How often do you consider the feelings of your team when you make a company-wide decision? How your team feels matters. Here’s why.
As organizations begin their back to work programs, many have provided surveys to get a sense of where their teams are at. While we are huge advocates of listening your people, it can do more damage if you hear them, but don’t actually do anything about what they ask for.
Let’s start with a little story.
Company A and Company B both want return to office programs in place. In both cases, the following is true:
- Ideally, they’d prefer if everyone comes back 5 days a week
- The staff have been working remotely since March 2020 with little disruption to revenue streams
- Both have conducted surveys in which most of their staff want to remain 80-100% remote
- Both are aware that not maintaining WFH options has consequences
Company A sends employees back to the office and continues business as usual with little to no support or consideration of their team’s feelings.
Company B, however, considers all of the following, starting with these simple steps that we believe are vital to a strong employee experience, strategic for higher retention rates, and important because they are the right thing to do.
These steps are:
- Asking your team what they need
- Doing what you can to support those needs
To go into more detail:
- If you are going to ask your teams what they want, you have to be prepared to move, even a little bit, in their direction
- Asking your teams what they want, them telling you, and then going into the completely opposite direction will breed resentment and eventually, create a mass exit
- If you are going to require employees to return back to the office 100% of the time, you need to know exactly why
- For example, overall job performance went down
- If you are going to take the time to do a survey, go beyond just work from home, dig deeper
- Caring about your employees means caring about them as a whole. Consider these factors:
- What has changed in the last year for them
- What needs do they have now that they may not have had 2 years ago
- What is most important for them in their jobs
- When they think about total compensation, what do they prioritise
- How have they (and their loved ones) faired this past year
- Are they ok
- What do they need from you beyond a job and salary
Taking these aspects into account when discussing any kind of change in the workplace is vitally important, particularly after the difficult times we’ve experienced in recent years.
In addition to these, here are a few other areas employers can focus on to ensure they’re fully supporting their teams, especially now.
- Lead by example
If you are asking your teams to come into the office more, the management and leadership teams should also be there. Asking something of your teams that you are not prepared to do yourself sets the wrong tone.
If the goal, as many have found, is increased collaboration, ensure that leadership is part of that collaborative work.
If you want your teams to feel safe to share, leadership must also be willing to share how they are feeling.
- Recognise your teams in meaningful ways
If your teams are still with you post COVID, it’s time to recognise them for staying – we can promise you there are a LOT of opportunities for employees to leave right now.
Start simple and small with genuine moments of gratitude. Thank them for their efforts, their time, their energy. Notice their work and ensure they feel seen (for example, appreciating the last social post they did and acknowledging them nailing the call to action).
- Recognize that your teams are more than just your employees
Know about their important moments outside of work and give them space and time to properly celebrate their own moments. Weddings, birthdays, vacations – let your teams know that you recognise their worlds outside of their titles and that you respect their right to enjoy those moments without burden.
Now that you’ve been presented with all of the careful considerations of company B, ask yourself which company would you (i.e. your employees) rather work for?
We strongly believe that companies can only thrive when caring for their teams as individuals. Which is why we are happy to assist companies with all of their HR needs!
Whether it’s a formal employee recognition program, a customised employee survey, or some leadership coaching, the HR team at Career Contacts is here to listen, and take action alongside you.
For questions about our HR support, email us at HR@careercontacts.ca or call us at 604-606-1831