Chris Eigeland co-founded Go1 and is its Chief Revenue Officer. He is responsible for global revenue attainment, including sales function management, and maintaining relationships with partners and affiliates. Chris obtained a degree in Law and International Relations from Griffith University, and has worked extensively in international relations and law, representing Australia at the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, as a National Commissioner for UNESCO, and working in constitutional law in the UK and South Africa. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Eigeland points out key strategies for performance enablement and elevating the employee experience as businesses continue to operate with a distributed workforce.
As the workspace becomes increasingly digital, what are the key challenges when it comes to driving productivity among your employees?
Communication flow has always been challenging - those conversations when everyone gets together at the office, or as you walk past someone’s desk … sometimes these serendipitous moments can drive immense collaboration and innovation. But as our office has shifted to Slack, Zoom, Teams and email, there is real risk of the communication burden growing exponentially.
A record number of Slack messages and emails are flying around on a daily basis and it’s often hard to decipher important content. We’ll need to adapt our communication style and processes to be precise and targeted to make sure the right information gets in front of the right people at the right time, without needing to trawl through endless company announcements.
What must leaders do to implement a more transparent and empathetic performance management system when operating with a distributed workforce?
Operating a distributed workforce, where interactions are mostly virtual and limited to time-boxed discussions, can expose the organisation to amplified cognitive biases - that one dimensional view of your colleague you receive over Zoom leaves even less room for understanding where your assumptions may be incorrect. Values-driven performance management will become even more important - forcing time-poor managers to pause and consider the drivers behind behaviours vs just the behaviour itself. This isn’t an easy thing to do and requires not only a clear values framework, but a practical, scalable understanding of what behaviours align with that framework.
In the new world of work, performance management has started to take on new dimensions, one of them being performance enablement. What can leaders do to level up the potential of their workforce?
When considering ‘performance enablement’ or the structures to better support and grow your team, there are two principles I try to live by (although not always succeeding!). The first is that to be able to grow your people, you also need to grow yourself.
And the second is an acknowledgement that continuous learning cycles occur everyday whether we see it or not, and it’s our role to facilitate the most effective learning cycles possible, both in structured ways through formal learning opportunities, and bringing the right team members together at the right time to learn from each other.
How this plays out on a daily basis is by first reflecting on my own learning journey with the team (even if it’s something entirely unrelated to work like lawn care), and then providing an environment for others in the organisation to build and share their own learning journeys.
Building the right work culture is becoming more important than ever before. In line with that, what are some of the key strategies that can help increase job satisfaction among the workforce and improve the overall employee experience?
Three strategies emerge as important:
- A clear focus on developing your team- With the workforce moving at the speed it is, and transformation occurring in both the nature of work, and many industries, it is fundamental to have a culture and strategy for developing your team. This is both because it’s expected in the modern workforce, but also drives faster business outcomes.
- Lead with values- It’s not only important to have the values that drive your decision making, but to lead with them. Explain why decisions were made based on the value-set that drives the organisation, and when you don’t live up to them (which you won’t), acknowledge it. Being part of an authentic workplace is core to job satisfaction, particularly in a remote environment where people can more easily feel more disconnected.
- Flexibility is key- With an increasing focus on output vs location or structure, providing flexibility and supporting employees personal and family priorities will become increasingly important. This isn’t compromising on effectiveness or efficiency, but building the empowerment environment to deliver what’s needed - in flexible hours or locations.
With companies increasing their investments in the digital transformation of the workplace, what are your thoughts on retaining human connection in an increasingly digital/remote/hybrid workplace?
Human connectivity will be increasingly built via a mix of digital and physical interactions, and the starting point is making a clear decision on the model your organisation is going to adopt. Fully remote, fully hybrid or fully in-person can all work - as long as the framework is clear. Some of the specific strategies and topics will need to include upgrading digital tools as if it was your physical office, and not letting them stagnate and become weighed down with legacy communications and structures. Our tooling - video, messaging, learning, task management, and general workflows - will continue to unify into our normal workflows. The other important topic will be the approach to physical environments - a shift to ‘offsite spaces’ and ‘co-working environments’ to enable enough face-to-face connection to build relationships and empathy.
Given the recent COVID surges across the globe, what is one advice that you would like to share with HR Leaders on keeping their teams motivated during turbulent and uncertain times?
It sounds simple but communicate openly. No one is expecting smooth sailing in the next 12 months of operating a business, in the midst of changing health, economic and geo-political conditions. The more open you can be around what challenges are being faced, and the path to overcoming them, the more people will understand and offer their support to do so. It’s going to be another rollercoaster year, and we should own that fact and use it to build trust within the organisation that we’ll overcome the obstacles together.