New leaders need to be effective in today’s work environment
COVID-19 will forever transform the landscape of today’s work environment.
Business owners, leaders and managers have had to adapt their leadership and management styles and models to accommodate today’s different work models: working full time in the office; hybrid — working in the office as well as remote; working remote full time.
Employees have also changed their views. They are keenly aware of how their work influences their overall well-being. Because of the workplace changes precipitated by COVID-19, employees will also expect more flexibility from their employers, leaders and managers. They know that working flexible hours and remotely is not only possible, they can also be highly productive as well.
Business owners, leaders and managers need to be prepared for these shifts in the hearts and minds of workers. As they move forward with transitions and reboarding, they must remember that their greatest assets are their people.
HOLISTICALLY CARING FOR EMPLOYEES
In traditional workplaces, home was home and work was work. Now work is home and home is work. This means that an employee’s home-life is intertwined with work. Many don’t miss their commute, but they do miss the personal interaction and engagement with their managers and fellow associates.
Leaders and managers have also expanded their perspective of their employees to be people who work, rather than workers that happen to be people. This mind shift calls for a different leadership model that uses more of a coaching approach — something that employees have craved. This coaching model leads with empathy and compassion.
Leaders need to encourage the coaching model with managers because how managers treat their direct reports dramatically impacts an employee’s engagement. According to Gallup, “Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units.”
To assist Florida business owners in learning how to effectively communicate, motivate and manage each associate, they now have access to a DISC Behavioral Style Analysis and Driving Forces assessment tool through their local Florida Small Business Development Center. Knowing what motivates and drives their employees also helps define and sustain the personal element of their organization’s culture.
As workplaces transition out of the crisis, managers also need to ask employees about their needs and demands outside of work. This will help leaders and managers as they begin to reboard their associates into their current work situation.
Communication is critical for business success. During these challenging times, leaders and managers have been creative in using technology to stay in touch with their associates as well as continuing to conduct business. As much as we need video conferencing to hold meetings and to have eye-to-eye connection, it still isn’t the same. Zoom fatigue is very much a real thing.
As leaders and managers rethink about communicating, they also have to remember that each person has a unique style of communicating. Some employers may have a tendency to communicate in their own personal style. However, they may be totally missing the mark if the other person has an entirely different method of communicating.
Using the DISC Behavioral Style assessment will provide the specific methods to communicate with each person as an individual. It’s like having their communication software that connects directly to their brain.
Communicating remotely brings its own barriers. Wouldn’t it be nice to break down those doors and have a direct gateway to associates?
When using assessments with associates, a communication agreement checklist can be created. The agreement is that before sending an email, making a call, texting or jumping on a Zoom call, the checklist will be reviewed to see which method of communication fellow associates prefer. Some might want to start with a warm friendly comment, while others might want to jump straight into business.
It’s easy to lose the personal touch in the virtual work environment. Technology doesn’t take the place of a leader or manager reaching out via a phone call or even sending a small thank-you note. It can be the small gestures that reinforce that you care.
Reboarding is when employees reenter and reengage in the workplace.
One challenge is the workplace has changed. Due to COVID-19 there are new guidelines and protocols that need to be followed to ensure a safe workplace for employees and customers. These need to be explained as well as the consequences of not following the guidelines.
New processes, systems, software, telecommuting policies might have to be established to accommodate the new working environment.
Reboarding can also be an opportunity to address any core issues within an organization. This is a great opportunity to open the dialogue with associates to ask about changes and improvements that could be made to improve their engagement.
Respectful treatment of employees is very important and always has been. In terms of the pandemic, with what’s happening in the world, it’s likely even more important.
In the coming months, as employers begin the hiring processes, employees will have choices about where they would like to work.
By responding positively to this COVID-19 shift in working environments and by having a specific, clear and intentional reboarding process, leaders and managers will demonstrate that they are prepared to utilize the skills of flexibility, empathy, consultative coaching and effective communication tools to create and sustain a culture and environment where employees enjoy the opportunity to be fully engaged at work while balancing their home responsibilities.
Clare Dreyer is the president of EVOLVE3 Consulting LLC and has more than 25 years of experience in organizational and leadership development as well as working with teams. She created the trademarked system, Turbo-Charge Any Team, to help business owners, leaders and managers improve team communication effectiveness and increase organizational alignment. Dreyer, who is an expert in the field of interpersonal communication skills, has been certified as a coach and master practitioner in the Art of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She recently retired from the Florida SBDC at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Magazine Inc. For more information or to report news email [email protected]