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We’re looking at a new world of work.

As we see many countries easing restrictions with vaccination programs reaching a critical mass of the population, companies are opening up more, and staff are now increasingly evaluating their current roles and the way forward.

The numbers expecting to change jobs are staggering and, for business leaders, this should be very worrying. For example, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index is showing 46% of the workforce is planning to move because remote working has become established, so location is no longer a determining factor. Research by Achievers Workforce Institute in Toronto, Canada, showed a massive 52% of employees saying they intended to look for a new job this year.

The potential costs to companies of this huge wave of change are enormous – remember that overall costs of replacing a staff member can vary from a low of some 25% of annual package to as much as 400%, depending on the role and seniority of the person being replaced. And on top of that comes the potential cost of losing key customers when their primary interface moves.

Why is it that so many are looking to move?

The Toronto study found that some 46% of respondents feel less connected to their company, and 42% say company culture has diminished since the start of the pandemic. What’s more, despite actually working longer hours in the main, 51% of those working from home expressed concern that their manager had doubts about their productivity over this time because those managers couldn’t see them in the office, working.

This ties in with the 45% of the UK workforce that, in pre-pandemic surveys, said their primary reasons for leaving a job were around communication by their management and attitude of the management. It’s clear that remote working has exacerbated these issues for many.

So, how can you lessen the impact of this by encouraging your top performers to stay? And if they stay, it’s likely that many others will, too: top performers always find moving jobs easier.

It really boils down to communication. Leaders need to recognise and acknowledge the difficult times that everyone has been going through and provide the necessary vision and direction to re-energise the workforce. So, where to start?

A Shared Vision

Things have changed: your way of working, your way of interacting with your staff, customers and suppliers, and – potentially – your competition (or, at least, the way they operate). Is that vision you laid down a couple of years ago still valid? Do your team believe in it today?

Get the team together – if you can’t do it in person, do it virtually but ensure they feel it’s a special session by sending them a ‘vision hamper’ of materials to use in the session (and a few treats for during it). Tear apart that old vision and put one together for your new world.

And don’t wait until the pandemic is officially declared over. Do it now – you will all know enough about how things are likely to look, and it will help to re-energise the team.

Once you have it, call a company-wide meeting (again, consider the way to set this apart from the other Zoom sessions, in the way that, perhaps, you had “beer bust” company meetings in the past) and lay out the vision to show everyone that there is a clear and exciting road ahead and prepare them for this new world of work.

Improved Feedback Loops

Remote working has meant remote management, and this has varied from absentee management to electronic micromanagement, depending on the business. Either way, employees feel less engaged and less satisfied.

What are your feedback mechanisms now, have they changed since the start of the pandemic and what do you need to do for the way of work ahead?

Set up ways in which everyone can contribute ideas for this – how do your people believe it should work? Listen to them and show you have heard by acknowledging the input and implementing the best suggestions. And keep this input going as a key component going forward: electronic suggestions boxes have worked extremely well in businesses I’ve led during the past 25+ years.

Find other ways to recognise people, too – take the trouble of seeking out those going the proverbial extra mile for their customers, suppliers, other staff members and so on, and reward them publicly. The fact that people are remote means working harder to make them feel part of a team, and rebuilding any sense of trust between you and them that might have slipped a little.

And, of course, managers need to be measured on their team interaction: how they’re measuring performance and handling development and appraisals for their teams, what feedback loops they have in place, and so on.

Challenges & Rewards

The challenges your business had in the past have changed, but have you adjusted your reward mechanisms accordingly? It’s no longer the same world – you need to acknowledge this and adapt.

In fact, your top performers, especially, would see a return to “the old normal” as going backwards, so now is the time to revitalise your programs: to set new challenges, new reward programs and show a dynamic, exciting way forward.

This, of course, ties back to both the new shared vision for the business and the improved feedback loops, as both are critical when setting up these new challenges and rewards.

We really are living in exciting times – the world is changing and new opportunities lie ahead. The job of leaders is to make sure their businesses are set up to embrace these new opportunities and they have a great team with which to do this. To revitalise the company culture and re-energise the team.

Don’t wait – get out in front of it now and take advantage of this new world of work.

 

#BusinessFitness #Business #Disruption #JobSatisfaction #Leadership #Management #Motivation #Pandemic, #People #Planning #Resilience #Teams #WorkingFromHome #WFH

 

Some of my other recent short posts around this topic include: