It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it!
Every single person in New Zealand has had to deal with unprecedented and unexpected change. This will continue for the foreseeable future.
While we have been working together as a team of 5 million, every individual’s experience has been unique. Some have coped well in this ever-changing environment and become masters of sourdough bread – however this is not the reality for most.
Almost everyone we deal with has suffered some difficulty, whether it be the challenges of home-schooling, stress from the loss of routine, job losses or relationship difficulties. This will be the same within your team.
As employers, the challenges will continue, as we seek to manage through a global recession and pivot or improve to ensure your business survives. Now, more than ever before, it is critical you have high performing, connected and engaged teams who can operate productively in a changing environment.
Because of this it is essential to relook at your engagement strategies and ensure that you are implementing the right things for these times. This is a unique period, and we must use unique and well thought out techniques, which recognise the difficulties our teams face.
What your people need now is a deep focus on their personal wellbeing, to be heard and cared for, and to feel connected to you and your business.
Easier said than done we know. However its often the simple things which will matter most right now:
- Regular one on one’s – Traditionally one on one discussions have been focused on performance and held infrequently. To make sure you know and understand the ups and downs your team may be facing we recommend scheduling in short, frequent individual discussions. Changing the focus of this will also be key – try starting with asking “how are you going?” and then move onto work topics.
- Listening deeply – Now is the time to focus strongly on understanding your team, encouraging openness, and actively recognising when someone needs help. Listening deeply will not only help you connect with your team, it’s often all someone needs to feel better, to feel heard and to feel valued. How much do you talk in one on ones? It is time to assess that ratio and make sure you as a Manager are listening more than talking.
- Let your team know it’s OK to have “down” days – Every single person I know has had at least one day of Covid fatigue. They may be tired, have had something cancelled, or just feel worried. If your team understand that this is normal, and it’s OK to talk about it, then they will feel well supported and more likely to bounce back quickly. Developing a fun support framework for your team is also a good idea – and encourage teamwork and collaboration.
- Look out for signs of more serious mental health concerns – While it is normal to have “down” days from time to time, for some people it will become more serious than that. Watching for signs that any of your team members might need additional, professional support will be a great help to them and their family.
- Ensure you have 2-way communication channels in place – During the initial lockdown we all had to move at pace – getting safety measures in place, confirming pay arrangements etc. This meant a lot of business communication. Now that we have moved through this period it is time to assess your communication channels and double check that your team not only receive the information, but that the way you have communicated has resulted in them understanding your message. Can they ask questions? How do they give you feedback on what is happening? Implementing some two-way channels will ensure your future communication is more effective and allow it to be tailored more accurately for your team’s needs.
- Implement small regular Pulse Surveys – Your team’s priorities and motivators will have changed during this period, and they will continue to change as we face further Covid challenges. Moving from engagement surveys to quick regular check ins via a Pulse Survey will help you keep pace with where your team is at and make sure you have your support and priorities right for your team
- Take time to have a laugh – They say laughter is the best medicine, and often this is all people need to have their mood lightened and feel better about their day. Encourage a bit of fun amongst your team and join in! Your team will feel a far greater connection to you and your business if they see you right alongside them sharing in their experiences.
Most of all, at the moment, your team probably just need your time and patience. Now is a time where you can strengthen your culture, gain long term commitment to your brand, and build solid team connections.
Make the most of the opportunity. A strong team connection will mean strong business results!
Positive People have over 25 years’ experience helping businesses implement the right people solutions for their teams. Contact us now to discuss a Pulse Survey, or for any HR support you need.