3 Prerequisites for Earning the Right to Coach Others

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on March 3rd, 2021 by admin

If there is one ideal from the coaching world that executive coach Madeleine Blanchard believes would benefit managers and leaders in today’s organizations, it’s this: “You have to earn the right to coach others.”

“Because of their position power, managers can do certain things that coaches would never dream of doing,” says Blanchard. “For example, telling people what to do and how to do it. It is part of the job of being a manager, but it doesn’t necessarily build trust. Many managers who want to coach their people can take for granted what coaches work hard to earn.”

Blanchard shares three coaching prerequisites that will serve those striving to be great leaders who coach— first, a focus on serving others, second, self awareness, and third, self regulation. It’s a high ideal, says Blanchard—but for managers and organizations up to the challenge, the results can be spectacular.

Blanchard points to what happened at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Europe where managers were taught how to be more coach-like.

“Coca-Cola Russia won the PRIZM award from the International Coach Federation. It’s a great example of a company that went all in on establishing a coaching culture. Using a combination of seven external coaches and forty certified internal coaches, the company trained a thousand managers in coaching skills.”

By all measures, the initiative made a huge difference in the bottom line performance of the plant and the 3,000 people working there, says Blanchard.

“Turnover was cut by two-thirds, from 78% to 26%. Employee engagement increased by over 25%. And most important, subsequent internal surveys showed that managers who had been taught coaching skills reported enhanced interpersonal relationships, increased innovation, and increased trust in management. The company’s organization value index, which measures the extent to which people report referring to and using company values to make decisions, increased by 86%.

“These types of results are critical in a world where everything is changing so fast and where employee skillsets need constant sharpening. Across all functions in an organization, a manager’s job is to encourage a growth mentality that will help people succeed, not just tell them how to do their job and save feedback for an annual performance review.”

“It all starts with a serving mindset,” says Blanchard. “Seeing leadership as serving others. That can be a daily challenge,” explains Blanchard.

“As a manager, there are going to be days where it’s like, ‘I’m not feeling particularly service oriented right now.’ So I think it requires real dedication to a higher purpose. Anyone who steps into a leadership position needs to make a conscious decision that they are there to be in service to their people, not just to manage tasks.”

That journey begins with a heightened sense of self awareness, says Blanchard.

“Self awareness is the starting point for any leadership journey. I don’t think it’s talked about nearly enough, even in professional coach training. That’s why I love a self awareness tool we use at our company that measures people’s perception of you as a leader in four critical areas—are you perceived as ablebelievablecaring, and dependable?

“Any place you fall down on this assessment points out a trouble area that’s going to impact your credibility as a leader-coach—and your effectiveness in guiding others to higher levels of performance.”

But knowing and doing are two different things. That leads Blanchard to the third prerequisite for the leader-coach—self regulation.

“After choosing to serve and self awareness, self regulation is needed for you to be the best version of yourself. It’s listening instead of telling, which means inhibiting the 99 things that pop into your head that you want to say but that won’t add value for the person being coached. It is easy to forget that listening means you aren’t talking—the person being coached should be doing most of the talking. When the person who is coaching does feel the need to give in to the urge to talk, here are the questions they first need to ask themselves:

  • Will this question spark insight for the coachee? Or is it to satisfy my own curiosity?
  • Do they really need to hear this? Do I need to say it?
  • Will what I want to say really make a difference?
  • Is it worth the time it will take to express, when time is limited?

“You have to be rigorously honest with yourself, fiercely focused on what matters most, and willing to practice extraordinary discipline. In the rough and tumble of a manager’s day, who is really signed up for that program? As it turns out, not everyone. But that is what is required, and it is not easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no.”

Blanchard adds, “If you are my manager, I have to listen to you but I don’t have to confide in you. I don’t have to do anything beyond being reasonably civil and getting the job done. That’s compliance, which is a job requirement, but it’s not the same as a commitment to a relationship that will enable my development.

“Being more coach-like as a leader means being impeccable in your own behavior or at least making the effort, which for most of us is a 24/7 uphill climb. It’s critical to developing the type of relationship that builds commitment instead of just compliance. If you want that kind of relationship—which the data shows is critical for highest performance, discretionary effort, and engagement—you’re going to have to have deeper conversations with your people about what’s important to them. That will include growth discussions, their dreams for their career, and the parts of their performance and personalities that they really need to work on to develop.

“But you need to be impeccable and trustworthy. Why would anyone reveal the parts and the places they feel they need to develop if they don’t trust you to not hold those thoughts against them?

“That’s what people are looking for in organizations today—especially in the leadership, learning, and talent development space. L&D leaders want managers to inspire and bring out the best in their team members to be better listeners and ask better questions, which are skills that can only be sharpened through self awareness, self regulation, and having a serving mindset.”

“It’s a lofty ideal, and it takes practice, but it’s worth the effort to create the types of organizations that bring out the best in people for the customers they serve.”

Source: Kenblanchard.com. 3 March 2021
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Top 10 mistakes management makes managing people

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on February 12th, 2021 by admin

It’s easy to understand why managers make significant mistakes in their daily management of the people they employ. Many managers lack fundamental training in managing people, which is usually manifest in their inability to practice the significant soft skills necessary to lead.

But, even more importantly, many managers lack the values, sensitivity, and awareness needed to interact effectively all day long with people. The best managers fundamentally value and appreciate people. They also excel at letting people know how much they are valued and appreciated.

How important is it to help your managers succeed? Beyond description. Managers and how they manage their reporting staff members set the tone for your entire business operation. Managers are the front line representation of your business.

The Importance of Managers

They are the cogs that hold your organization together because all of your employees report to them—for better or for worse. The majority of communication about the business is funneled through your managers. For your business and employees to succeed, your mid-level managers must succeed and become adept at managing in a style that empowers and enables employees.

Skills and techniques are easier to teach, but values, beliefs, and attitudes are much harder to teach—and harder for managers to learn. These are the underlying issues that will most make managers successful—or not.

But, managers do matter. So, this is why educating them and coaching them for success matters to you and your employees.

Select Managers for Managing People

In a job description for a manager, core job functions, traits, and abilities are listed. With this as a guide, manager selection should focus on both the management skills and the candidates’ cultural fit. Since they are in a position to influence a large number of your employees, you want to make sure that you get both components right.

Within the cultural fit component of your interview and selection process, a candidate for a manager position must demonstrate that he or she has beliefs, values, and a work style that are congruent with those of your organization. It includes having a commitment to empowering and enabling other employees also to contribute their best work.

In a people-oriented, forward-looking organization, you’ll want to interview and select managers who exhibit these characteristics.

  • Value people
  • Believe in two-way, frequent effective communication and listening
  • Want to create an environment in which employees are empowered to take charge of their jobs
  • Able to hold people accountable and responsible without using punitive measures
  • Demonstrate leadership and the ability to set a clear direction
  • Believe in teamwork
  • Place the customer at the center of their reason for existence and regard reporting staff as customers

With all of this in mind about managers, preventing management mistakes and dumb decisions is paramount for a successful organization. Do you want to become a better manager? Here are the managing behaviors you should most want to work towards.

Get to Know Your Employees

Developing a relationship with reporting employees is a key factor in managing. You don’t want to be your employees’ divorce counselor or therapist, but you do want to know what’s happening in their lives. When you know where the employee is going on vacation or that his kids play soccer, you are taking a healthy interest in your employees’ lives.

Knowing that the dog died, expressing sympathy, or that her daughter won a coveted award at school make you an interested, involved boss. Knowing employees will make you a better manager, a manager who is more responsive to employee needs, moods, and life cycle events.

Provide Clear Direction

Managers fail to create standards and give people clear expectations, so they know what they are supposed to do, and wonder why they fail. If you make every task a priority, people will soon believe that there are no priorities. More importantly, they will never feel as if they have accomplished a complete task or goal.

Within your clear expectations, if you are either too rigid or too flexible, your reporting employees will feel rudderless. You need to achieve an appropriate balance that allows you to lead employees and provide direction without dictating and destroying employee empowerment and employee engagement.

Trust Them From the Start

All managers should start out with all employees from a position of trust. (This shouldn’t change until the employee proves himself unworthy of that trust.) When managers don’t trust people to do their jobs, this lack of trust plays out in a number of injurious ways

Micromanaging is one example. Constantly checking up is another. Treat people as if they are untrustworthy—watch them, track them, admonish them for every slight failing—because a few people are untrustworthy. Are you familiar with the old tenet that people live up to your expectations?

Listen to Your Employees

Active listening is a critical management skill. You can train managers in listening skills, but if the manager believes that listening is a way to demonstrate that he or she values people, training is usually unnecessary.

Listening is providing recognition and demonstrating your values in action. When employees feel heard out and listened to, they feel important and respected. You will have much more information that you need when you daily open the floodgates.

When employees resign, one of the top reasons for their resignation is their relationship with their manager. People often leave managers, not jobs or employers. (They also leave for reasons such as lack of opportunity, low work flexibility, inability to achieve growth and development in their jobs, and boredom, so managers are not exclusively on the hook.)

Ask For Input Before Making Decisions

You can fool some of the people. But your best employees soon get the nature of your game and drop out. Good luck getting those employees to engage again. Along the same lines, create hierarchical permission steps and other roadblocks that teach people quickly that their ideas are subject to veto and wonder why no one has any suggestions for improvement.

Enabling people to make decisions about their work is the heart of employee empowerment and the soul of employee engagement. Don’t throttle them.

Address Problems and Issues Immediately

Managers have a habit of hoping that an uncomfortable issue, employee conflict or disagreement will go away on its own if they don’t provoke it or try to resolve it. Trust that It won’t.

Issues, especially among people, get worse unless something in the mix changes. Proactive intervention from the manager to coach and mentor, or to make sure employees have the skills necessary to resolve the issue, is imperative. Drama and hysteria do interrupt productivity, motivation, and employee engagement.

Develop Working Relationships

You can develop warm and supportive relationships with employees who report to you. But, you will have difficulty separating the reporting relationship from friendship. Friends gossip, go out together, and complain about work and the boss. There is no room for their manager in these kinds of relationships.

Communicate Effectively and Create Transparency

The best communication is transparent communication. Sure, some information is company confidential. You may have been asked to keep certain information under wraps for a while, but aside from these rare occasions, share what you know.

Being a member of the in-crowd is a goal for most employees, and the in-crowd has information—all of the information needed to make good decisions. Ask for feedback, too. Ask people for their opinions, ideas, and continuous improvement suggestions, and if you fail to implement their suggestions, let them know why, or empower them to implement their ideas themselves.

Treat Everyone Equally

You don’t necessarily have to treat every employee the same, but they must feel as if they receive equal treatment. The perception that you have pet employees or that you play favorites will undermine your efforts to manage people.

It goes hand-in-hand with why befriending reporting employees is a bad idea. Employees who are not in your inner circle will always believe that you favor the employees who are—whether you do or not. This perception destroys teamwork and undermines productivity and success.

Take Responsibility for Failures Too

Rather than taking responsibility for what goes wrong in the areas that you manage, blame particular employees when asked or confronted by senior leadership. When you know the responsibility is ultimately yours if you are the boss, why not act with dignity and protect your employees? When you blame employees, you look like an idiot, and your employees will disrespect and hate you.

Trust this. They will find out, and they will never trust you again. They’ll always be waiting for the other shoe to fall. Worst? They’ll tell all of their employee friends about what you did. Your other staff members will then distrust you, too.

Your senior managers will not respect you either. They will question whether you are capable of doing the job and leading the team. When you throw your employees under the bus, you jeopardize your career—not theirs. And, it won’t remove one iota of the blame from your shoulders.

Managers make mistakes in addition to these ten, but these are the ten that are most likely to make you a terrible manager—the type of manager that employees love to leave.

Source: Thebalancecareers.com
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How to communicate effectively in times of uncertainty

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on February 2nd, 2021 by admin

These five fundamental tools can help leaders effectively communicate with their teams and carry their organizations through uncertain times with a renewed sense of purpose and trust.

During a crisis, an employee’s most trusted source of information is often their employer. For this reason, a leader’s words and actions can have a major impact on the well-being of those they manage; they can help keep people safe, help them adjust and cope emotionally and help them put their experience into context and draw meaning from it.

But crises also present leaders with infinitely complicated challenges and no easy answers. Tough trade-offs abound, and with them, tough decisions about communicating complex issues to diverse audiences.

The good news is that the fundamental tools of effective communication still work. Define and point to long-term goals, listen to and understand your stakeholders, and create openings for dialogue. Be proactive. But don’t stop there. Superior crisis communicators also do these five things well.

1. Give people what they need, when they need it. 
People’s information needs evolve in a crisis. So should a good communicator’s messaging.

In a crisis’s early stages, communicators must provide instructing information to encourage calm; how to stay safe is fundamental. As people begin to follow safety instructions, communication can shift to a focus on adjusting to change and uncertainty. Finally, as the crisis’s end comes into view, ramp up internalizing information to help people make sense of the crisis and its impact.

2. Communicate clearly, simply, frequently. 
A crisis limits people’s capacity to absorb information in the early days. Focus on keeping employees safe and healthy. To convey crucial information to employees, keep messages simple, to the point and actionable.

People tend to pay more attention to positively framed information; negative information can erode trust. Frame instructions as “dos” (best practices and benefits) rather than “don’ts” (what people shouldn’t do, or debunking myths).

Also, communicators regularly underestimate how frequently messages must be repeated and reinforced. The study, “Inverted U-shaped model: How frequent repetition affects perceived risk” published in 2015, showed that an audience needs to hear a health-risk-related message nine to 21 times to maximize its perception of that risk. Establish a steady cadence; repeat the same messages frequently; and try mantras, rhyming and alliteration to improve message “stickiness.”

3. Choose candor over charisma.
Trust is never more important than in a crisis. Those who fail to build trust quickly in crises lose their employees’ confidence.

Be honest about where things stand, differentiating clearly between what is known and unknown, and don’t minimize or speculate. Give people a behind-the-scenes view of the different options you are considering and involve stakeholders when making operational decisions.

Judiciously share your own feelings and acknowledge the personal effects of emotional turmoil. Remember that what you do matters as much as what you say in building trust, and scrutiny of leaders’ actions is magnified during a crisis.

4. Revitalize resilience.
As the health crisis metastasizes into an economic crisis, accentuate the positive by sharing stories and creating uplifting moments to reignite resilient spirits.

Additionally, strengthen communal bonds to restore confidence. Helping others is a great way to improve well-being and reduce stress. It’s also important to rebuild a common social identity and a sense of belonging based on shared values, norms and habits.

5. Distill meaning from chaos.
The crisis will end. Help people make sense of all that has happened.

Early on, be clear about what your organization will achieve during this crisis. Establish a clear vision, or mantra, for how the organization and its people will emerge. Explore ways to connect the disruption employees face to something bigger.

While it’s important to shape a story of meaning for your organization, it’s equally important to create a space where others can do the same for themselves. Ask people what conclusions they are drawing from this crisis and listen deeply.

Relying on these practices will help team members stay safe and infuse understanding and meaning in communities, helping to carry an organization through a crisis with a renewed sense of purpose and trust. For further guidance, please read “A leader’s guide: Communicating with teams, stakeholders, and communities during COVID-19.”

Source: McKinsey.com, February 2021
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About leadership …

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 25th, 2021 by admin

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”

Albert Einstein

 

Understanding a company’s culture

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 19th, 2021 by admin

Culture is defined as the values, practices, and beliefs shared by the members of a group. Company culture, therefore, is the shared values, practices and beliefs of the company’s employees.

While you cannot see or touch a culture, it is present in the actions, behaviors, and approaches of the members of an organization. From hiring practices to how people work, make decisions, resolve differences of opinions, and navigate change, the culture defines the unwritten but very real rules of behavior.

This article offers guidance on learning to sense or understand a firm’s culture. For anyone seeking a job, striving to make a sale to a new client or any manager or individual contributor endeavoring to innovate inside an organization, a firm’s culture is a powerful force that must be accounted for in your endeavor. The oft-repeated phrase, “culture eats strategy for lunch,” offers the important cautionary advice to ignore culture at your peril.

 

Ask the Right Questions

Ask someone about their firm’s culture, and you are likely to hear a series of general statements, such as:

  • We are an inclusive culture that encourages collaboration.
  • It’s an environment where everyone’s opinion is respected.
  • We are proud of our heritage and dedicated to our customers.
  • We reward initiative in our organization.

While mildly informational, those statements might apply to any number of organizations, and they don’t give you a great deal of insight into the inner workings of the organization. A better approach is to ask about or listen to the stories that are widely shared and celebrated in the firm.

 

11 Types of Questions to Help You Understand a Firm’s Culture

  1. Ask for an example of when the members of the organization came together to do something remarkable. Dig deeper and probe for examples of individuals or teams exhibiting heroic behaviors that enabled success with the big initiative. Listen carefully for group orientation or the singling out of one or more individual efforts.
  2. Ask about examples of people who succeeded wildly within the boundaries of the organization. Strive to understand what it was they did that made them rising stars in the organization. Was it their initiative and innovative thinking? Was it their ability to rally support?
  3. Look for visible signs of the culture on the walls of the firm’s facilities. Are the walls covered in stories or photos of customers and employees? Are the company’s core statements of mission, vision, and values present throughout the firm’s facilities? The absence of those artifacts says something as well.
  4. How does the firm celebrate? What does it celebrate? How frequently does it celebrate? Are there quarterly town hall meetings? Does the firm get together when new sales records or big customer orders are achieved?
  5. Is the concept of quality present in the culture? Do employees take pride in their work and the output of their firm? Are there formal quality initiatives in place, including Six Sigma or Lean?
  6. Are the firm’s executives approachable? Are there regular opportunities to interact with top executives including the CEO? Some firms use “Lunch with an executive” initiatives to offer employees time to ask questions and learn more about the direction of the firm.
  7. Is employee input sought for new initiatives including strategy?
  8. Are the leadership roles filled with individuals who have been promoted from within? Does the firm tend to hire from the outside for senior roles?
  9. How does the organization innovate? Ask for specific examples. Be certain to explore what happens when innovation initiatives fail.
  10. How are big decisions made? What’s the process? Who’s involved? Do executives encourage decision-making at lower levels of the organization?
  11. Is cross-functional collaboration encouraged? Again, ask for examples.

Individuals experienced at quickly establishing a sense of a firm’s culture use those questions and many others to understand a broad range of the attributes of an organization. They look to understand how work takes place and how employees are treated as well as how they deal with each other. From decision-making processes to the firm’s commitment to employee development and engagement, a careful questioner can learn a great deal about daily life in a firm through deft use of the questions above.

 

Cultures Do Change, Just Not Quickly

Every organization changes and evolves over time. Whether the influence to change comes naturally over time from the addition of new employees with different views and approaches or via a shock to the system from a merger or significant external event, firms do adapt and evolve.

For individuals striving to promote change within an organization, the pace of cultural evolution often seems too slow. Smart professionals understand that instead of hurrying or fighting culture when promoting change, it is essential to work within the boundaries of the culture and draw upon the strengths to achieve their objectives.

 

7 Ideas to Help Promote Change by Leveraging the Culture

  1. As a new employee take the time to study and understand your firm’s culture.
  2. If you are hired into a new organization in a senior leadership role, respect the culture and heritage of the firm, even if the firm is struggling.
  3. Connect the change initiative to the core cause, purpose and values of the firm.
  4. Identify and draw upon key influencers inside the organization for support. Instead of selling your idea to the entire organization at once, sell it to the influencers and gain their help in creating widespread support.
  5. Link your ideas or potential projects to previous successful examples that helped drive positive results for the firm.
  6. Draw upon peers in other functions to support your initiative.
  7. Respect the culture, but provide context for the need to change. Use external evidence, including competitor announcements, the emergence of new and potentially disruptive technologies or business approaches.

The Bottom Line

Many individuals and initiatives have crashed on the rocks of a firm’s culture. Instead of falling victim to the concept of: “That’s not how we do things here,” respect the culture and leverage it to promote your ideas for change. While you may not agree with some of the cultural nuances of your firm, you can only facilitate change by respecting the culture and people and gaining widespread help to produce your desired change.

 

Source: www.thebalancecareers.com/
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Distansledarskap i pandemitider: Så leder du anställda som inte vill bli styrda

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 14th, 2021 by admin
Svenska chefer har svårt med distansarbetet och digitalt ledarskap, visar en ny undersökning av Office Management. Ännu svårare kan det bli att leda anställda som inte vill bli ledda i hemarbetet, menar ledarskapsexperter.

I pandemitider har chefsrollen blivit extra viktigt när hemarbetet blivit vardag. Distansarbetet kan tära på den mentala hälsan då tekniken kan ha svårt att ersätta mänsklig kontakt.

Samtidigt trivs flera medarbetare med distansarbetet och upplever att man blivit allt mer produktiv, enligt en ny undersökning av Office Management där 500 chefer och 500 anställda blivit tillfrågade om hur de upplever distansarbetet.

Chefer i undersökningen pekar däremot på att möjligheten att leda sina anställda på ett bra sätt har försvunnit. Och ännu svårare kan det bli att leda anställda som redan innan pandemin inte velat bli styrda, menar ledarskapsexperten Lena Lid Falkman.

DN har ställt frågan till tre ledarskapsexperter om hur man som ledare kan förbättra sitt ledarskap digitalt och hur man agerar när anställda inte vill bli styrda.

– Hemarbete kräver självledarskap. Jag som ledare ska inte kontrollera exakt när du jobbar och på vad du gör, utan fokusera på att det blir rätt resultat i slutändan, säger Lena Lid Falkman.

– Är det så att folk inte levererar behöver man strukturera upp arbetet som ledare och sätta tydliga mål. Håll kortare avstämningar ofta, och följ upp med frågor som ”hur går det nu?”. Kontrollera inte din personal genom att fråga ”vad har du gjort i dag?”.

– Viktigt är även att fira dessa delmål.

Leif Andersson erbjuder ledarskapsrådgivning för verksamheter och enskilda individer i Sverige. När folk säger att de inte vill bli styrda så ligger det ofta en orsak bakom, menar han.

– När någon säger till mig att ”den här personen vill inte bli ledd” så säger undrar jag varför har man fått för sig dig det? Det kanske handlar om att personen inte gör som den blivit tillsagd. Ibland är chefer för snabba på att bestämma vad folk ska göra.

– I stället för att komma med en lösning till medarbetaren upplever jag att det är bättre att ställa frågan om hur uppgiften eller problemet ska lösas så att man gör medarbetaren delaktig.

Samtidigt innebär distansarbetet nya utmaningar, förklarar han.

– Tidigare har det varit lättare att vara en dålig chef, för anställda går till jobbet på grund av sina kollegor även om de har en dålig chef. När arbetet nu sker på distans blir det ännu viktigare från chefens sida att få anställda att känna sig uppskattade.

Ledarskapsexperten Malin Trossing upplever att det i grund och botten alltid handlar om att man måste förstå varför anställda inte vill bli ledda. Och om tydlighet för att komma till bukt med problemet.

– Lösningen är olika beroende på anledningen. Det kan vara så att vissa människor behöver större frihet, eller att man själv tycker att firman inte har koll.

– Man kanske har en anställd som underpresterar, eller så har man olika sätt att kommunicera på som gör att ledarskapet blir otydligt och att man som chef upplever att ”de inte vill bli ledda”, säger hon.

– När vi kommunicerar är det bara tio procent i ord och 90 procent i kroppsspråk, tonläge och röst. Om vi ses fysiskt i ett möte så vet vi att det ändå är lätt att missförstå varandra. Digitalt kan man i princip säga att alla de 90 procenten försvinner i ett knackigt videosamtal där du kanske ser någon frimärkesstorlek. Cirka tio procent når fram så det gäller att vara dubbel så tydligt som i den fysiska verkligheten.

In times of corona – How to improve remote team collaboration and workflow

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 9th, 2021 by admin

Team Norms, Communication, and Tools for Working from Home

In order to make your remote team productive and collaborative—without burning out—it’s important to create an efficient system that improves workflow and team collaboration.

Experts point out, though, that what works in the office does not always translate to remote work.

Establishing Remote Team Norms

In a phone interview with The Balance, Nancy Settle-Murphy, founder of Boston-area consulting firm Guided Insights and a virtual teams expert, said that a good remote team manager must establish specific team norms for working from home. These include:

  • Working hours: Agree upon working hours, and if you’re offering flexibility, decide if there are specific times the whole team should be working each week.
  • Communication: Decide on which platform the team should collaborate and stick to it to ensure that communication is clear and not missed.
  • Signifying presence: Decide how an employee will signify they’re available to meet or talk—like turning their availability on in Slack.

One option for establishing these norms is to create a virtual work agreement spelling out these expectations that is shared with employees.

Understanding Remote Team Personalities

According to Settle-Murphy, switching to remote work can affect employees in a variety of ways, and it’s important for managers to be attuned to their team’s personalities to mitigate any issues.

Personal and Social Needs 

Understanding that an introvert may need more specific questions asked in order to share their point of view, or that someone that is living alone may need more social interaction beyond just work talk, is important to making employees feel valued and appreciated.

Level of Independence 

Understanding an employee’s level of independence is important. With no spontaneous interactions or check-ins, it’s important to proactively schedule a time to check in on projects for employees who need it.

Balanced Participation

It’s easier for dominant personalities to take over an online meeting. Managers should be prepared with interventions to ensure that everyone has a voice.

The Importance of Remote Collaboration

Experts widely agree that the key to good remote collaboration is understanding that what works for in-office workers won’t necessarily work for remote teams.

Asynchronous Communication

“Optimizing asynchronous tools like Threads or Twist over synchronous communication like Slack and Zoom allows you to create systems and processes where employees can collaborate without needing to be online at the same time,” Hailley Griffis, Head of PR at social media-focused company Buffer, told The Balance via email. According to Griffis, whose company has always had a fully remote workforce, this communication strategy helps with collaboration across time zones, and also allows employees to deal with the unique needs that the pandemic has presented, such as parents who are homeschooling their children.

Enhanced Interaction

Interacting with a remote team means that there are no incidental run-ins throughout the office, or opportunities for a quick chat or check-in. 

However, experts advise adding in regular check-ins with your team—whether those are daily or weekly—to ensure that you are in tune with their needs.

You can also build in social interactions by simply saving some time at the start of each meeting to chat, do an icebreaker, or engage in other team-building activities.

One other challenging area is editing or design critiques. Teams can switch to online tools like file sharing, online design, or whiteboard tools and collaborate to make edits, suggestions, and changes.

Streamlined Access to Information 

Centralized information where everyone has access to the right documents is a tremendous challenge for teams—and the dreaded emailing of attachments can seriously hinder having the most up-to-date information and cause project delays.

Settle-Murphy recommended that companies decide on a centralized depository and require that remote employees learn the tool, identify who has editing privileges, and give up other ways of storing or communicating about documents to ensure that everyone is on the same page for any piece of information.

Tools for Better Collaboration and Workflow

The right tools are essential to remote team success—and many of these tools are different from what teams might have previously used in office.

Communication Tools

  • Asynchronous communication tools such as Threads or Twist create organized discussions that can be searched.
  • Synchronous communication tools such as Slack, IM, or Microsoft Teams can be more useful and immediate than email as an internal communication tool.
  • Virtual meeting tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams provide face-to-face team interactions.

Collaboration Tools

  • Online document editing tools, such as Google Docs, allow each team member to have the most current version of a document and allow collaborative editing, synchronously or asynchronously.
  • Online meeting collaboration tools such as MeetingSphere provide a platform for more productive meetings by allowing questions to be posted in advance, allowing participants to build on comments and bring the pre-work into the meeting.
  • Online whiteboard tools such as Miro or Google Jam Board provide an opportunity to brainstorm ideas visually.

Task Management Tools

A variety of project and task management tools such as Basecamp, Asana, and Trello provide a way for the entire team to see the status of projects or tasks, their role in them, and whether milestones are being met.

Building a Workflow for Better Collaboration 

Settle-Murphy emphasized the importance of teamwork in developing the right workflow for employees.

Assigning a Team

Assign a team (the size of the team depends upon the size of your organization) to analyze your current workflow and decide what areas need to be improved upon. Start with a list of areas and choose a few of the most pressing to focus on first.

Assigning a Subteam

Assign a subteam of two or three people to brainstorm solutions to your workflow issues, starting with identifying any choke points that need to change. The subteam will identify the areas that need improvement and share with the larger group of decision makers.

Brainstorming

From there, the subteam should brainstorm potential solutions and vet them with the larger group. “Norms shouldn’t come from one person,” Settle-Murphy advised. “It’s important that they are vetted with the larger group.”

A Flexible Future

While the abrupt shift to remote work was a result of social distancing and other safety needs, at some level, it seems here to stay. In the PwC survey, 72% of employees said they’d like to continue working from home at least two days a week once the pandemic ends.2

“I believe that in an ideal scenario where remote workers can choose whether to work from home or a coffee shop, library, or coworking space, that it does improve productivity, which ultimately increases overall work at the company,” Griffis added.

 

 

Source: Thebalancecareers.com, 25 September 2020
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In times of corona: How to effectively manage remote talent

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 4th, 2021 by admin

At a time when remote work is the norm for many employees, how do managers effectively lead their teams from a distance? Managers must lead and ensure that company guidelines are provided that encourage employee productivity while reinforcing employee satisfaction and morale. They must develop a whole new skill set, but the biggest leap may be to develop the mindset essential to managing employees you can’t see each day in the office.

The Rapid Rise of Remote Work

Employees are participating in remote work in unprecedented numbers. According to data analytics firm Gallup, the average number of workdays telecommuters are working from home has more than doubled, from 5.8 days per month in October 2019 to 11.9 days as of September 2020. Among all U.S. workers, the average number of telecommuting days has also more than doubled, from 2.4 per month to 5.8.1

Additionally, Gallup finds that 26% of U.S. workers currently say that they have worked entirely from home recently, “while 51% are working entirely from a location outside their home, with one in five reporting a mix of on-site and remote work.” Not unexpectedly, college graduates have been more likely to work from home (38%).

Challenges and Advantages of Remote Work for Employers

Employers will experience the pitfalls and advantages of this unprecedented remote work from home situation. A virtual workforce requires stronger leadership skills than ever before when it comes to coordinating projects and bringing the team together as a cohesive unit.

In a Talent Development Leadership Forum, these leadership skills were found more essential when managing a remote team:

  • Establish and meet metrics for work projects and goals
  • Be extremely clear with goals and directions with a constant focus on the big picture
  • Work with a high degree of complexity
  • Promote organizational commitment

One forum interviewee said, “It may be that leaders in a virtual environment need just a little more of everything: more knowledge of technology, more knowledge on how to work with team dynamics, stronger communication skills, and of course, a little more patience.”

Challenges for Employers

Employers need to ensure that employee productivity delivers the sales and profitability they need to keep business viable. At the same time, employee morale, motivation, and satisfaction are paramount in creating a positive work environment that retains your most-needed employees. Challenges to these goals include:

    • Providing effective oversight of employees who have never experienced and may not have the skills necessary to thrive in a remote work situation
    • Developing the communication and technology skills necessary to manage remote employees using devices such as laptops, smartphones, and software for holding remote meetings
    • Knowing what, when, and how often to support employees’ emotional needs while keeping communication transparent and professional
    • Facilitating remote team building using meetings, activities, and icebreakers that promote employee connections and morale

Provide tips on how to maintain a consistent daily schedule and take time off for lunch and breaks. Remind employees about existing mental health programs your company may offer.

Advantages for Employers

When employees work from home, there are advantages for employers who properly manage their employees’ needs and wants.

Lower Operating Costs

Lower costs of operation such as lower utility bills, savings on bandwidth, and fewer staffing needs at customer-facing workstations are a plus for employers. For those employers who are convinced that remote work will remain their employees’ preferred work environment into the future, savings such as renting less square footage and purchasing less furniture and devices are substantial.

Boost in Productivity

Increased productivity results in better work from employees—they gain back the hours they spend each week commuting, and they can focus more on tasks without interruption from coworkers.

Better Engagement

The blurring of lines between work life and home responsibilities can result in employees who spend more time thinking about and engaged in work projects and cultivating better outcomes.

General Cost Savings

General cost savings due to employees using their own devices for work and taking less paid time off (PTO) can lower expenses for employers. This also generates cost savings because employers do not have to deal with issues related to employee absenteeism and tardiness.

Tips to Effectively Engage and Manage Teams

You can provide effective remote talent management by taking the following steps while employees are working from home.

Increase Meeting Frequency

Schedule meetings more frequently so you have time set aside on your calendar to catch up one-on-one with individual employees, as a team, and in remote company meetings. When no one is working together in the office, time together becomes even more important.

Continually Check In

Set up recurring check-in times with your team members to foster the casual moments of connection throughout the work week that would normally have occurred in your offices.

These can include team happy hours, coffee breaks with coworkers, and virtual lunches over video to bond and celebrate your team and organizational successes.

Establish Clear Goals

When setting assignments for employees and teams, specify clear and well-defined end goals so they know exactly the result you need from them. Specify what you need—not how to do the assignment—so employees are empowered to decide their own course of action.

Share Work Progress

Use a shared tracking system for team and individual deliverables, deadlines, and goals. Such a system will foster trust among employees—and with you as the manager—that the team is doing their jobs.

Maintain Video Interaction

To foster a sense of in-office closeness, managers and employees need to use their webcams and video communication programs. The rich, in-person interaction that you take for granted in the office is scarce in remote work. Thus, effective managers will want to nurture relationships and foster connections by seeing people face-to-face.

Show Appreciation 

You will want to make your team members feel valued and appreciated—even more when they are working from home under not-always-favorable working conditions. Employee rewards and recognition are even more important when the team is working remotely. Congratulate, thank, and compliment performance more than you critique or suggest improvement. Take the time every day to tell at least one employee either in an email or over the phone that you appreciate something about them and their work.

Emphasize Employee Wellness

Keep your fingers on the pulse of your employees so you are aware of how they are feeling and how they are dealing with any adverse side effects of remote work.

You can do this by holding well-being focus groups, using employee surveys, and asking managers and HR staff to talk with people. Start a wellness newsletter, schedule online yoga classes, send a daily wellness tip, or provide opportunities for employees to get together while keeping personal distance and wearing masks. One example is to purchase lunch for employees and their families and schedule a time for them to pick it up at the office, where they will safely see each other.

The Risks of Remote Talent Management

As managers learn to effectively oversee remote workers, they need to note that serious mistakes in decision making can adversely affect their relationships with employees. In these unexpected working conditions, managers will particularly want to avoid mistakes such as micromanagement, which in turn can foster distrust.

Perceiving the need to monitor employees’ work times and amounts can be tantamount to saying that you do not trust your employees.

Yet, a study by Gartner notes that employee monitoring has risen significantly since 2015, and 80% of employers are expected to use new tools and data sources to monitor staff during this year of the pandemic.

Micromanagement Can Breed Distrust

You want to avoid making employees feel untrusted. This lack of trust can lead to workers spending time gaming the system and losing focus on their actual, needed output. According to Accenture, 52% of workers think that the use of new sources of workforce data risks damaging employee trust.4 It can also cause severe lack of motivation and commitment. Focus instead on what employees are actually producing—not on when they produce it.

Micromanaging employee work is a mistake managers are prone to make when they cannot see their employees actually doing their job. This is partly a trust issue, but also an inexperience problem. Managing in a remote environment can result in a leader showing controlling behavior when interacting with staff.

Overcoming Remote Management Risks

When providing talent management to your employees who are working remotely, do not forget the importance of personal and professional development. For example, if you notice an employee is not working enough and/or dealing ineffectively with telecommuting, you need to establish clear goals and criteria that sets a standard for the employee and motivates them. By addressing this failure promptly and correctly, you can build trust with the employee and the rest of your team.

The opportunity to grow and develop skills remains a significant contributor to employee morale and motivation. Make sure that online classes, coaching sessions with you, the implementation of a career development plan, and additional, more responsible work opportunities are available.

Setting Proper Guidelines

As a manager, you can provide particular guidelines about your employees’ working conditions even when the job is remote. By creating specific guidelines, you can go out of your way to make sure your employees are well.

  • Requiring Meeting Attendance: You can require attendance at the remote weekly staff meeting or the total employee company meeting. You can also ask team members to share their schedules, projects, timelines, goals, and needs with each other so efficient project coordination can occur.
  • Establishing Work Hours: In setting working hours, you can require a core time every day during which the exempt employee must make themselves available to collaborate with peers. With your non-exempt employees, you must have stated working hours that they adhere to and you can require that employees ask for permission to work overtime.
  • Addressing Employee Well-Being: You want to ensure that you are properly attending to the well-being of your remote employees. In remote work, many of your employees will experience loneliness and feelings of isolation; they will also have to address new distractions such as family and pets.
  • Planning Properly: Make sure that you do the appropriate planning before, during, and after the remote meetings you do hold. Having an agenda, clear goals, and anticipated outcomes becomes even more important when people do remote work.

To maximize employee productivity and well-being in a remote environment, encourage them to:

  • Set up boundaries and expectations with family members
  • Maintain a workstation that is separate from central living areas
  • Set up a consistent work schedule
  • Maintain self-care such as eating regularly, chatting with friends, exercising, and sleeping regular hours
  • Communicate what they need in order to work more effectively

The Bottom Line

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about new challenges and opportunities that managers may never have expected to experience in their lifetimes. However, it has also generated a new vision for how employees will work going forward—and this may not include working full-time in an office. As such, this pandemic provides a valuable opportunity for managers to positively—and with deliberate practice—hone their new skills as a remote manager. Talent management from a distance will be the new norm in a globally dispersed and remote work environment, so it’s time to think about the potential for this new world of work.

 

Source: Thebalancecareers.com, September 2020
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Vital questions top CEOs ask their teams constantly

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 22nd, 2020 by admin

As a CEO or one of your company’s top leaders, there are many ways you can go about determining if your business is on track. But when it comes to understanding productivity, as in how productive your people are relative to the results they’re creating, the last thing you want is to go on a wild goose chase trying to find out what’s working and what’s not. Fortunately, there are some vital questions you can ask to get razor-sharp clarity on your organization’s productivity. The answers to these five questions will help you:

  • Make more empowered decisions about your company’s strategic direction
  • Discover how to more effectively lead and inspire performance.

Asking these questions is a proven practice that disciplined leaders do regularly. They do this purposefully, creating a winning culture, where everyone feels inspired, productive, and rewarded relative to what matters most. Here is a list of the questions:​

Do I Have the Right Talent?

The very best leaders are purposefully and strategically surrounding themselves with talented teams of people. These carefully chosen individuals possess skills and innate gifts that surpass those of their leaders. These employees are working alongside their leaders and behind the scenes, driving productivity, profitability, and overall success.

Part of your responsibility to lead your team requires finding the very best talent and helping them achieve their full potential. You must also choose those who have the capacity to deliver according to job requirements and exude openness to learning and growth when asked or required.

In terms of having the right talent, it’s also extremely important to hire who is right. Studies have shown that 80 percent of turnover is directly tied to bad hiring decisions—and turnover is expensive! In fact, for some companies, hiring mistakes commonly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do We Have Goal Clarity?

Starting with you and then moving out to the front-lines of your business, determine whether everyone has a good grasp of their major goals. Look for opportunities to pull employees aside and ask “What are your goals?” or “How are you performing against your goals?”

If individuals struggle with articulating their goals, perhaps describing activities they are doing instead, you’ve got your answer: They are not clear on their goals. View this moment of truth as an opportunity to take corrective action to get your team focused on clear objectives.

Goal clarity is vital to your organization’s success. In our experience cultures that embrace a “What’s the goal?” mindset are more productive. In fact, we’ve seen companies once slacking in productivity make leaps in progress by simply asking this question consistently. It’s powerful!

 

Do We Have Goal Alignment?

Assuming everyone at your business has clear goals, explore whether the goals for different departments are aligned or opposed to each other. For example, if a core goal is to reduce overtime across the firm and in response you cut customer services hours, it is likely that customer satisfaction will decrease as the complaints increase. This is a classic case of goal misalignment. High performing companies and leaders work hard to ensure goal alignment.

 

Are We Holding People Accountable?

Real accountability requires sheer discipline if it is going to work. It’s not easy, but the effort and short-lived pain are worth the gain. In fact, this discipline is essential to achieve the goals of the company. You must drive accountability down through the organization to fully impact it.

Regularly scheduled meetings where performance gets reported and measured is an excellent approach to get every team member on the same page and focused on the right goals. These meetings also provide insight into what’s working and what isn’t, who needs coaching, and, ultimately, who is engaged and not engaged.

 

How Are We Performing Against the Competition?

The very best organizations know their competition inside and out. They use this information to spot opportunities and make critical decisions about what direction to take their business and how to increase productivity by developing and supporting their people differently.

Knowing your competition gives you an opportunity to create a competitive advantage. Ask your team to explore how they’d feel if they could do something new or different relative to the competition. Then inspire their productivity, giving your employees the freedom and support necessary for developing cutting-edge solutions that align with your company goals.

 

The Bottom Line

Questions are a powerful teaching tool for leaders. By asking the right questions, your team develops an understanding of what you view as important, promoting clarity and focus. While there is a nearly endless supply of questions you can ask, the five described in this article promotes focus on the issues that drive employee productivity and performance. Use them in great business health!

Source: www.thebalancecareers.com
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How to maintain company culture while remote working

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 12th, 2020 by admin

Your managers play a powerful role in maintaining your culture

During this uncertain period of time, when employees continue to work remotely, one of your key goals as an employer must be to maintain your company culture. You worked hard to build a workplace culture that supportp your epployees’ best efforts to contribute, stay productive, and find happiness and fulfillment in their jobs. Remote work doesn’t have to change this special culture. You just need to understand the factors that need emphasis and maintenance while employees work outside of the office.

Maintaining company culture is more than providing team-building activities, or sponsoring company events, excursions, and celebrations—although they can help, even virtually. To maintain a remote workplace culture, employers need to establish a virtual environment in which team members still feel connected and protected. Employees need to feel that their entire team is working hard together, staying productive, and that their opinions matter. To achieve this, they must have regular contact with their manager and their colleagues.

Helping your employees stay connected to the overall vision and goals of the company promotes a feeling of being part of something that is bigger than themselves—a must for employee engagement.

But how challenging is it for employers to achieve this? In its study about the impact of COVID-19 on the business and workforce environment, HR consulting firm Mercer found that more than 40% of businesses experienced a moderate to high impact on how their infrastructure handled the culture and workplace change to working virtually.

 

How Important Is Culture to Your Employees, Even When Remote?

A strong company culture is often a top priority for job seekers. According to a survey conducted by global customer experience and digital solutions provider TELUS International, a majority of respondents (51%) felt less connected to their company culture while working remotely as a result of the pandemic.

When participants were asked what they miss most about working in the office, these were the most common responses.

  • Small talk and interacting with colleagues (57%)
  • Collaborating in person with a team (53%)
  • The separation between work and home (50%)2

It’s important now more than ever for employers to put company culture needs high on the priority list.

According to a study from Virginia-based Hinge Research Institute, when evaluating job prospects, 57% of job seekers across all career levels consider culture as important as pay. For 75% of talent recruiters, cultural fit is more important than a prospect’s work history and experience. And perhaps most notably, 73% of all respondents picked a defined and clearly articulated culture as the top key element of a company’s reputation as a workplace—meaning its employer brand.

 

6 Steps to Take to Maintain Company Culture While Remote Working

Your HR staff, managers, and organization as a whole play critical roles in reinforcing your company culture while remote working remains the “new normal.” And with proper empowerment, your employees can help you reinforce the culture, too. In the aforementioned TELUS study, the three most critical components of creating a strong virtual office culture are:

  • Weekly staff meetings and one-on-ones with managers (66%)
  • Schedule flexibility (65%)

Reinforce and Focus on the Culture You Want to Develop

Workplace culture will develop whether you pay attention to it or not—in fact, you likely already have one. So, you will want to actively discuss your culture with senior leadership, managers, and employees. If you like your current culture, you will want to reinforce it while employees work remotely. In that case, you may as well begin by defining the culture you want to bolster the success of remote employees. Ask each team to establish team norms that strengthen their ability to work together while out of the office, and share them with other teams.

Retain your day-to-day reminders of the culture you want to have and reinforce. Did you eat lunch together once a week when working in the office? Then, eat lunch together virtually. Did your team meet weekly for support and updates? In that case, it’s best to keep meeting. And if your organization normally met to share progress, set goals, and celebrate, continue this tradition during the period of remote work.

Trust Your Employees 

Employees who are treated with trust and respect will likely rise to the occasion. Instead of over-monitoring your remote-working employees, which can hamper their motivation and productivity, find alternatives for your teams to share work schedules—like a Trello board they can use to stay updated and in touch with their progress. Additionally, using tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Jabber, Workplace by Facebook, and Quip can allow your group to effectively interact without having to attend multiple Zoom meetings. When employees (and managers) are aware of the day-to-day work activities of their team members through workflow and communication tools—and not micromanagement, that knowledge reinforces trust.

Help Your Managers Develop and Exhibit the Behavior That Reinforces Your Desired Culture

A virtual workforce requires stronger leadership skills when it comes to coordinating projects and bringing the team together into a cohesive unit. In a virtual workplace, you miss many of the cues that onsite employees provide through nonverbal communication, like slouching in a chair looking worn out. Provide the coaching, training, and support needed by your managers so they can excel in areas such as the following:

  • Setting stretch goals and objectives for their team members so the employees will rise to the challenge working remotely
  • Establishing high standards for performance so people know exactly what is expected from their performance
  • Fostering a culture that expects and reinforces the accountability of employees for the expected results, and providing critical feedback to let employees know how they are doing
  • Communicating clearly about goals, needed contributions, successes, problems, and opportunities, which will also enable employees to build trust on the team
  • Helping employees manage distractions and leading properly in the virtual environment, knowing that people have challenges with family members, sharing office space, home schooling, etc.
  • Building relationships with the employees and encouraging each team member to actively participate
  • Responding in a timely manner to employee requests for help, input, time, and feedback —especially when they need more of their manager’s attention during remote work from home
  • Paying attention to employee concerns about their growth and development needs, and addressing these concerns by, for example, holding regular coaching and development conversations, and helping workers find virtual events to attend

Embrace Transparency in All Employee Interaction

Transparent communication is critical for maintaining your culture while employees are working remotely. Employees need to trust you, especially during an economic crisis when job security is likely one of their top concerns. In fact, in a survey from promotional product company PromoLeaf and CensusWide of people who found remote work as a result of the pandemic, 48% of respondents agreed when asked whether transparency is key when it comes to feeling a strong sense of job security. Another 47% also said that they wanted to hear from CEOs, leadership, and others about how the company was being affected by current events, and what was being done to protect it, including their position.

However, 38% of responders said that their company needed to do more than they were to keep employees informed.4 This means that despite the fact that nearly half of employees want their company to communicate clearly about the effect of the pandemic, over a third feel that their company can do better. This is a good lesson for transparent communication and its effect on employee trust.

Enhance Employee Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

In a remote workforce setting, attention to your employees’ work-life balance can reinforce your organizational culture of caring.

For example, providing child care support for working parents, more flexible leave policies to accommodate the new normal, and offering virtual social activities will reinforce employee balance.

Providing regular recognition lets employees know that their sacrifices and dedication to their work in a remote setting is truly appreciated.

You do this by acknowledging the challenges they experience in their remote setting by scheduling meetings and interaction time during a core period of hours and respecting family time in the morning and evening. Your employees, for instance, may have to get their children started on home schooling before they have time to get to work.

Address Mental Health Issues Your Employees May Experience

In addition to paying attention to employee work-life balance issues, you must do more to ensure the positive mental health of your remote workers. Mental health issues that employees might experience working remotely include loneliness, mourning the past workplace, missing daily coworker interaction, and concern for their job and economic future.

In the Mercer study, the firm found that nearly 37% of companies surveyed said employees were experiencing mental health issues on account of social isolation and economic anxiety.

Employers can help combat these mental health issues in the same ways recommended to reinforce their culture of caring, empathy, consideration, and gratitude. They need to encourage their workers to use employee assistance programs (EAPs), check in frequently on how they are doing, and allow them to take mental health days for rest and relaxation when they feel they need time to regroup.

The Bottom Line

Maintaining your company culture while remote working can be crucial to your business’s operational and financial viability. By clearly defining your culture and reinforcing it through well-trained management, your employees can feel more engaged, connected, and motivated when working from home.

This, in turn, can result in increased productivity and desire to achieve a shared vision and goals, which can ultimately lead to more positive business outcomes. While the process may seem challenging, it can also be engaging and show that your company culture is worth preserving—and even strengthening—during a time when the work environment as we know it has dramatically shifted.

Source: www.thebalancecareers.com, 23 October 2020
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