When it comes to influencing the health, wellbeing and engagement of an employee, the approaches and actions taken by their line manager is pivotal. Years of CIPD research has shown that the role of managers is key to determining whether someone has a good or a bad day at work. 

Managers need to make sure they are adopting an approach that ultimately supports their teams to be happy, healthy and performing at their best within their role. To help managers do this, the CIPD has published a new series of support materials for line managers.

Quick and easy to use, and designed for anyone that manages people, users can get tailored recommendations on how to improve their management skills and support the wellbeing and engagement of their teams. 

After completing a short quiz – which will allow a manager to reflect on their own personal management approaches – they will be given a unique recommendations report which provides them with a series of simple steps to develop their approach. They’ll be provided with a range of exercises, support materials and an action plan sheet to help them plan and track their development.

The exercises and resources that make up these new support materials are based on five key behavioral areas that CIPD research identified as key to supporting the wellbeing of employees. These are:

  • Being open, fair and consistent.
  • Handling conflict and problems.
  • Providing knowledge, clarity and guidance.
  • Building and sustaining relationships.
  • Supporting development.

These resources can be used as part of a leadership or management development initiative, or on their own to help managers explore and develop their management capability. They can also be downloaded, so they can be used and completed at times that best suits the user.

Why is this important?

Line managers are not getting the training and support they need to support employees on a whole range of wellbeing and employee engagement issues, from opening up and having effective conversations around mental health to dealing with conflict in the workplace. 

The CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey 2020 found that only 25% of people professionals think managers within their organisations are confident and competent to spot the early warning signs of mental ill health. And worryingly CIPD research also found that just over a third of employees hadn’t had their wellbeing checked on by their manager since the start of the pandemic.

Managers have a busy and demanding role, with many different pressures and success measures to meet. On top of this, many will not have been trained on the people management side of their role, and therefore these responsibilities can prove challenging – especially if they are new to line management. 

Given the influence managers have on determining employee health, wellbeing and engagement, people professionals need to ensure that the line managers within their organisations have the tools, guidance and support channels to effectively provide support to those they manage. 

What is in it for people professionals?

Employers have a moral and legal duty of care for their employees, so ensuring they’re effectively supported in terms of their health and wellbeing is crucial. Equipping managers with the skills, knowledge and confidence in approaching wellbeing issues is a major step in ensuring this duty of care is met.

Yet, beyond this there are a range of further benefits to getting this right and ensuring managers are equipped to support on these issues – for both people professionals and their employers. These include:

  • When an employee is happy, healthy and engaged within their role, the organisation is likely to get better results. Employees are much more likely to be productive, with employers also likely to see improved retention and absence rates. 
  • Positive management practice will prevent potentially harmful or disruptive issues occurring further down the line. Through effective management, these issues are less likely to arise, and people professionals will not have to give time or energy to dealing with them.
  • If problems do arise, a well-equipped manager will be a in a better position to deal with them in the early stages and prevent issues developing further. 

Explore our line manager resources

People manager guide: Supporting employee resilience

Practical guidance on helping employees adapt and thrive when faced with workplace stress

For Members
People manager guide: Supporting hybrid working

Advice for line managers on supporting and enabling hybrid working

For Members
People manager guide: Managing and supporting employees with long-term health conditions

Practical advice and guiding principles for effective support

Line managers' role in supporting the people profession

Find out more about the role of line managers and their relationship with people professionals

For Members
All line manager resources

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At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.