There has been a lot of talk about hybrid models and office and home working and I must say a lot of the approaches that are being taken on by businesses concern me when it comes to long-term implications on culture and engagement.
Culture and engagement can sound like floaty ideas, but fundamentally a positive work environment has a demonstrable impact on productivity and therefore your bottom line. Businesses that fail to take the concepts seriously will be at a detriment – especially if they are adopting new working models.
To make it really clear, we at ViewHR have defined the best proactive steps to take so that you avoid the risks and pitfalls of developing your new way of working.
Provide CLARITY, enable CONNECTION, support COLLABORATION and build the right CULTURE.
A lot has changed in the last 18 months. We have been in the same storm but not in the same boat. Even if your job title has remained constant, there will have been some parts of your role that have changed due to COVID.
Communication is the key item to consider when trying to ensure that people understand what is expected of them. If your employees do not know what you expect then how can you define how they are going to achieve it? Also, they need to have real clarity on to whom they need to communicate success or issues to and where their support will be coming from.
Performance management expectations need to be clear for each individual. Roles may have changed. The way roles are completed may have changed and clarifying these expectations is so key for individuals. Also, by ensuring that training and performance management aspects are captured effectively is an important step in the performance management process.
Goals/Objectives/Targets should be reviewed and redefined for all to ensure that people are targeted in the right direction and achieving the right outcomes.
Policy changes – i.e. sickness, holiday need to be put in place so that people are clear and there are no grey areas based on the covid impact to the workplace.
Hybrid/Home/Office Model – purposeful consideration and application are needed to ensure that the right model is implemented and communicated appropriately.
For both sustained productivity and the mental health and wellbeing of your teams you need to create opportunity for continued connection:
- Between employees
- With clients/customers
- With family
- With outside
You can do this through the creation of office days, team building events, social committees, catch up calls with no agenda (but with a plan to engage people) and good communication.
Fundamentally, we are social animals and without the proper opportunity to connect at home and work, we are unable to operate at our best. Employers have a responsibility to create the opportunity for connection and they will in no doubt reap the rewards of engaged employees.
Innovation is not just represented by introducing or implementing new ideas or methods. The definition of innovation can be defined as a process that involves multiple activities to uncover new ways to do things.
Businesses need to think purposefully about bringing people together, providing the opportunity for diversity of thought, and enabling the power of the collective.
Best in class companies ensure that they hold a collaborative session in person or virtually so that their teams have the ability to really create and innovate. Those businesses ultimately benefit so it is a win-win.
Work culture is the thing employees rate as most important when looking for a new job (even more so post covid). The way companies have treated employees has never been so transparent.
Much of the feedback on websites like Glassdoor/LinkedIn etc focuses on workplace culture and benefits.
The COVID-19 crisis has given companies the opportunity to refocus their company culture and adapt it to changing work practices.
Businesses need to be purposeful about their culture and start with questions like, ‘How do we want to treat our people?’ or, ‘How do we want to work with our customers?’ which can be a catalyst for this shift.
Remember, choices made about new working styles, like adopting a remote working policy, will also have an effect on company culture. For example, if a company chooses to fully embrace flexible working as part of their company culture, this could provide an opportunity to broaden talent pools and increase diversity.
However, if, for example, a company decides to transfer their prior working practices to a virtual space without adapting to the new medium, this could lead to demotivation, Zoom fatigue or other negative consequences.
Flexible working will play into the future of work in a big way however, not everyone will have the same capacity to, or desire to, work remotely. Some workers may feel socially isolated or may struggle with consistent communication via phone or video.
The blend of home and work may also not work in all industries. There needs to be an analysis and adaptation of existing work cultures and practices if a company chooses to switch to a remote working model. There also needs to be a robust infrastructure to continue communication.
Fundamentally any action taken should be taken with clarity and purpose and not taken lightly.
ViewHR are working across multiple industries in many different locations to support businesses to implement best-in-class working models post-Covid. If you would like to get help and support to define your idea, create your policies and implement your contractual changes then contact a member of the ViewHR team today.