Workplace leaders… have you noticed that it’s difficult to keep employees on track lately?
The pandemic is a large, overarching reason for the phenomenon of workplace organizational challenges. Vacillating between working from home and working in the office, and the inconsistency of staff split between working from home and in the office, leads to people not knowing which direction to turn. It’s very easy and understandable to lose focus and organization when the world -- and the workplace -- is different than it ever was before.
So, how will you steer your staff back to “normalcy,” keep them on track, boost morale, and encourage meeting goals?
Address the issues head-on
Whether in speaking with employees individually, as a group, or both, don’t beat around the bush. Acknowledge the issues that are a direct result of the pandemic, the issues that are born from your actions and lack of organization, and the issues that are the results of lack of employee focus and productivity. Take responsibility for your part, as well as how employee issues might not be the faults of employees but are now their responsibilities to fix -- and note that you believe in their collective ability to fix them. Do your best to not call out any one employee in front of a group; rather, if there is an individual issue that must be addressed, address it with that employee privately. Wipe the slate clean and start over. The past is the past. It’s time to move forward.
Keep communication open, transparent, and understandable
This tenet seems basic; however, communication when transmitted via written text is not always as understandable as communication when spoken, either in-person or by phone or video call. If you do choose to communicate via email or by other written forms, be sure to write with as much detail and context as possible in order for everyone to understand the message conveyed. To do one better, meet with your staff in person (except, of course, for those meetings that really could be emails).
Find the balance between micromanaging and checking in regularly
Employees want to feel as though a degree of trust exists between them and their respective bosses. While they look for guidance, there is a distinct difference between leadership and looking over shoulders. It is important for you to stay involved and in touch with employees, without giving them the feeling that they are being micromanaged. That balance might prove difficult to find, and you are likely to make mistakes in finding it -- that’s okay. Make yourself approachable and allow for employees to provide feedback to you. You want employees to know that you’re keeping up with their work, but you must allow them to voice when they feel as though they are kept under a metaphorical microscope.
Reward positive results
Of course, “rewards” cannot possibly be provided for every single sale, every new client or account, or every stretch of consecutive days on a job without an accident. However, rewards within reason are sensible initiatives. Buy lunch for the team once a certain sales benchmark is reached. Take employees out for dinner, once everyone feels safe to do so, to simply thank them for their dedication and consistency. Simple compliments, acknowledgements, and thanks go a long way. Employees will want to work hard to get back on track when their hard work is validated. If you ask employees for specific changes and improvements, make certain to point out once you notice that those changes are made.
The themes throughout each suggestion here include transparency, consistency, responsibility, organization, communication, and acknowledgement. You must do your part, and your team must do their part to be accountable to both you and to each other. If everyone involved feels as though a clear direction and plan exists, with acknowledgement of changes made, everyone has the ability to get back on track together.