I think we can all agree that the past year was like no other in our lifetimes. So much has changed in our world in such a short period of time and the full impact of what we’ve experienced and are still experiencing will not be fully appreciated or understood for many years to come. Fundamental shifts have taken place in how we do just about everything and impacted our daily lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined just 12 months ago.
Beyond the obvious things such as the way we shop, our use of technology, and even how we connect with our friends and family, one of the most noticeable impacts has been on our workplaces. 2020 will forever be remembered as the year our workplace profoundly changed. How you and your organization respond to these seismic shifts will most certainly be the difference between success and non-success in a Post Covid World.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned about the New Workplace of 2021.
- Work Is No Longer Just a Place. While this shift has been evolving for many years, the idea that your entire team must be in the building every day has been completely upended. Work isn’t just a place to congregate anymore, but rather a shared group of values and behaviors that we all adhere to. What are the expectations that you are holding yourself and your teams accountable? Are they the same for everyone involved? The new measure of team member isn’t about how many hours they spend in your office, but rather the quality of the work they produce- wherever you get that work done is now irrelevant. The new workplace can be characterized by the words “Bed Bath and Beyond” as a makeshift office space can now occupy any place in your home that supports a solid WIFI connection.
- Your Brand Matters. Because location is no longer a barrier, now more than ever leaders need to be able to convey a clear set of values and expectations to their remote workers and hold EVERYONE accountable to them. Mark Cuban stated early on in the pandemic that the values an organization holds themselves to and how they treat their teams and serve their communities during this crisis will define their brands for the next 20 years. What is your brand? What does your organization stand for? Can anyone in the company tell you? Would everyone at every level have the same story if they were asked? It can’t just be about making a profit and delivering steady returns to stakeholders, those are a given in the new economy. Your Brand is a catalyst to attract new talent and preserve existing talent within the organization. More importantly Your Brand drives a healthy culture and if the 2 aren’t in alignment it’s going to tough to execute even the most basic strategies moving forward.
- Remoter workers can have Higher Engagement With Consistent Feedback. Gallup has reported that relaxed work hours and flexible schedules have all contributed to maintaining, and in many cases even raising employee engagement scores this past year. The caveat is that remote worker engagement scores are directly related to the connection these workers have to their direct supervisors and leadership. Providing consistent feedback and continuing to engage your teams both as a group and in one on ones has been the clear-cut winner this past year when it comes to engagement. Even with this data, Gallup reports that 47% of employees across the nation receive feedback only “a few times per year” and almost 20% receive feedback “1 time per year” The message her is that Your Team Craves Feedback, both positive and constructive. Remember feedback is an expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people.
- Yearly Performance Evaluations Are Not Helpful if That’s All You Are Doing. In a rapidly changing and evolving workplace, this old standard of a workplace gone by- is too slow and much too rigid to truly measure and drive performance. The New Workplace requires a new type of worker, which demands a new type of leader that is constantly providing feedback to their teams both formally and informally. The yearly performance review should be the culminating event of an entire year worth of feedback and focus more on goals and skills to work toward in the coming year. Start building a “Culture of Feedback” and create an expectation that feedback is an ongoing process not a yearly event. If there is a better way to improve performance and nurture a healthy culture that consistently providing and receiving feedback from those you know and trust, please share it. Until then, start using this tool more frequently and see where it leads you.
- Skills Matter. In the Pre-Covid booming economy, it was easy to mask over your underperforming team members. Now that things have tightened up and we need more from everyone. Skill level and the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn at a rapid pace is what separates high performers from the rest of the pack. Many companies have used the pandemic to reassess their talent and in many cases some team members didn’t make the cut. Fair or unfair, that’s the reality of the modern workplace. This is one of the main reasons why this next generation of worker is not only asking for training and development opportunities, but in many cases will demand it as they fully understand that a constantly evolving workplace will require constant growth on their part to keep up. If you aren’t investing in your team, then your team will seek that investment elsewhere, maybe even your competitor.
These are just a few of the lessons learned about our constantly changing workplace this past year. As we kick off 2021 there will be so many more challenges and opportunities to be faced. How have you prepared your organization for life in a post-covid economy?
What lessons have you learned about yourself and your company over the past year?
How will these lessons help you stay competitive moving forward?
Please share your comments and strategies so we can all benefit from your knowledge.
And as always
Cheers to you, your health, and your continued success
One Quarter Turn at a Time
Quote for the week:
What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.- Vern McLellan