The past two years have been very different for most of us, individually and collectively. Leaders needed to pivot in mid-March 2020 to managing teams remotely, while other leaders continued operating, staffing, and producing from a work location and trying to keep their employees safe. As we move beyond the two-year anniversary, the world is opening with a different footprint as well as a different shared experience.
Leaders are returning to hybrid workspaces with more employees having options of where to work from if they meet the deliverables. Leaders will need to focus on employee engagement more than ever to keep staff motivated. In other cases, leaders will need to identify creative ways to embrace employees returning to work who have different sets of expectations about engagement and career development and growth.
Some challenges have emerged already, with employees focusing more on what they are good at and doing what matters to them. The environment is challenging now as positions sit vacant, and it is anticipated, the vacancies may increase as people make decisions that focus on what they want, what they are good at, and what matters. Many people are rethinking the nature and meaning of work. Leaders can harness that interest and look at the workplace to better align skills and interest.
To help employees focus on what they are good at doing and matter most, Leaders want to:
- Collect information and consider every angle to be confident and organized in their thinking.
- Get creative and listen to different perspectives and approaches to engage employees. Compare and combine different perspectives to get new ideas on ways of working.
- Listen, question, and answer to better spot what your staff needs and to recognize and resolve conflict if it arises.
- Have greater inclusivity in teams. It requires people to set aside any preconceptions and to focus on seeing things from the same perspective for a while. Debate still happens, but it is based on shared understanding — which can help everyone to feel included.
Once Leaders collect, analyze, and think critically about the information, they can begin to develop a plan of action. There are ten strategic actions leaders can take.
Ten Strategic Actions Leaders Can Take
1. Develop a strategy for employee growth and development that aligns with the business objectives. Consider if the implementation plan allows for of the requirements of the strategy.
2. Examine the organizational structure to determine if the structure supports the requirements of the strategy.
3. Meet with employees to learn about their interests and evaluate the right people are in the right roles. Determine if the individuals’ roles and responsibilities support the strategy.
4. Assess if the resources are sufficient and available at the right time to complete the work.
5. In collaboration with the employees identify the metrics to measure the success of the strategy.
6. Develop messages and communicate to stakeholders and staff to provide updates on progress and reflect a feedback loop that the leader is listening.
7. Socialize the strategy within the organization and seek support for it from those with formal power and authority and informally, to build support and excitement.
8. Develop focus groups, town halls, listening sessions and other mechanisms to seek acceptance and support for the cultural shift.
9. Be intentional about promoting the strategic plan and engaging all stakeholders to build relationships among and between functions.
10. Celebrate the implementation of the plan. Create a variety of milestones and recognize individuals and team achievements on key deliverables.
To learn more about managing change, employee engagement, and developing your leadership skills, contact Karen for a consultation.