As organizations emerge in the post-pandemic era, leaders will need to think differently about how they engage their workforce. Employees’ attitudes and expectations about work have changed, and they will be counting on their leaders’ attitudes and expectations to have changed as well.
In a recent podcast interview I conducted with Richelle Luther, Chief Human Resources Officer at Columbia Sportswear Company, Richelle mentioned how she has observed shifting employee expectations. People want to bring their whole self to the workplace. While work has always been much more than a paycheck, organizational culture and work-life integration has taken center stage.
And with the ongoing tsunami of talent attrition, organizations need to respond to this new reality by challenging their old assumptions about how work is done. If they don’t , they can expect to lose valuable people to other organizations offering more flexibility and empathy.
According to Gartner, 25% of the global knowledge workforce will choose their home as the primary workplace by 2022. And 45% of the workforce will be working from home two to three days per week.
Are you ready?
Three Strategies for Creating Engagement in the Post-Pandemic Era
Strategy #1: Reconnect With Your People One-on-One, Right Now!
For many leaders and team members, it has been a while since you last connected in person. If you are a new hire, you may have never even met your manager or several of your team members. While organizations have remained highly productive and efficient during COVID, personal connection was missing. With evolving employee attitudes about work, it’s critical that every leader meet with their team members, one-on-one and in person as soon as possible. Listen to understand each team members’ current needs, their unique challenges, and how their expectations have changed. Let them know they are valued, while establishing a new pattern of connection. You’ve heard the saying that people leave managers, not organizations. It’s time to reconnect so that your team members don’t leave you.
Strategy #2: Prepare to Keep Changing.
There is no playbook on how teams and organizations should emerge after a pandemic. We are in uncharted waters and most organizations are learning on the fly, even those with a solid plan and sound policies in place.
Managing was simple when everyone was in the office. It may have been easy when everyone was remote. As we return to offices and work in a hybrid environment, there will be a whole new set of challenges. Every team member and leader will need to learn to navigate this new arrangement. There will be a ton of experimentation, learning, and pivoting. We all have to learn to be more agile, more flexible.
Strategy #3: Create New Team Agreements.
The practice of creating intentional team agreements is nothing new. With the hybrid workplace and team members expecting to bring their whole selves to work (for example, attending to their children’s needs, doctors appointments, vet visits, personal health and wellness, all during the work day), having a clear set of adaptable team agreements is more important than ever. These agreements will help create clarity on the team’s priorities and expectations for how things get done. Some key questions to answer include:
- When are team members expected in the office versus working remotely?
- What new meeting norms do we need to put in place?
- Will meetings be conducted with people in both onsite and remote locations? If so, how will we create a safe and inclusive meeting environment? How do we avoid “in office” people overpowering and having louder voices than those who are remote?
- What productive conflict norms need to exist so that we can optimize how we engage in dialogue and debate?
- Are there certain hours that people need to be available or hours where there is overlap?
- How do we generate the magic of being together when we are apart?
- How and when do we use different forms of communication?
- Should we create blocks of time for open collaboration?
These three strategies will go a long way in helping your team and your organization emerge stronger and healthier in the post-pandemic era.
FUTURE OF WORK COMMUNICATION PLAN
Need help creating an intentional communication plan to help your team and organization emerge stronger in the post pandemic era? My previous blog post explored a new framework for aligning communication. You can also take your future of work communication to the next level by downloading this detailed six-page Change Plan Worksheet. Put this tool to use and watch your people accelerate their commitment around your shared future of work plans.