So, given these additional roles, what can WinCo do to support their frontline managers? It all comes down to collaborative and responsive L&D.
How can L&D help frontline managers to cope in times of crisis?
A crisis like the current global pandemic places a lot of strain on essential businesses such as grocery stores. To help store managers cope with this strain and rise to the challenge, WinCo uses a mixture of L&D resources, collaborative working, and personal support.
“We’ve done a good job preparing our managers for certain things,” says Lenn. “We’ve given them skills with accountability and situational leadership, and this is a good foundation. This is all about keeping customers safe, and maintaining social distancing norms.”
On top of this foundation, WinCo has also offered reminders about the existing resources available to managers.
“In preparing for the additional roles like being a coach or mentor, we’re reminding managers about our available resources. For example, we have a wonderful employee assistance programme, but we needed to make sure our managers were promoting it.”
Related: How to Pivot Your L&D Strategy in Times of Crisis
Learning through collective coaching and shared insights
Another great way to support staff in times of crisis? Focus on collaborative learning and coaching.
“We’ve started to host collective coaching calls,” says Lenn. “We’ve invited our managers to talk about three things: What are you doing to recognize and thank employees? What are you doing to make employees feel safe? And what are you doing to take care of yourself?”
As Lenn explains, a lot of managers are so busy taking care of their people, they forget to look after their own health. “We have some people working 16 hours a day, seven days straight. We need people to focus on the basics and talk to each other, and we shared the results afterward to spread awareness.”
These collaborative coaching sessions not only gave managers the opportunity to share their experiences, says Lenn, but also offer the chance to learn from others.
“We came up with the idea of having learning moments. These are short topics of interest that we’ve collected, curating best practices. For example, how do you handle folks who may be experiencing fear or anxiety? We’ve offered some best practice guidelines and resources for how to address these.”