(Part 1 of 3)
Working-from-home continues to bring challenges for leaders. Many of the executives I work with ask similar questions: “Do we require our employees to come back-to-the-office?” “What does ‘hybrid’ mean for our company?” “How do I handle employees who have indicated they will leave if they can’t work remotely?” “How do I manage the different preferences of workplace and flexible work schedules among each of my team members?”
Statistics on the impact of individual and team performance, availability of technically skilled workers, and leaders who now possess the soft skills required to manage teams in the now new hybrid work model varies widely, generally dependent on the resource you reference.
- 69% of employers globally – a 15-year high – are struggling to find workers with the right blend of technical skills and human strengths including accountability, reliability and discipline, resilience, stress tolerance, and adaptability.
46% of the workforce are planning to move because they can now work remotely.
Employees want the best of both worlds: over 70 percent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams.
- Last year's move to remote work boostedfeelings of inclusion for workers because everyone was in the same virtual room.
Many business leaders are faring better than their employees. 61% of leaders say they are “thriving” right now while 37% of the global workforce says their companies are asking too much of them at a time like this.
Key insights in the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report were that 86% of surveyed executives believe that workers will gain greater independence and influence relative to employers in the future and 63% of workers think their relationship with their employers will either become stronger or stay the same.
Finally! Some encouraging statistics. But the hoped-for results won’t manifest on their own. There are a few things that must occur for these projections to come to fruition.
Those must-haves (what we need to move from projection to reality) start, and end, with the skills of the leaders; how they communicate, connect, and support their teams.
As we continue, and will remain, in the hybrid work environment, here are a few ideas (including questions to consider for deeper consideration) to help you determine your path forward.
We’ll have this discussion over a period of three weeks. Today, we’ll look at “communicate”, followed by “connect”, and closing out with “support”.
Strong communication is always important, but the current climate of managing multiple remote locations makes it especially important. It’s not just about checking on your team; it’s also communicating clear and defined expectations, updating them on changes, and providing an open avenue for them to ask questions often. In addition to the crucial connections, it’s important to establish the guidelines regarding interruptions. “I-need-you-now” situations will come up. One executive I know has established “office hours” on her calendar. During that time, she is available to anyone on her team. Just knowing that she can be reached helps alleviate tension for her team members.
- Do you have established guidelines of engagement and forms of communication?
- When are live check-ins (i.e., video or audio conference calls) needed (e.g., for some daily, for others weekly), and when is email sufficient?
- Have you identified to your individual team members the various options for engaging with each other?
- What is your “urgent”, “important”, and “key” issue escalation and communication plan?
- How are your team members expected to support each other?
- Is “accountability” a value that is expressed, expected, and accepted by all? What are the guiding behaviors aligned with accountability?
Employees, organizations, vendors, and clients continue to need stability, so a hybrid work plan does not mean a free-for-all approach. Having conversations, being empathetic to individual needs, and understanding the why behind the requirement makes this process easier and less stressful for everyone.
Although we may have become less anxious about the realities of working remotely or the concept of working in a new office environment and designing the “new normal”, it may still feel a bit overwhelming, especially for the organizational leaders.
Leaders – you don’t have to go through this alone. I’m a strategic business consultant; I have tools and resources to help you through this planning, communication strategy, and implementation, and I’m here to help.
Let’s move forward. Together.
P.S. Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!
P.P.S. With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader. My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching. I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.
 Global Talent Shortages Reach 15-Year-High As Workforce Transformation Reshapes In-Demand Skills (manpowergroup.com) 9/8/2021