Distrust In HR Department And What Can Be Done To Solve It

Some crisis situations burst on the scene and are in plain view for the world to see. Others can simmer for months or years out of sight, out of mind and under the radar of corporate executives.

The distrust that employees have in their company’s HR staff is an example of a simmering internal crisis that can boil over and scald the image, reputation and credibility of organisations and their leaders.

But before business leaders can address the problem, they need to understand what’s causing it.

‘A Natural Distrust’

Rachel Fiset is the managing partner of law firm Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman. She said, ‘’Employees have traditionally had a natural distrust for human resources because the department generally prioritises the company over the employee.

‘’Human resources will often field complaints by employees — but the actual response to the complaints may look like the company is only working to ensure its own legal compliance in a given situation and not to improve the employee’s working conditions,’’ she noted.

Serving The Bottom Line

HR consultant Claire Brummell observed that, “Many HR departments can be seen to approach employees as little more than a resource to serve the needs of the corporate bottom line, where the needs of the leaders, departments and business are considered and prioritized over that of, and often to the detriment [of], the needs of the employees.

“HR Departments that function from this place of utilising humans as little more than another expendable business resource have already failed their employees and will garner their distrust.”

Insights From Surveys

Two surveys provide these important insights into the trust problem.

Human relations platform Cezanne HR recently surveyed over 1,000 workers at organisations with more than 250 employees in the UK. They found that:

  • Almost half (47%) of employees don’t trust HR to help with conflict resolution.
  • 48% don’t trust HR to make them aware of internal promotion opportunities.
  • More than two in five (45%) of respondents don’t believe HR will act impartially, while 43% believe senior staff members are favoured.

Last year, U.S.-based Zeneefits, an HR, payroll and benefits company, released a report called “Human Resources: Helpful or Horrible?” According to their research:

  • 38% of employee respondents feel HR does not equally enforce company policies for all employees, with 18% of that group believing managers get special treatment.
  • 71% of HR employees in the survey stated that less than 30% of complaints they received in the last 2 years resulted in any disciplinary action. Having less than a third of cases result in disciplinary action led employees to wonder — if they bring complaints forward, will anything even result?

Historical Bias

Lesa Hammond is a 30-year veteran of HR and was the chief human resources officer at three universities. She is now an instructor in the HR certificate program at San Francisco State University and CEO of workplace platform Attaché for Business.

She pointed out that, “Much of the distrust in HR come from an historical bias employees and management hold or a lack of transparency by the HR department. If the leadership of the company, of which HR should be a part, does not have respect for the department, it is not given much power and becomes a bureaucratic bottleneck, rather than a strategic problem solver.

“Employees also lose faith in HR when they come with a problem and it appears it is being held against them or nothing seems to be happening regarding the problem,’’ she commented.

Unequal Treatment Of Co-Workers

Employment attorney Jonathan LaCour, of Employees First Labor Law said many of the cases he handles lead straight back to problems in a company’s human resources department.

“One common reason employees distrust HR is that they see unequal treatment of co-workers due to friendships or connections within the company, or because of someone’s status as a manager. Company handbooks almost always state that human resources policies will be implemented fairly, consistently and impartially. Everyone can see when it’s not,” he observed.

Lack Of Qualifications

LaCour noted that, “Another area where companies create problems for employees and themselves is when they put people in charge of human resources who have no business being there. In one recent case, a man with no experience in human resources was hired to help run the department. He turned out to be an aggressive sexual harasser and cost the company a lot of money.

“In another case, a company with 160 employees made a payroll accountant their human resources manager — for half a day every week. This person had no prior experience in anything HR related and was impossible for employees to get hold of. And when they handed out advice, it was entirely ignorant of applicable law,” he recalled.

Visibility

Sue Lingard, marketing director of Cezanne HR said, “HR teams have to get out and get in front of employees—and do it on a regular basis. The research found that the better-known they are, the higher the level of trust, and that’s good for the way the whole business works together.

“Start with the onboarding processes, but then ensure there are other opportunities where HR can be seen by more people. Perhaps by championing diversity, equity and inclusion or climate change initiatives, hosting drop-in days or sitting in on wider team meetings,” she advised.

Transparency

Sebastien Anderson is the founding partner of Labour Rights Law Office in Canada. He recommended that HR staff be transparent about their role and refrain from misleading employees that the HR department is on their side or is their friend. “In my experience, too many naive employees believe that HR advisors are like neutral ombudspersons troubleshooting potential conflict between an employee and their manager(s),” he observed.

“HR advisors who mislead employees about their role give all HR professionals a bad name and seed distrust between employees and management,” Anderson concluded.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.breathehr.com/en-au/blog/topic/business-leadership/what-can-you-do-when-you-lose-the-trust-of-an-employee
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/10/hr-has-lost-the-trust-of-employees-here-is-who-has-it-now
https://www.recruiter.com/recruiting/employees-losing-trust-in-employees-after-pandemic/

Are Work Friends Invaluable?

Millions of people suffer from loneliness. More than 300 million people globally don’t have a single friend, according to Gallup data. And more than 20% of people don’t have friends or family they can count on whenever they need them, let alone any work friends.

The average person spends 81,396 hours — the equivalent of more than nine years — at work. “Americans are now more likely to make friends at work than any other way — including at school, in their neighbourhood, at their place of worship, or even through existing friends,” according to the Survey Centre on American Life.

So, people spend a lot of their lives at work, and that’s where they’re most likely to develop friendships. Yet of everything companies do to improve employees’ lives and promote their happiness, social well-being is the aspect they invest in least, according to a Gallup survey of CHROs of the world’s largest companies. Indeed, Gallup finds that globally, only three in 10 employees strongly agree they have a best friend at work.

Why Should Companies Care?

Despite claiming “people are our greatest asset,” many executives I’ve met expect employees to leave their personal lives at the door when they come to work. Yet Gallup’s data shows that having a best friend at work is strongly linked to business outcomes, including improvements in profitability, safety, inventory control, and employee retention.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Minnesota not only confirmed that close friendships increase workplace productivity, they also found out why — friends are more committed, communicate better, and encourage each other. And according to a global study by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), “Interpersonal work relationships have a sizeable and significant positive effect on the job satisfaction of the average employee. Relationships rank first out of 12 domains of workplace quality in terms of power to explain variation in job satisfaction.”

If increased productivity, profitability, job satisfaction, and retention aren’t enough, Gallup’s latest findings show that since the start of the pandemic, having a best friend at work has an even greater impact on important outcomes — like workers’ likelihood to recommend their workplace, intent to leave, and overall satisfaction. With the unavoidable increase in remote and hybrid work, best friends at work have become lifelines who provide crucial social connection, collaboration, and support for each other during times of change.

Unfortunately, the pandemic not only exacerbated global loneliness, it also took a toll on workplace friendships. Among people working in hybrid environments, Gallup has seen a five-point decline in those who say they have a best friend at work since 2019.

Whether a workplace is fully in person, fully remote, or hybrid, a culture that prioritizes and encourages work friendships is good for employees and good for the bottom line. So how can managers create and maintain a friendship-friendly workplace that delivers measurable results while also helping to combat the global epidemic of loneliness? Here are some actions to take right now:

Establish a buddy system

Everyone needs a buddy, especially when they’re new to a company. Teaming up new hires with veteran employees can expedite onboarding and productivity. Workplace buddies not only give new hires tips like where stuff is and what the unwritten rules are, but they help them make connections with other people in the company. And some of these initial connections will almost certainly lead to long-term relationships.

The key to an effective buddy system is the frequency of the interactions. Microsoft found that when its new hires met with their buddy more than eight times in their first 90 days on the job, 97% said that their buddy helped them become productive quickly. But when new hires met with their buddy only once during the first 90 days, that number was only 56%.

Increase face time

Before the pandemic, work was a place where colleagues could get coffee, have lunch, and run into each other in the hallway for impromptu conversations. For people who started working remotely full time in 2020, one of the biggest changes was the sharp decrease in hours they spent engaging socially with work friends.

Building friendships requires talking to, seeing, and being with people. The best way to connect is to see each other — even if it’s on Zoom or FaceTime. But at a minimum, co-workers need to talk more and email less. Email will never live up to face-to-face dialogue. Plus, it’s much easier to misinterpret what someone means over email.

Business leaders need to set an example: Communicate in person more and email less. Further, leaders can encourage in-person interactions by revising expectations, establishing new cultural norms, and even updating workplace configurations. For example, encourage cross-training or have workers rotate job duties so they can collaborate with people in other areas of the company. Exposure to new people creates opportunities to meet new friends. Plan on-site social events, meetings, or lunches. Move people’s workspaces closer together. Where else do you spend so much time with people from different walks of life organized around a common mission? And where else are you so dependent on the efforts of others?

Jam constantly

When people share a common goal and achieve great things together, they form a connection. The joy is in working together to produce magic. Using the Beatles as an example of a high-performing team, The Economist states: “The Beatles love what they do for a living. When they are not playing music, they are talking about it or thinking about it. They do take after take of their own songs, and jam constantly.”

If you’ve ever been part of a collaborative “jam session,” you know the feeling. Your employees want to feel that too — the satisfaction and pride of creating something great while having fun. Best friends trust, accept, and forgive each other. And when they work together, Gallup research has shown that they are significantly more likely to engage customers and internal partners, get more done in less time, support a safer workplace, innovate and share ideas, and have fun on the job.

Don’t force it.

Thanks to the pandemic, the days of all-but-mandatory happy hours and “kindergarten offices” full of games and colourful toys designed to encourage workers to stay late for fun team-building activities might be behind us. According to Paul Lopushinsky, founder of Vancouver-based consultancy Playficient, “That culture isn’t really about fun; it’s about getting people to stay longer.”

You can mandate policies, training or timesheets, but you can’t make people be friends. You don’t want your employees to start hating the very thought of company parties. If your company still discourages workplace friendships despite the proven benefits to business outcomes, remember this simple premise: To ignore friendships is to ignore human nature. In the battle between company policy and human nature, human nature always wins. The evidence suggests that people will fulfil their social needs, regardless of what is mandated. Companies do far better to harness the power of this kind of social capital than to fight against it.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/14/business/work-friends.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/katecooper/2021/09/28/the-importance-of-work-friends/
https://www.wsj.com/articles/forget-work-friends-more-americans-are-all-business-on-the-job-11660736232

Quiet Quitting Is About Bosses, Not Employees

“Quiet quitting” is a new name for an old behaviour. The authors, who have conducted 360-degree leadership assessments for decades, have regularly asked people to rate whether their “work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile.” Their data indicates that quiet quitting is usually less about an employee’s willingness to work harder and more creatively, and more about a manager’s ability to build a relationship with their employees where they are not counting the minutes until quitting time.

Every employee, every workday, makes a decision: Are they only willing to do the minimum work necessary to keep their job? Or are they willing to put more of their energy and effort into their work?

In the last few weeks, many of those who choose the former have self-identified as “quiet quitters.” They reject the idea that work should be a central focus of their life. They resist the expectation of giving their all or putting in extra hours. They say “no” to requests to go beyond what they think should be expected of a person in their position.

In reality, quiet quitting is a new name for an old behaviour. Organisational psychologists have been conducting 360-degree leadership assessments for decades, and they’ve regularly asked people to rate whether their “work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile.” To better understand the current phenomenon of quiet quitting, we looked at the data to try to answer this question: What makes the difference for those who view work as a day prison and others who feel that it gives them meaning and purpose?

The data collected indicates that quiet quitting is usually less about an employee’s willingness to work harder and more creatively, and more about a manager’s ability to build a relationship with their employees where they are not counting the minutes until quitting time.

What the Data Shows

We looked at data gathered since 2020 on 2,801 managers, who were rated by 13,048 direct reports. On average, each manager was rated by five direct reports, and we compared two data points:

Employees’ ratings of their manager’s ability to “Balance getting results with a concern for others’ needs”

Employee’s ratings of the extent to which their “work environment is a place where people want to go the extra mile”

The research term we give for those willing to give extra effort is “discretionary effort.” Its effect on organizations can be profound: If you have 10 direct reports and they each give 10% additional effort, the net results of that additional effort are increased productivity.

The graph below shows the results. We found that the least effective managers have three to four times as many people who fall in the “quiet quitting” category compared to the most effective leaders. These managers had 14% of their direct reports quietly quitting, and only 20% were willing to give extra effort. But those who were rated the highest at balancing results with relationships saw 62% of their direct reports willing to give extra effort, while only 3% were quietly quitting.

Many people, at some point in their career, have worked for a manager that moved them toward quiet quitting. This comes from feeling undervalued and unappreciated. It’s possible that the managers were biased, or they engaged in behaviour that was inappropriate. Employees’ lack of motivation was a reaction to the actions of the manager.

Most mid-career employees have also worked for a leader for whom they had a strong desire to do everything possible to accomplish goals and objectives. Occasionally working late or starting early was not resented because this manager inspired them.

What to Do If You Manage a “Quiet Quitting ”Employee

Suppose you have multiple employees who you believe to be quietly quitting. In that case, an excellent question to ask yourself is: Is this a problem with my direct reports, or is this a problem with me and my leadership abilities?

If you’re confident in your leadership abilities and only one of your direct reports is unmotivated, that may not be your fault. As the above chart shows, 3% or 4% of the best managers had direct reports who were quietly quitting.

Either way, take a hard look at your approach toward getting results with your team members. When asking your direct reports for increased productivity, do you go out of your way to make sure that team members feel valued? Open and honest dialogue with colleagues about the expectations each party has of the other goes a long way.

The most important factor is trust. When we analysed data from more than 113,000 leaders to find the top behaviour that helps effective leaders balance results with their concern for team members, the number one behaviour that helped was trust. When direct reports trusted their leader, they also assumed that the manager cared about them and was concerned about their wellbeing.

Our research has linked trust to three behaviours. First, having positive relationships with all of your direct reports. This means you look forward to connecting and enjoy talking to them. Common interests bind you together, while differences are stimulating. Some team members make it easy to have a positive relationship. Others are more challenging. This is often a result of differences (age, gender, ethnicity, or political orientation). Look for and discover common ground with these team members to build mutual trust.

The second element of trust is consistency. In addition to being totally honest, leaders need to deliver on what they promise. Most leaders believe they are more consistent than others perceive them.

The third element that builds trust is expertise. Do you know your job well? Are you out of date on any aspects of your work? Do others trust your opinions and your advice? Experts can bring clarity, a path forward, and clear insight to build trust.

By building a trusting relationship with all of your direct reports, the possibility of them quietly quitting dissipates significantly. The approach leaders took to drive for results from employees in the past is not the same approach we use today. We are building safer, more inclusive, and positive workplaces, and we must continue to do better.

It’s easy to place the blame for quiet quitting on lazy or unmotivated workers, but instead, this research is telling us to look within and recognize that individuals want to give their energy, creativity, time, and enthusiasm to the organisations and leaders that deserve it.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.axios.com/2022/09/07/quiet-quitting-pandemic-labor-jobs-unions
https://www.gallup.com/workplace/398306/quiet-quitting-real.aspx
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/02/how-quiet-quitting-became-the-next-phase-of-the-great-resignation.html

Recreating a Community at Work

For decades, we’ve been living lonelier, more isolated lives. As our social connectedness and sense of community has decreased, so has our happiness and mental health. And with more aspects of our lives becoming digital, it has reduced our opportunities for everyday social interaction. The nature of our work, in particular, has shifted.

In 2014, Christine and Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz partnered to learn more about what stands in the way of being more productive and satisfied at work. One of the more surprising findings was that 65% of people didn’t feel any sense of community at work.

That seemed costly (and sad!), motivating Christine to write Mastering Community, since lonelier workers report lower job satisfaction, fewer promotions, more frequent job switching, and a higher likelihood of quitting their current job in the next six months. Lonelier employees also tend to perform worse.

During the pandemic, many of us became even more isolated. Community, which we define as a group of individuals who share a mutual concern for one another’s welfare, has proven challenging to cultivate, especially for those working virtually. To learn more, we conducted a survey with the Conference for Women in which we asked nearly 1,500 participants about their sense of community at work before and since the pandemic and found it has declined 37%. When people had a sense of community at work, we found that they were 58% more likely to thrive at work, 55% more engaged, and 66% more likely to stay with their organization. They experienced significantly less stress and were far more likely to thrive outside of work, too.

People can create community in many ways, and preferences may differ depending on their backgrounds and interests. Here are several ways companies have successfully built a sense of community at work that leaders can consider emulating at their own organizations.

Create mutual learning opportunities

After creating an internal university for training years ago, Motley Fool, the stock advisor company, realized that the teachers got even more out of it than the students. The feedback led to a vibrant coaching program in which about 10% of employees act as a coach to other employees. For many, being a coach is a favourite part of their job. Chief People Officer Lee Burbage said, “When you think of progress and growth in a career, your mind tends to stay boxed into ‘What is my current role? What am I doing?’…we really try to encourage side projects…taking on a teaching role, taking on a coaching role, being a leader in one of our ERGs, that sort of thing.”

Burbage went on to describe how the company helped foster a sense of community by enabling employees to learn from one another in a less formal way:

We’ve had incredible fun and incredible effectiveness going out to [employees] and saying, “Hey, is anybody really good at something and would be interested in teaching others?” All it takes is for them to set up a Zoom call. We’ve had everything from DJ class to butchering class. How to make drinks, how to sew. Tapping into your employees and skills they may already have that they’d be excited to teach others, especially in the virtual world, that makes for a great class and creates an opportunity again for them to progress and grow and meet new people.

Plug into your local community

Kim Malek, the cofounder of ice cream company Salt & Straw, forges a sense of meaning and connectedness among employees, customers, and beyond to the larger communities in which her shops are located. From the beginning, Kim and her cousin and cofounder, Tyler Malek, “turned to their community, asking friends — chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and farmers — for advice, finding inspiration everywhere they looked.”

Kim and Tyler worked with the Oregon Innovation Centre, a partnership between Oregon State University and the Department of Agriculture, to help companies support the local food industry and farmers. Kim Malek told Christine that every single ice cream flavour on their menu “had a person behind it that we worked with and whose story we could tell. So that feeling of community came through in the actual ice cream you were eating.”

On the people side, Salt & Straw partners with local community groups Emerging Leaders, an organization that places BIPOC students into paid internships, and The Women’s Justice Project (WJP), a program in Oregon that helps formerly incarcerated women re-join their communities. They also work with DPI Staffing to create job opportunities for people with barriers like disabilities and criminal records, and have hired 10 people as part of that program.

In partnership with local schools, Salt & Straw holds an annual “student inventors series” where children are invited to invent a new flavour of ice cream. The winner not only has their ice cream produced, but they read it to their school at an assembly, and the entire school gets free ice cream. This past year, Salt & Straw held a “rad readers” series and invited kids to submit their wildest stories attached to a proposed ice cream flavour. Salt & Straw looks for ways like this to embed themselves in and engage with the community to help people thrive. It creates meaning for their own community while also lifting up others.

Create virtual shared experiences

Develop ways for your people to connect through shared experiences, even if they’re working virtually. Sanjay Amin, head of YouTube Music + Premium Subscription Partnerships at YouTube, will share personal stories, suggest the team listen to the same album, or try one recipe together. It varies and is voluntary. He told Christine he tries to set the tone by being “an open book” and showing his human side through vulnerability. Amin has also sent his team members a “deep question card” the day before a team meeting. It’s completely optional but allows people to speak up and share their thoughts, experiences, and feelings in response to a deep question — for example:

If you could give everyone the same superpower, which superpower would you choose?

What life lesson do you wish everyone was taught in school?

He told Christine, “Fun, playful questions like these give us each a chance to go deep quickly and understand how we uniquely view the world” and that people recognized a shared humanity and bonding.

EXOS, a coaching company, has a new program, the Game Changer, that’s a six-week experience designed to get people to rethink what it means to sustain performance and career success in the long run. Vice President Ryan Kaps told Christine, “Work is never going back to the way it was. We saw an opportunity to help people not only survive, but thrive.”

In the Game Changer, members are guided by an EXOS performance coach and industry experts to address barriers that may be holding them back from reaching their highest potential at work or in life. Members learn science-backed strategies that deepen their curiosity, awaken their creativity, and help sustain energy and focus. The program structure combines weekly individual self-led challenges and live virtual team-based huddles and accountability, which provide community and support. People who’ve completed the Game Changer call it “transformative,” with 70% of participants saying they’re less stressed and 91% reporting that it “reignited their passion and purpose.”

Make rest and renewal a team effort

Burnout is rampant and has surged during the pandemic. In our recent survey, we found that only 10% of respondents take a break daily, 50% take breaks just once or twice a week, and 22% report never taking breaks. Distancing from technology is particularly challenging, with a mere 8% of respondents reporting that they unplug from all technology daily. Consider what you can do to focus on recovery, together.

Tony Schwartz told Christine about the work his group did with a team from accounting firm Ernst and Young. In 2018, this team had been working on a particularly challenging project during the busy season, the result being that the team members became so exhausted and demoralized that a majority of them left the company afterward.

To try to change this, the 40-person EY team worked with the Energy Project to develop a collective “Resilience Boot Camp” in 2019 focused on teaching people to take more breaks and get better rest in order to manage their physical, emotional, and mental energy during especially intense periods. As a follow up, every other week for the 14 weeks of the busy season, the EY employees attended one-hour group coaching sessions during which team members discussed setbacks and challenges and supported one another in trying to embrace new recovery routines. Each participant was paired with another teammate to provide additional personal support and accountability.

Thanks to the significant shifts in behaviour, accountants completed their work in fewer hours and agreed to take off one weekend day each week during this intense period. “Employees were able to drop 12 to 20 hours per week based on these changes, while accomplishing the same amount of work,” Schwartz told Christine.

By the end of the 2019 busy season, team members felt dramatically better than at the end of 2018’s. And five months after the busy season, when accounting teams typically lost people to exhaustion and burnout, this EY team’s retention stood at 97.5%. Schwartz told Christine that his main takeaway from that experience was “the power of community.”

Community can be a survival tool — a way for people to get through challenging things together — and helps move people from surviving to thriving. As we found, it also makes people much more likely to stay with your organization. What can you do to help build a sense of community?

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/researchers-discover-best-way-to-avoid-procrastination
https://medium.com/productivity-power/can-a-self-imposed-deadline-help-beat-procrastination-13936992d1ea
https://www.fastcompany.com/3026895/self-imposed-deadlines-dont-stop-procrastination-heres-what-might

The Rise of The Meaningless Promotion & What To Do

Great news! You’re an asset to your company. You’ve been given more responsibilities…but no promotion. What can you do? Have you ever been given a boatload of new responsibilities without the title and pay increase to go with it? Or perhaps you got the title along with a vague promise that at “some point in the future” you’d get a raise to match your new responsibilities? It happens far more often than it should: A promised promotion that turns into nothing more than more work.

Promotions in title only aren’t a new phenomenon. Some leaders may think that by offering you a better title, they’re honoring your contributions and showing that they value you. Some might offer promotions in title only as a way to retain talent when attrition starts to spike. Or, with the pressure to show progress on their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitments, some companies will be looking for shortcuts — without doing the meaningful work.

Since the “diversity tipping point” of 2020, companies have pledged more than $35 billion toward advancing racial equity. With renewed attention on the lack of representation of Black talent across many industries, companies are under pressure to have their employee bases reflect the changing demographics of the U.S. Adidas, Facebook, Salesforce, Target, and The New York Times are examples of organisations across industries that have published pledges on their commitment to increasing representation of Black talent and people of colour more broadly.

Additionally, with the pandemic having had a devastating impact on women, companies are under pressure to hire and advance more of them. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women’s workforce participation has already dropped to 57%, the lowest level since 1988. Movements including The Marshall Plan for Moms, founded by activist Reshma Saujani, are upping the pressure on the public and private sector to help women get back into and stay in the workforce.

Offering fake promotions can be a form of diversity washing, where organisations look for quick fixes to their public DEI commitments. Here’s what to do if you fear you may be the target of diversity washing and are being offered a fake promotion.

Determine if it’s a fake promotion

Start by assessing what you’re being offered. What level are you currently at, and what is the proposed title they’re offering? For example, if you’re a manager being told that you should start calling yourself a director, what’s the difference in responsibilities? Will you be compensated as a director now? Remember that base salary is only one part of a compensation package. For example, at some companies, the director level comes with stock grants, access to a company-appointed financial advisor, and life and disability insurance.

Watch out for these other telltale signs that you’re being offered a fake promotion: Your manager makes no organisational or team announcement to share the news of your promotion. Or you’re pressured to change your title in your email signature and on LinkedIn to indicate to clients and vendors that you’re now a senior team member, but you see no change to your title or level in internal human resources systems, such as Oracle PeopleSoft or Workday.

Finally, figure out who else has been recently promoted to the title you’re being offered and talk to them. If they aren’t comfortable sharing what they’re making, ask them what the elements of the compensation package are at that level. Comparing the promotion you’re being offered to how others with the same title are being valued will be key in determining what you do next.

Take the title

If your boss makes it clear that you aren’t going to see any increase in salary, fight for the title increase. Why does it matter? I mean, other than your mom being proud of you. It matters because recruiters use titles as a proxy for responsibility level. They don’t go down each line on a resume and make note of the individual responsibilities on the first pass through. (They do, once they’ve narrowed down the pile.)

But, on that first pass through, you’re more likely to be hired into a job as a manager if you already have a manager title on your resume. If you’re acting as a team lead, it’s best to have that on your resume–even if there’s no salary to go along with it.

You Would Have No Real Authority, But Would Be Accountable

So you got that promotion and now have some employees reporting to you. But you may find it frustrating to learn that while you’re accountable for your department’s performance, there are outside factors that impact your ability to control outcomes. Before accepting a promotion, try to gauge how much input you will actually have on key decisions.

Your Work-Life Balance Would Suffer

Is this new job going to require longer hours at the office? Will you be on the road constantly? Will you constantly be on call? You may be at a point in your life when you need to be home more often to care for kids or an elderly parent. Or maybe you just want more time to pursue various interests. CNBC last year reported on some dads who said no to promotions because they wanted to spend more time with their families. You should not be so reliant on that extra paycheck that you’re willing to sacrifice the quality of your non-work life.

Decide whether to accept the new title

If you’ve determined that this is a fake promotion and you can’t find allies in your organisation to help, your decision is now whether or not to accept the offer. You should weigh the pros and cons of accepting the new title being proposed. While a bigger and better title may seem like a good idea, it may also leave you with self-doubt and make you question why you aren’t being treated fairly and equitably compared to your peers.

With the pressure to ensure the inclusion and advancement of people of colour and women, organisations must ensure internal practices are actually fair and equitable. Fake promotions can be another diversity-washing tactic that might ultimately give you a reason to go for the exit. If your company is willing to give you the title, they should also be willing to pay you, value you, and recognise you.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.business.com/articles/when-a-promotion-is-not-a-promotion-what-can-you-do/
https://hbr.org/2021/11/so-your-boss-offered-you-a-meaningless-promotion
https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/what-makes-work-meaningful-or-meaningless/

Re-Onboarding Your Return-to-Office Employees

At the beginning of the pandemic, employers quickly shifted almost every aspect of their business, including the onboarding of new employees, to take place remotely. Research from Glassdoor shows that organisations with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. Yet, according to Gallup, only 12% of employees feel that their organisation does a great job re-onboarding employees — and this is under “normal” circumstances.

Now, as organisations look at returning to the office in some capacity during the months ahead, there is an opportunity for re-onboarding employees who started remotely. Doing so will help create a continued positive employee experience and help further socialise them into the organisation’s culture, given that this group of employees will likely not have met their fellow team members in person, nor likely have ever been to the organisation’s physical offices.

In looking at the group of re-onboarding employees, you may also include employees who started a month or so before the sudden shift to work from home, as their full onboarding experience may have been cut short, as well as include internal hires into new roles or transfers to new offices. For brevity, I’ll call this combined group “remote hires.”

In addition to other onboarding best practices, here are six strategies for re-onboarding employees who started remotely:

Allow remote hires to bond as a cohort

This group shares a common, distinctive experience — starting a new job during what is, hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. Laurie Tennant, VP of People at Norwest Venture Partners, shared that her firm has had about 20 people who started remotely, ranging in position from Executive Assistant to Partner, across all teams in the organisation. She said, “You have an emotional resonance with your start-group that just kind of lasts” and shared that she is planning to do something special for remote hires where they all meet live to help form an affinity group of people who started during this time. Judy Parkman, Director of Human Resources as The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation also plans to organise an additional in-person lunch for remote hires with the foundation president, which was previously held virtually.

During these events, consider creating structured opportunities for remote hires to interact and get to know each other, such as ice breakers or “speed networking” activities, especially when there are multiple levels of the organisation represented or power differentials than can create feelings of awkwardness for individuals, regardless of their position.

Be mindful

Make an extra effort to help these employees feel particularly welcome, as if it’s their first day at the office — because it is! Consider leaving something special at their desk, be it a personal note, company swag, or other small gift. This is a nice touch that will go a long way in making members of this group feel valued, cared for, and recognised for having started a new job during a uniquely challenging time. Also, be thoughtful in making sure remote hires’ desks are located in an area where they will be able to naturally interact with other colleagues.

facility tours

Being new to an office can feel awkward and intimidating when you don’t know your way around — sort of like joining a new gym and not knowing where specific equipment is located or how a new machine works (in this case, it might be trying to figure out where the espresso machine is and how it works or how to get a FedEx package sent). In orienting remote hires to the physical space, conduct these tours in small groups to provide additional opportunities for remote hires to meet and get to know others. Show them not only where the office pantry, break room, restrooms and fire exits are, but other things like security protocols, conference room sign up procedures, helpful short-cuts and specific potential hazards or things to avoid, such as getting locked in the stairwell.

Communication and regular check ins

Managers of remote hires may take for granted that since these employees have already been on the job for some period of time that they’re already part of the team and don’t need assistance. Remind these managers that it’s their job to help the re-onboarding process for remote hires to make sure they are adjusting well to the new environment and have everything they need. Encourage them to take their remote hires to lunch and conduct a one-on-one with them their first week in the office, as would have been the case if they had initially started their job at the office.

Make sure managers and someone from HR is constantly checking in with remote hires in the weeks that follow. In many organisations today there are employee experience managers also plans to check in regularly with remote hires, which account for about 10% of their total employees. In addition, they should also assess what re-onboarding experiences may need to be conducted once back in the office based on what they hear from this group during these check ins.

Create a solid buddy system

Creating a buddy system can increase employee productivity and satisfaction. Remote hires are not only working at a new company, but also will be working in a new situation once people go back to the office, which can make them feel insecure. Aim to pair remote hires with more tenured employees who are familiar not only with the physical office, but also the office culture, as this can be a key source of support for remote hires helping them to navigate new dynamics once they are back at the office, even if they only return onsite a few days a week.

Consider assigning them two buddies — one who is on their team who has a good understanding of the remote hire’s role and manager, and one who is not on their team to help broaden their internal network and provide useful context outside their department. Ensure that these buddies understand how important their role is in the remote hire’s experience coming into the office and in helping them to understand how “in office” culture might be different than virtual culture.

Create informal team-building opportunities

Creating opportunities for people to get to know each other better will help all employees to reconnect after being remote for over a year but will also help remote hires, in particular, to socialise and get to know both new and seasoned employees in a more relaxed and less intimidating environment. For example, Norwest Venture Partners are planning to do a summer picnic and a voluntary opening over the summer for anyone who would like to come back to the office before their official open date in September. This gives remote hires the option to get to know the office and other colleagues in a less hectic or intimidating environment. The firm also plans to hold open houses at their offices once they officially open to create more opportunities for employees to mingle and get to know each other. Of course, other activities can also be planned with your more immediate teams, such as team dinners or informal outdoor barbeque.

While going back to the office will be an adjustment for everyone, it will be an entirely new experience for remote hires. Don’t squander the opportunity to create a great employee experience and use the strategies for re-onboarding your remotely hired employees.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.hrdownloads.com/blog/article/back-to-the-future-at-work-re-onboarding-employees-december-2019
https://www.growthengineering.co.uk/8-top-tips-for-re-onboarding-returning-employees-using-your-lms/
https://hbr.org/2021/06/how-to-re-onboard-employees-who-started-remotely

Diversity and Inclusion Strategies & Implementation

Diversity and inclusion programmes help companies drive innovative results. Yet many industries still struggle with diversity and inclusion, often failing to attract diverse talent due to inclusivity issues in the workplace. For organisations looking to shape up their diversity and inclusion (D&I) programmes and policies, the change can be challenging, but also rewarding. Most companies enact change to deliver business value, and many who launch diversity and inclusion initiatives cite research showing that companies with more diverse teams outperform those with a more homogeneous workforce.

As 2018 research from McKinsey shows, greater diversity in the workforce results in greater profitability and value creation. The same holds true at the executive level, as McKinsey found a statistically significant correlation between diverse leadership and better financial performance. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. When it comes to gender diversity, companies in the top quartile are 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile, according to McKinsey’s research.

While financial performance is a major driver of diversion and inclusion strategies, some organisations launching diversity initiatives in the face of government compliance regulations or to address shareholder pressure. In the United Kingdom, for example, companies are required to publish their diversity statistics. Organisations are also realising that make diversity and inclusion a business imperative will help them avoid tarnishing their reputation.

During 2020 and so far in 2021, many companies, including McDonald’s, Microsoft, Boeing, and Best Buy, made pledges to improve diversity hiring practices and introduce diversity and inclusion (D&I) training. The hiring of D&I professionals in general increased, too; more than 60 U.S.companies appointed their first-ever chief diversity officer (CDO). However, much of this work has not yet taken root. In one recent survey, 93% of leaders agreed that the D&I agenda is a top priority, but only 34% believed that it’s a strength in their workplace. In another survey, 80% of HR professionals viewed companies as  “going through the motions.” In other words, they didn’t notice any significant positive impact from the organisations’ actions. Another survey revealed that while 78% of black professionals believe senior leaders’ D&I efforts are well-intentioned, 40% hear more talk than action and have not noticed material changes to policies or culture. Meanwhile, many CDOs leave their roles because of a lack of strategic, financial, and political support.

One-off D&I “initiatives” do not effectively address these long-standing disparities. Instead, leaders should infuse D&I throughout their organisations. Based on our experience and research, we have developed five strategies that can turn diversity and inclusion into an improved employee experience and a strategic advantage for the enterprise.

Change starts from the CEO positions

The CEO needs to take a public stance, embed D&I in the organization’s purpose, exemplify the culture, and take responsibility for progress toward goals. They need to be out front, even if a CDO is part of the team.

PwC’s U.S. chairman, Tim Ryan, has been an exemplar for at least five years. He co-founded CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion after police shootings in the summer of 2016 to spur business executives to collective action on D&I. The publication of PwC’s workforce diversity data in 2020 revealed that women and people of color are underrepresented, especially at senior levels, showing that even the most dedicated companies still have a lot of diversity and inclusion work to do.

Nielsen’s CEO, David Kenny, added the CDO title to his leadership portfolio in 2018 so he could “set hard targets for ourselves and make those transparent to our board and measure them like we measure other outcomes like financial results.” He relinquished that title to a new CDO in March 2020, noting the D&I progress his team had already made.

Diversity and Inclusion Should Be Key Part OF Business Strategy

D&I is far more than an “HR issue.” It should be a core ingredient in the design and execution of business strategy and embedded in the activities of the organisation day in, day out. Increasing the number of non-white individuals involved in the strategy process will help develop a core purpose that better reflects a broader group of customers and employees. It also gives the organisation more opportunities and places to succeed.

Alex Gorsky, chair and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, who has put diversity and inclusion at the center of his pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage, said, “The best innovations can only come if our people reflect the world’s full diversity of individuals, opinions, and approaches.” A diverse design group is more likely to create products and services that work for a diverse clientele, avoiding biased assumptions, generalizations, or shortcuts. When organizations test products and services on a diverse group of potential clients and employees, it’s easier to identify the variations necessary to enhance the adoption of the final offering. And, when a company has an enterprise-wide D&I strategy, leaders can use it to guide the selection of operating ecosystem partners that are aligned with its D&I intentions.

Every Voice Should be Welcomed, Heard and Respected

Most often employees quit jobs when they feel that their authentic self and uniqueness is not appreciated or valued. As such, it is vital to create an environment where they feel a sense of connectedness to the company and its people. Employees need to feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. 

When it comes to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, don’t play favorites, practice basic courtesy, and pay special attention to how you can embrace non-discriminatory practices and policies. Employees feel included when they feel “safe” to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also empowers companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

One great way to do this is to invest in a workforce communications platform. By integrating all your communications channel into one platform, you will reach each worker on their preferred channel. You will truly help your workforce feel connected and included in larger company initiatives and goals. Also, you will gain insights from unified analytics to understand how best to meet their needs and help them thrive. And you’ll provide a personalized employee experience that is inclusive and allows all voices to be heard.

Multigenerational Workforce

Today, millennials make up the vast majority of the workforce. Having a workforce that recognizes and accommodates multiple generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce. And while millennials are generally known for being tech savvy, bear in mind this generation encompasses ages 22 to 38. The older millennials might not have the same proficiency with tech tools as their younger counterparts. You can really see this at work in communications practices. Sometimes certain employees are more comfortable using social channels, for example, or group chat functions. On the other hand, employees of older generations might not embrace such communications channels so readily.

Again, communications professionals can invest in a workforce communications platform to easily and efficiently create and send messages via channels that employees prefer; this will help communicators craft messages that will appeal to all generations, and encourage engagement. There’s widespread agreement on the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But it’s not easy to deliver on the promises made. It’s time to adopt a more systematic, coherent approach. By following these strategies, leaders can make more progress and create a more representative, fair, and high-performing workforce.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.cio.com/article/3262704/diversity-and-inclusion-8-best-practices-for-changing-your-culture.html
https://socialchorus.com/blog/15-ways-to-improve-diversity-and-inclusion-in-the-workplace/
https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/why-is-diversity-inclusion-in-the-workplace-important

Pandemic-Induced Changes in Work Practices

As vaccines are being administered, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s lives and the business environment will gradually lessen over time. This is a welcomed change, but organisations must resist the urge of a complete reversion to their pre-pandemic practices.

Given the fact that the crisis imposed severe restrictions, it also provided us with a unique opportunity to try thousands of alternatives and innovate with new practices, some of which are beneficial in any period. In addition, the crisis lowered the resistance to change and thus helped healthy organisations get rid of deeply entrenched, dysfunctional practices that would be difficult to shed in normal times.

Many organisations were forced to do things that would have been considered inconceivable not so long ago. In addition to many companies’ successful digital transformations and widespread remote work, courts started delivering justice online, healthcare providers shifted to telemedicine for many minor illnesses, banks paid out loans without meeting clients in person, and auditors conducted virtual company audits without visiting company premises.

But what will happen to these practices once the pandemic is over?

1. New practices should be sustained

In the early days of the pandemic, circumstances forced companies to react and experiment in swift and pragmatic ways. Most companies followed one unequivocal dictum: Keep pace and survive. Now it’s time to make space to reflect.

As a first step, companies should identify which new practices were successful, why they were successful, and under which circumstances they’re expected to continue to succeed. New practices are more likely to be retained and sustained if managers and employees consciously identify and recognize them, then establish them. Survey employees to understand what they did differently during the crisis and then conduct follow-up discussions about what succeeded for them and what didn’t. Distill the efforts that were successful into common organizational procedures, translating them into documentation and communicating new expected practices to employees.

2. Reduce any connection to old practices

We’re notorious creatures of habit. Given two choices, we’ll almost certainly opt for the more familiar one. Old habits and their signals are not only ingrained in our brains, but they’re also embedded in our surrounding environment. Language, spatial arrangements, rules, and work systems are preservers of knowledge in organizations that can trigger relapse. Manipulating or removing those symbols facilitates sustained change.

Organisations should be encouraged to unlearn dysfunctional practices by reducing influences of old knowledge structures that can hinder the adoption of new ones. This requires three easy steps:

  1. Question and reconsider the explicit and implicit criteria by which employees are evaluated — for example, whether they come to the office regularly and on time.
  2. Scrutinise and eliminate activities that were considered a norm previously but are no longer required — for example, daily in-person morning meetings held in a conference room at the office.
  3. Identify and change triggers that make people retrieve old norms — for example, if you had a tradition of having a group pizza lunch on Friday, host it in a video conference­-enabled room so that people working from home can join.

3. Openly discuss and explain the new procedures

Even after changes have been implemented, employees continue to carry deeply embedded assumptions about routines and practices before Covid-19. As long as these old assumptions are ingrained in individuals’ memory and there are disagreements about them going forward, the risk of failure remains high.

For example, one company initiated a dialogue among employees about the work-from-home mandate that was implemented during the pandemic. Now that conditions are becoming conducive to a return to offices, the company is discussing a permanent remote work policy.

In our analysis, we identified three distinct groups of employees based on their perceptions of the original change. One group was enthusiastic about it and demanded that it be sustained. Another group was comfortable with the change given the extraordinary circumstances but believed that it should be reversed once the pandemic is over. The third group never wanted the change and couldn’t wait for a reversion to the old practice. Although the shift to remote work was initially implemented on an organisation-wide basis, management didn’t know about the differences in people’s hidden perceptions about them. Unearthing these ideas and their different assumptions helped the organisation reflect on, transparently discuss, and set uniform expectations for each other, which allowed them to create more nuanced work-from-home policies that balanced the needs of all three groups.

Letting different viewpoints clash after change has been implemented does more harm than good. In order to make change sustainable, everyone must have a similar, if not the same, understanding of the reason, merits, and punishment and rewards associated with new procedures. For example, if physical, in-office meetings shouldn’t be held on days employees are allowed to work from home, make that clear. If an in-person meeting on one of those days is unavoidable, make sure employees understand that they won’t be penalised for participating virtually. Bringing varying opinions and perceptions to the surface, openly discussing divergent assumptions, and settling them will help align those expectations.

4. New practices should become habits

New practices can be sustained only if they’re turned into habits. In the final step of our framework, organisations must make sure that good practices are cemented into the organisational setting. The tendency to fall back into established routines is always one step away. It’s important, therefore, to go beyond initial rollouts and information sessions to regularly reinforce the new practices. This involves reminding people what the new procedures are until they don’t feel new anymore. It’s almost like reminding drivers about new speed bumps and lane changes for a period of time until they get used the new quirks. Instead of hoping that employees will automatically internalise changes as new routines, organisations must repeatedly communicate their benefits while providing incentives for their adoption and potential disincentives for their non-adoption. After several trials, new routines will become the familiar ones, and change will be sustained.

In places where pandemic restrictions are easing, companies must embrace this unique opportunity to retain the beneficial practices they adopted during the crisis. To do so effectively, leaders must be thoughtful about identifying which have been successful and deliberate in ensuring that the changes stick.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.businessreport.com/business/resist-old-routines-when-returning-to-the-office
https://v-teamwork.com/change-in-the-workplace/
https://www.liquidplanner.com/blog/why-is-organizational-change-so-hard/

How Is Work Going to Look Like in 2021?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how we work and how we feel about re-entering the workplace, as numbers go down and lockdowns are eased. Remote working may have been an adjustment for most at first, it slowly became a preference to employees worldwide. According to Cisco’s Workforce of the Future survey, conducted with 10,000 respondents across 12 markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, employees want to keep a hold of the many positives that have emerged from this new normal.

Many of the changes that have come from the pandemic will become a permanent part of employee experiences in 2021. This is due to the fact that in 2020, several factors upended the traditional approach to life at the workplace. As the economy prepares to re-open, the new normal of work, business travel, and office space will be refined and rediscovered across almost every industry worldwide.

Youth as the focal point

Although there are currently five generations in the workforce, including traditionalists, baby boomers, and generation X, the youth is taking over. – Millennials and Generation Z are becoming the largest generational cohort in the labour force. As such, they have different needs and values than older workers.

Hiring managers will have to understand these hires and customize the workplace and tasks to keep them engaged and productive. These young employees are digital natives, and they require continuous mental stimulation, flexibility, and work-life balance. To nurture their growth and encourage efficiency, recruiters can allow flexible working schedules, learning platforms, and accommodate collaborative tools.

The demand for flexible working conditions

According to research conducted by Slack, 72% of employees said they wanted a hybrid remote-office model. Instead of fully implementing a work-from-home environment, many companies are utilising a hybrid approach where employees will only come into the office for a couple of days in the week and spend the remaining days working remotely.

Microsoft’s hybrid workplace environment will allow most roles to remain remote less than half of the time with manager approval, while 62% of Google employees want to return to their offices but not every day.

Digital advancement

Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadell, described the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and advancement of technology at work, saying “we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”.

The findings from two separate studies by McKinsey and KPMG indicate that at least 80% of leaders accelerated the implementation of technology in the workplace due to COVID-19. White larger skill gaps, more training is required for employees to support the digital transformation needs that come with rapid change.

Many of these technologies are contact-tracing, collaborative tools, AI-driven software, and more, all of which have been widely adopted to support the mental health of employees, increase productivity and allow for flexibility and safety.

Levi Strauss’ digital transformation was facilitated by the use of AI and data, launching a virtual concierge service, appointment scheduling, and a brand-new loyalty programme.

Automation to support employees and not replace

Forrester claims that the fears over automation eliminating jobs is misplaced and that automation in 2021 will focus more on supporting current employees.

For example, grocery store robots will promote social distancing by doing inventory checks for employees to prevent too many people on the floor, and Forrester expects a tripling of robots of that sort in 2021. “By the end of 2021, one in four information workers will be supported in their daily work by software bots, robotic process automation, or AI, taking rote, repetitive tasks off their plates and yielding higher EX,” the market research company predicts. “Rather than focusing on substitution, focus more of your automation efforts on helping your staff be more effective.”

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.predictivesuccess.com/blog/10-trends-that-will-shape-the-world-of-hr/
https://hbr.org/2021/01/9-trends-that-will-shape-work-in-2021-and-beyond
https://www.swooptalent.com/talent-insights-blog/10-hr-trends-that-will-shape-2021

Does Productivity Soar by Working from Home?

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, working from home has become the norm for many. But even as remote work has normalised, it’s a recent development: doing your job from your couch was less mainstream before the coronavirus – and even stigmatised.

“Have you punched into Google image search, ‘working from home’, and looked at the top 20 images? They’re basically naked people, a guy drinking champagne in what looks like a jacuzzi. I mean, almost none of them are positive images,” says Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University in California. He’s made a career out of studying work practices, including remote work. And he thinks the attitudes around working from home are finally changing.

“One silver lining with the Covid pandemic: it’s going to kickstart working from home [moving from the] fringe to a mainstream technology that is commonly used across the country,” he says. That process is already under way; firms including Fujitsu and Twitter have already announced plans to make remote work a permanent option, even after the pandemic.

A study done by Nicholas Bloom, professor at Stanford University, back in 2013 somewhat forecast this trend: in his experiment, Bloom worked with a Chinese company to study remote-work productivity. Somewhat to Bloom’s surprise, the company’s staff became notably more productive by working from home four days a week.

Now, six months into the global pandemic, an increasing number of companies are asking: should we work from home indefinitely? And if they do decide to make major organisational changes about remote work, could they see similar leaps in productivity?

How Do Knowledge Workers Spend Their Time?

In 2013, knowledge workers spent two-thirds of their time either “managing across” in meetings, often with many colleagues, or doing “desk-based work” on their own. Externally focused work (e.g. talking to customers), managing down (coaching and supporting subordinates) and managing up (interacting with the boss and other senior people) all got very little time, while training and personal development got almost none.

How has this picture changed during lockdown? There were two significant shifts: 12% less time managing across through meetings and 9% more time doing externally focused work. Desk-based work continues to take a third of our time. Other changes — a little less time managing up and a little more time on training and development — were not statistically significant.

Standing back, the evidence suggests lockdown has helped us more effectively prioritize our work. We still need to get through our emails and report-writing. But we are significantly less likely to get drawn into large meetings, and this leaves us more time for client or customer work and for training and development, which most people would argue is a good thing. However, lockdown doesn’t seem to have helped with hierarchy-spanning activities (managing up and down), presumably because it’s impossible to have the short, spontaneous meetings that used to be possible.

How Do Knowledge Workers Decide What to Do? 

While most knowledge workers have a written job description somewhere, it is well understood that they take responsibility for choosing what to do and when to do it based on a variety of factors, including tasks outside of their formal role when it appears sensible to do so.

To get a sense for how these decisions are made, we asked study subjects to choose among four options for every activity: It’s a standard part of my job/my boss asked, a peer or colleagues asked me, I did it spontaneously, or it was important and I found time. In 2013, respondents said 52% of their activities were standard, 18% requested by a peer , 24% independent but important, and 3% independent and spontaneous. In 2020, we are still spending half our time on standard activities, but we are doing only 8% because a colleague asked, and a full 35% because we thought the activity was critical.  Both these differences were statistically significant. Spontaneity rose to 6% but this difference was not statistically significant.

What’s going on here?  It seems we have been taking more direct charge of our time during lockdown. Working from home gives us a bit of breathing space: We don’t have colleagues or bosses badgering us, and we don’t get drawn into meetings by force of habit, just because we happen to be around. The result is a reassuring increase in us making time for work that matters most to us.

Concerns and Challenges

Working in lockdown has helped us to focus and to take responsibility. But that’s not the whole story. Follow-up interviews revealed some of the areas of concern that we as individuals — and as leaders of others — need to understand.

Some respondents cited the potential for shirking: “I am worried there is some slackening of effort. People are starting to get a bit too comfortable working from home,” said one. In our view, this is not a huge problem: There are many ways of informally monitoring how much time your colleagues are putting in via Outlook, Slack and other tools, and we should really be evaluating knowledge workers on their outputs not their inputs anyway.

The bigger areas of concern were around the things people couldn’t do well in a virtual environment. Take managing across first: It’s not so hard for an existing working group to stay on course when working remotely, but the challenges of getting started on something new (the forming/storming stages of team development) or resolving internal conflicts are enormous. Of course, these activities can be done over Zoom – just not as well. Few people are energized by informal online get-togethers. As one person said, “We are slowly losing the social glue that holds us together.”

Managing up and down are no less tricky under lockdown. Most respondents had instituted regular one-on-one catch-ups with their teams and bosses, but they usually focused on immediate task and personal well-being issues, rather than longer-term development. They missed the opportunity to bottom out difficult issues: “You cannot challenge a person quite so well over Zoom. You tend to hold back,” said one. They also lamented the loss of growth opportunities for their teams: “I used to throw people into new assignments, where they learned on the job, watching and learning from experienced colleagues. That’s almost impossible to do in a virtual setting.”

Finally, some people worried about their own development. While time spent on self-education went up during lockdown, this was mostly due to online webinar and course attendance — which helps build knowledge but doesn’t encourage the active experimentation and personal reflection that help us really grow.

For many of us, the new socially distanced mode of working may continue for some time.  The good news for knowledge workers from the first phase of this experiment is that lockdown has helped us better manage and prioritize our schedules to favor the most value-added work. The challenge — as we move into the next phase where some face-to-face meetings are allowed — will be to bring back the informal and social elements of office life that are so vital to organizational and individual success.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200710-the-remote-work-experiment-that-made-staff-more-productive
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/study-working-from-home-means-more-time-on-computers-but-workers-arent-more-productive/
https://hbr.org/2020/08/research-knowledge-workers-are-more-productive-from-home?ab=hero-main-text