Top leader and employee concerns
By Angelina Dass
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically, almost shockingly, forced organisations to review and rethink how physical offices complement and serve the work they do. As businesses scramble to make sense of the current way of working, they should also assess what is being done in the present to adapt to Covid-19 and to determine what works and what does not. How many of us have raced ahead with ‘band-aid’ measures in an attempt to adapt quickly and seamlessly, only to retrospectively look back and consider how effective those measures truly were?
If you are nodding your head in agreement, let us remind you to pause with purpose and do the necessary. As part of this assessment, we believe the employee voice and the impact leadership has on them will largely indicate the effectiveness of current ways of working and heavily influence the strategy towards a new way forward.
Can the employee voice be the compass to change?
We believe employees remain the single most important factor to navigating the uncertainty Covid-19 brings about. Listening to what they say and perhaps more importantly, what they do not say, will form the foundation of the organisation’s strategic changes for the future.
Faced with a variety of struggles, like noisy environments, inappropriate workspace and technology; or a sense of isolation, we find that an employee’s sense of purpose and belonging can be compromised in a work-from-home situation. Coupled with the blurring of the personal and professional self, employees can find themselves spiralling out of control in unfamiliar situations.
Taking deliberate steps to suss out staff’s levels of motivation, engagement and proactiveness may give an indication of current staff morale and will help shape new ideas targeted at strengthening it. Problem solving and ideation opportunities to resolve the very issues they contend with is also another option to engage and empower staff.
It has long been said an organisation’s greatest asset is its people. And now more than ever, we believe it is crucial to step into their shoes, understand what works from their point of view and let their voice chart the new way forward.
How does a leader’s management style impact the employee?
Employee concerns alone do not shape the way forward. Leaders too have to critically analyse their management styles to identify challenges and opportunities to capitalise on. An in-depth look at their decision making processes, communication and engagement styles and preferred organisational structure are crucial to determining what needs to change.
Consider the following but not exhaustive factors in analysing the above:
How can a leader support his staff better?
Examine the workflow processes, internal communication strategies, wellness initiatives and managerial hierarchy in place. Are these facilitating and supporting employees in the work they do or do they cause unnecessary hindrances?
How regularly and effectively is leadership communicating with the rest of the company?
Regular and meaningful communication with employees ensures leadership is aware of the happenings and grievances on the ground, but this does not stop at the CEO alone. Scheduled one-to-one catch up sessions, communications tools like surveys should be used by management at all levels including senior and middle management to be aware of the pulse of the company?
How can I empower my staff to remain motivated and motivate others?
A look at delegation and empowerment of middle management and staff is a crucial way to ensure effectiveness of leadership. It may be a time to reconsider flattening hierarchies so collaboration, initiative and co-creation can happen across all levels of the organisation to give employees a sense of purpose and with that, motivation.
Marrying employee’s and leader’s perspectives
We believe finding the sweet spot where employees’ and leaders’ perspectives and learnings collide is where the testing and roll out of specific strategies can begin. Where is and how do you arrive at this optimal destination to begin moving forward?
In our third and final part of this series, we propose a three-phase approach to get your organisation where you intend it to be – post Covid-19.