22 Jul Prioritizing Your People Pays Off
In our recent blog titled “Flexibility is the Future of Work,” we outlined the top 3 key considerations to factor as leaders define their organizational culture in the context of the new blended workspace. Those items were: 1. Your workplace still needs to foster community and belonging, 2. Prioritize autonomy, creativity and inclusivity, and 3. Don’t seek productivity at the expense of mental and physical health. Essentially the overarching takeaway is that success comes to organizations who prioritize the needs of their people above all else.
Essentially the overarching takeaway is that success comes to organizations who prioritize the needs of their people above all else.
With that being said, we’re going to lay out some of the immediate actions you can take to put your people first and set your entire organization for success. While the following tips are always a good rule of thumb, it’s more important now than ever to lead with empathy as we reimagine the traditional workplace.
1. Listen Before You Lead
If you’re like most leaders, you’re probably in the midst of figuring out a return to work plan. That likely centers around the question of how to incorporate remote working into your long-term structure. Before making any concrete decisions about your return to work plan, talk to your team. Listen to their points of view on the matter, and make sure they feel heard. Chances are, they can give you more perspective than you’d be able to have on your own. As a leader, your experience working remotely could be entirely different than theirs. Your idea of what a long-term solution looks like could be limited in scope, so take the time to consider the opinions of all parties involved.
Before making any concrete decisions about your return to work plan, talk to your team. Listen to their points of view on the matter, and make sure they feel heard.
Don’t just listen to the people, listen to the data. Based on the statistics that show increased productivity across the board, it’s highly likely that keeping some form of remote will be beneficial to your organization. But what does that look like? Many decision makers think they have to nail down a specific balance between time spent remote and on-site, but the truth is that there is no secret recipe. It varies on a case by case basis, across organizations, and more importantly, across individuals. What works for Tracey in accounting might not work for Juan in marketing. There are countless variables at play here, so try to be sensitive to your individual team members’ needs and desires.
2. Give your team freedom and flexibility, then readjust as needed
When it comes to putting your people first, giving them flexibility is a huge factor. Did you know that employees working at freedom-centric companies are typically 40% more engaged than the average U.S. employee? Instead of taking it upon yourself to lay down the law, see how well your employees do at self-regulating. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Give them the freedom to explore what they think is best for them, and assess the situation regularly to see if that freedom is generating positive results. Let them set their own schedule, choose how to get their work done, and decide how often they want to be on-site.
Did you know that employees working at freedom-centric companies are typically 40% more engaged than the average U.S. employee?
Of course, some people need more structure to be set for them, so you can adapt for those folks. Many other people thrive when given the space to do so. Free them from the confines of the traditional corporate box, and treat them like the unique individuals they are. Not only does this added autonomy make them feel trusted and respected, but it also makes them more accountable. Plus, it tends to lead to lower turnover rates, increased productivity, and improved overall employee satisfaction.
3. Renew your focus on mentorship and career development
While the goal here is to help your team members thrive in their career path, it’s an added bonus that when they thrive, you thrive. If all of your team members feel supported in their endeavor to succeed, they will bring more value to your organization. Mentoring can help employees reach their full potential, and when you are the one to provide it, they will return the favor with loyalty.
Prioritizing the professional development of your people nurtures them into becoming stronger assets, increases talent retention, boosts creativity, and benefits your bottom line.
After a year and a half of mass upheaval, people all across the board are more in need of guidance. If you can step up to the plate to give your employees the time and attention they need to achieve their professional goals, you will not only see rewards to your business, but to your own spirit. Prioritizing the professional development of your people nurtures them into becoming stronger assets, increases talent retention, boosts creativity, and benefits your bottom line.
When it comes to operating a successful business, your people are your bread and butter. When your employees are thriving, that’s apparent to your investors, clients/customers, and potential new talent. If you’re feeling a little lost on how to help your team return to work, you’re not alone. The truth is, a mere “33% of decision makers believe their organization has the necessary resources to successfully navigate a return to work”. It’s a bit like becoming a parent – very few people truly feel prepared, but deep down we all have what it takes. Let go of trying to have every little detail in order. Focus on the big picture in terms of what type of environment and structure enables your values to be lived, and set out the guard rails so your team has the ability to navigate within. Then, take it one step at a time, and prioritize the needs of your team every step of the way. If you still feel like you need a helping hand to navigate this process, schedule a free consultation with me today.