The global health crisis has been a calamity of tragedy and misfortune for individuals and organisations alike. However, its impact is relatively more on organisations, as it puts an additional burden on Leaders and HR Partners to show competence and lead from the front in the face of adversity. HR partners and organisational leaders have been forced to unlearn the ’old’ manual of leadership and relearn and adapt to newer styles while dealing with their employees as an aftermath of the pandemic. In the long run, leaders who can inspire trust, take advantage of the present opportunities, work around threats, and channel individual, group, and organisational growth will be the ones who can provide organisational flexibility and future stability. However, in the interim, leaders who possess the right skills in terms of employee motivation and communication can play a significant role in fixing the organisational ship more than ever!
While organisations have undergone a paradigm shift in the last year, one thing that has remained constant are the qualities that a leader should embody: Integrity and Character, Receptivity, Empathy, and Communication. While most leaders are known to demonstrate such virtues in an in-person setting, they must be extra mindful of the altered or changed reality that we are presently in and adapt to it. With empathy being the top-most value, that leaders must demonstrate while managing their workforce. Alongside, leaders must build interpersonal relationships with team members and gain their trust. All of which will help an organisational leader rekindle enthusiasm among its distanced workforce and foster kinship among them.
The current ‘distanced’ times that we live in, communications and the ability to communicate effectively are the keys to an organisation’s success. And a leader who communicates clearly and transparently builds ‘trust’ among its workforce. Additionally, empathising with employees and acknowledging their hardships allows a workforce to communicate openly with their leader and build resilience against the challenges they face. Furthermore, managers must reach out to their team members on an individual or a team level to bring consensus and discuss ways to achieve organisational goals during these trying times. Lastly, leaders must be aware of the long-term impact of distanced working on an employee’s mental health and must offer any help possible.
Tips to engage employees during WFH
While we have spoken about leadership in this article, a vital element of a successful organisation is its engaged and productive workforce. The events of last year’s events have undoubtedly disrupted an organisation’s culture and brought a significant change in which businesses used to operate. With remote working having completely replaced in-person working. While this revised working methodology has its benefits, there have been numerous complaints of fatigue and loneliness reported by employees to senior management. Hence organisational leaders must take note and develop engagement strategies to help employees deal with the stress brought in the absence of in-person working experience. Overall, here are three helpful tips that companies can utilise to manage and engage their workforce: -
- Virtual Game Nights: As the proverb goes’ All work and no play makes jack a dull boy’. Likewise, companies could utilise the power of video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom & Skype apart from work, by hosting virtual game sessions on a periodic basis. Wherein employees could play select ‘team’ games such as Pictionary, Tambola, Housie, etc with their team-mates. By organising such events, companies can provide their overworked employees a break from the regular monotony. Plus, the ability to see known faces on video all together would create an environment of happiness and strengthen their overall bonding.
- L&D Opportunities: As per a LinkedIn report, 94% of employees have suggested they would continue working at their organisation if they are provided skill-based learning opportunities at work. Hence, companies must focus on talent-upgrading their staff to meet the new needs and revised role requirements with the pandemic to reduce operational roles. By investing in the L&D needs of their employees, companies would be not only able to engage them but also be able to retain them.
- Let’s Talk: Companies could organise virtual meet and greet sessions with employees to talk about all things apart from work and offload their mental and emotional stress. By holding such coffee sessions, organisations could connect with employees and forge a bond of cohesiveness in tough times.
- Communicate efficiently: With their willingness to adapt, leaders must be proactive in their endeavours and they should deeply care about how people around them are doing. They must create a safe environment where people feel a sense of belonging and stay hopeful about the future. It is necessary to speak with someone who can bring new perspectives.
To summarise, the last 14-15 months have completely rewritten the rules of business and people management completely. With companies increasingly adopting remote working permanently, WFH is no longer just a renaissance in modern-day history. Hence, organisational leaders and companies must develop a solid and empathetic leadership that can not only adjust to the current circumstances and ride the wave in the post-pandemic world.