GTM launches lifeline for managers

Illustration by Elisabeth Schettle
Illustration by Elisabeth Schettle

By Hyun Bo Sim

As the Department of State continues to develop and promote workplace flexibilities to make careers more desirable for its employees, supporting and developing managers has become a high priority. One of the main factors in whether an employee decides to stay or leave a job is their experience with their first-line supervisor. Given this outsized role, managers need a dedicated place to turn to for practical guidance and support when handling difficult personnel situations. The Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Employee Relations (GTM/ER) recently launched the Manager Support Unit (MSU) to meet this need. MSU provides real-time guidance to managers dealing with conduct and performance challenges. The unit’s ability to respond to urgent managerial challenges as they happen is designed to help foster a culture of support and accountability and to make the Department a better place to work.

Effectively managing staff is one of the greatest challenges for supervisors. When a team member is struggling, it is important for managers to engage early to get them back on track. Although a bureau’s executive office is a manager’s first resource when dealing with an employee who has performance or conduct issues, MSU engages with managers to help them understand how best to manage challenges, provide effective counseling, and address and mitigate detrimental employee conduct and performance issues. The unit works closely with the Office of Civil Rights, the Office of the Inspector General, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and GTM/ER’s Work Life Division, collaborating to advise managers on the resources and tools available to motivate the Department’s talented workforce.  

MSU also provides case-study-based interactive training, which equips managers with best practices to deal with challenges. Their offerings include monthly roundtables with case-study-based practical training; customized workshops for human resources and management officers; on-demand training that includes case-study-based training for bureaus and offices; and periodic training on employment law issues provided by outside groups. 

For managers seeking guidance, or to request individualized training, contact MSU via email

Hyun Bo Sim is an employee relations officer in the Manager Support Unit within the Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Employee Relations. 

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