Fall is here and with questions surrounding a potential surge in COVID cases with colder weather, more people forced indoors, kids returning to school and eased mask mandates, companies are revaluating (again) their timeline and policies regarding a return to the office, travel, meetings and more. As we enter the 4th quarter and plan for 2022, many leaders are struggling to determine the best next steps for their teams.
If we aren’t requiring everyone to work in the office, should we allow employees to travel or attend events?
Can we support team volunteer activities in the community?
How do we evolve our culture and benefits to meet the needs of all employees, in the office and working remotely?
The answers will be different for every company but we share a few tips for navigating this process and developing policies and a culture that works for your team:
- Employees value transparency and want their voices heard. Regular communication with employees will ensure they feel comfortable with ongoing changes, but it also offers leaders the chance to get a pulse on how employees are feeling which could inform how to develop policies that make employees happy and safe.
- HRMorning notes that MIT research found that companies that had great communication and transparency, “Leaders didn’t leave employees in the dark. Even if it was bad news, they shared it. Many shared the news and their own fears and challenges about it.”
- Two-way communication is critical to establishing strong employee engagement no matter where they are located.
- Consider your employees’ well-being when developing policies around time in the office, expectations when working remotely, vaccine/mask requirements, travel/event restrictions or expectations. Companies will need to be more flexible in the past and offer alternative options to meet the needs, health and capacity of every employee.
- Job stress is connected to burnout, turnover and disengagement. According to XPertHR, employees who experience burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 13% less confident in their performance.
- Fast Company shares that professors Jenny Chatman and Francesca Gino propose cultural adaptability—”your organization’s ability to innovate, experiment, and quickly take advantage of new opportunities”—as a way of helping sustain these ties we’ve spent years building agree in their article for Harvard Business Review.
- If the last 15 months have taught us anything, it’s that we have to be prepared for everything and be able to adapt as changes arise.
- Companies that use the agile framework in considering how they develop a culture that is adaptive and resilient will be more successful in providing employees with confidence in the ongoing response of the organization:
- Empower teams to self-organize
- Eliminate steps and policies that are a waste or barrier to employees’ doing their jobs
- Measure value with frequent feedback
As we all navigate the impact and changes presented by the COVID-19 virus, companies that value open communication, employee well-being and agility will build a culture to support talent retention and compete in the war on talent.
Contact us today to learn more about our modern approach to performance management and development that actually improves the manager and employee relationship. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our Customers have to say.