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#GreatManager – We chat with Becky Franks from The Co-Operative Bank

Best Companies Interview - what makes a great manager?

Great managers are about more than simply managing.

Every highly engaged organisation has a management population that acts as the foundation on which engagement, productivity and longevity can flourish. For organisations looking to improve employee engagement, manager development isn’t just another tick-box; it’s a central pillar on which so many other elements depend.

Our #GreatManager campaign is about recognising those managers that have gone above and beyond to make their employees feel well supported, informed and cared for. It’s a difficult thing to get right at the best of times, even more so in the throws of COVID-19. But with over 2,500 managers now nominated on the site it’s clear that many organisations have cultures that foster this great management activity.

Managers from across all industries have been nominated for specific things they do well (click here to see the site), but we wanted to find out what has really made some managers stand out for the way they have led and managed over the past few months.

Best Companies Great Manager Becky Franks from The Co-Operative bank

We spoke with Becky Franks, Digital Optimisation Lead at The Co-Operative Bank, who was nominated by her team for the measures she implemented as they went into lockdown.

Below are some of our favourite bits from our chat with Becky. To read the full interview, click here.

What have your biggest challenges been as a manager during COVID-19?

I wanted to make sure that my team weren’t sitting at home worrying. Obviously being at home, you’ve got a lot more time to reflect in your own company, than what any of us are used to. I was concerned that they might be worrying and overthinking and watching too much news. I was also worried that people wouldn’t be taking lunch breaks and I think it’s quite easy when you’re at home, not to move from your desk and end up working late because when in full lockdown, you feel like you’ve got nowhere to go in the evening so you might as well be online. We were having discussions around that, making sure people weren’t working too long and we did some, silly games, quizzes and little challenges to encourage people to go for a walk and speak to each other.

For those managers that are perhaps struggling, or new to management, have you got any best practice examples of how you’re supporting your team?

Keeping in touch with people and caring about them. I’ve got a team of six at the minute, and it’s nice to think of us as being a little bit of a support network. I think it’s almost brought us all closer together. When we’re in the office and you’ve got different people working from home, we only really have one meeting a week where we’re all together, now we’re having a catch up every day. It’s just about keeping in touch with people and keeping them up to date. I try and share the information I know, so that people know what’s going on, especially when things are so uncertain. You need to trust that everyone is getting on with their work and be there for them if they need to speak to you. You need to make sure you’re always approachable and you’re never too busy for someone to ask you a question.

Do you think your team would feel safe to go back to work and how do you think they’re going to react to the situation?

It’s something that we’ve spoken about a lot in our daily catch ups. We’re not going back for a while. I think everyone felt quite happy that the business has made that decision. It’s nice to have a date in mind for when we’re going back compared to friends that may be a bit unsure as to how soon they’re going to have to go back, so I think that gives everyone a bit of confidence that we’re not going to be rushed.

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