We’ve been at this for a while now, haven’t we? The New Year was only four months ago, but for over half that time the world has undergone a series of major adjustments in response to a largely unforeseeable pandemic, which makes those four months seem like a much longer stretch. Demonstrated each day is our ability to adapt and continue adapting, as new challenges appear, and as any sense of stability is compromised by unpredictable circumstances and our reactions to them.
Our society, across the board, is dealing with repercussions brought on directly by the present shutdown, while American business, specifically, is doing its best in responding intelligently to the crisis. In the United States, the concept of business is frequently associated with words like “agility”, “dynamism”, and “innovation”, and with good reason. Though not without its stagnant periods and other missteps, American industry has, from generation to generation, improved living standards for many, introduced remarkable products and now-essential technologies to the world, and has proven itself able to shift focus when necessary.
Now, more than ever, HR teams should be working with managers to maintain and even evolve their company cultures to ensure their employees not only stay engaged in their work, but also feel connected to those they work for and with.
Simple Steps to Growth Via Engagement
Encourage Communication with Consistent Check-Ins
Employee check-ins are crucial for reasons of maintaining accountability and rapport. The business sector is not an automated world wherein communication between co-workers is non-existent; such communication is necessary for a well-functioning system. One-on-ones and check-ins should happen routinely. They should be scheduled in a way that ensures your employees know they can count on hearing from you, and even from one another.
Foster a Culture of Continuous Feedback
It has almost certainly been frustrating for newly remote workers across the country: they submit an assignment or complete their portion of a large project, feeling uncertain as to how it was received. Good or bad, they need input from their peers and leaders. They need to know their work has been registered and come away with a clear understanding of how that work has been received. It’s easy to overlook, particularly when teams are fragmented and the task(s) in play are pressing. To keep employees from reaching mistaken conclusions about their productivity or effectiveness, be sure a clear feedback step is a part of your workflow/process.
Set Clear Objectives to Keep Your Team Aligned and Working Together
Completing any task to a solid standard is nearly always followed by a good feeling, one of having demonstrated a certain competency that merits a person’s position within a team. Even better are the feelings that come from knowing your work has been fed into a broader network of efforts to produce a significant result. As a leadership figure, you may have a bird’s eye view of the projects underway in your organization; this isn’t necessarily (or even likely) true of the people who comprise your workforce. When matching skillsets to tasks, make sure the employees in possession of those skillsets understand how their time spent on an assignment is connected to the others it is supporting.
Create a Culture of Growth Through Mentorship and Career Pathing
Business is paced a bit differently these days, but it hasn’t stopped entirely. Commerce continues, companies are keeping the wheels turning in anticipation of the economy “reopening”, and workers are still focused on their careers. Professional advancement and development through formal coaching should always be prioritized, even if the level of prioritization fluctuates at times. Your people have goals and are looking for opportunities to grow within the organization; they are also looking for guidance. As a mentor yourself, coach them along the way and help them chart a navigable career path.
Growth is always in play, as are the ambitions and needs of your employees. Through following the steps provided, you can wisely and steadily satisfy both. You might have the infrastructure in place to implement practices for each step, or perhaps you’re in the process of building that out. Wherever you are in the process, keep in mind that when your people develop a relationship around feedback and goals, they can grow and flourish for the long term.