The onset of the pandemic has brought attention to the necessity of working as a team. Work from home, throws a lot of unforeseen challenges for an employee, which cannot be dealt with alone, making it necessary for the team to develop compassion for each other while dealing with such situations. It has become essential for the teams to have transparency about the common goal they are aiming for.
The top five best practices that should be followed by a people leader to make the organization more inclusive and compassionate.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Employee communication is crucial, especially under the current scenario. It is imperative to balance between business and people. It is important to be people leaders. Though People Function or HR teams would drive various initiatives to keep the motivation level high, a leader plays a very crucial role by engaging with the team in different ways. Communication helps to keep employees informed and stay productive, it also helps reinforce the organizational values to the employees and keep them motivated.
Show and build trust
Team members have a variety of responsibilities, both in-office and at home. Specially, when people are working remotely, they have to juggle a multitude of things. As a leader, you should avoid micromanaging and frequently following up on the progress. This leads to them doubting their abilities, resulting in a lack of confidence. It is also important to listen to their feedback as well and trying to implement them. Remember, trust is a two-way street, you don’t trust until you have been trusted.
Performance as usual
In a fast-growing organisation OKR (objectives and key results) play a crucial role in setting aligned performance parameters for employees. Leaders play an important role here. At the organization level, having OKRs aligned to the mission of an organization supplements the team to perform as usual without any disruption. Leaders ensure to cascade it well across the organization through continuous feedback and communication.
Great managers also make great remote managers
Managing outcomes, rather than inputs is generally an excellent approach to people management. Under current circumstances, however, it may be essential to recognise efforts over results as we all adjust to new priorities and challenges. Clearly, outlining desired outcomes and time frames and continuously supporting the team leads to outstanding results.
Prioritize mental health
Working in isolation may hurt employees’ mental health. Suddenly employees are working from home while taking care of other family members, each individual has had to endure major disorder in both professional as well as personal life. These situations are leading to a lot of stress which is not only detrimental to the individual, but the business impact of an unwell workforce will also be severe. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let them know you’re there, for all work and life-related conversations. These are challenging times where everyone is trying hard to make things work. COVID scenario has brought a lot of change to the consumer thought process, hence understanding that and building new avenues and ideas is taking the time. We need to take care of our teams during these times and be compassionate towards them. While taking all the above measures to help teams during the COVID-19 times. Engaging with the team in planning the response to the current situation, where some job responsibilities may have decreased or stopped entirely, new priorities have popped up to take their place. Together, it is essential to determine what activities and responsibilities staff should be focusing on in the short term. Ensuring people have enough work (but not too much) and providing decision-making opportunities supports mental health in general, and it is particularly important in times like these.
A lasting culture
Building a culture that is inclusive and compassionate regardless of where you are working from, requires intentionality. The question is not ‘how can I maintain a culture in a suddenly remote environment?’, but rather ‘How do I maintain a culture in any work environment during a pandemic?’
In such a period of tremendous external pressures, culture is less about the ‘office vibes’, tea-coffee breaks, and about how we can reallocate that energy to serve society through our work. Because only by creating a positive loop of ideas, values, actions and small victories, can we develop strong bonds at work that can last beyond oscillating cultural shifts.