an oxygen mask. “In airplanes, passengers are told to put on their oxygen masks first before helping others, in case of loss of oxygen. Only then can you assist someone else, without endangering yourself. Leadership is no different in this respect. The High Energy Habits for Leaders programme that we have launched together with Zorg Vilvoorde is specifically geared towards the people behind the leaders. Instead of merely focussing on what they need for their role, our recommendations benefit their wellbeing. This is one of the major assets of the High Energy Habits for Leaders programme, and in that sense it is very different from many other people management programmes.
Discover more about the programme!
#3 Getting to know your employees and people leaders better has its advantages
Rolling out a wellbeing programme allows you to get to know your employees and people leaders better. Lode thinks this has definitely an upside. “I think it’s always a good thing when you get to know your employees and people leaders better. In many cases, it helps you to better understand their behaviour and their proposals. But you can also use these types of initiatives to create an environment of trust. In return, people will be more inclined to share how they feel, which benefits workplace dynamics.”
That said, there are people leaders who are afraid of getting to know their employees better because they fear that they might lose control more quickly or that their leadership style may be too soft. Marleen doesn’t believe this is true. “Knowing people well and appreciating them doesn’t mean that you can’t act decisively when necessary. I like to compare this to the relationship between a parent and child. Loving your child as a parent doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally be angry at it”.
Want to know more about why you need people managers? Listen to the podcast here (only available in Dutch)!