HOW HAVE YOUR TEAM PERFORMED UNDER PRESSURE THIS YEAR?
As we reach the end of this turbulent year – it is a good time to reflect – what has worked well and what would you like to improve in 2021?
We’re all heading into the Christmas festivities hoping to relax a little, even if we can’t get to our favourite entertainment venues. To make sure you AND your team can switch off completely from the emails, social media and other work distractions take time out before Christmas, get a date in the diary with the whole team, and create an environment conducive to reflect on the trials and tribulations of 2020. What’s worked, what hasn’t and how you can launch into the New Year with a refreshed outlook and renewed energy and drive.
With all the changes and challenges presented by the pandemic you and your team may be feeling relieved to have made it to this point. The new norms of working from home were abruptly thrown at us in March, leaving business owners scrambling into action to “pivot” their operating models, get staff up and running from whatever space was available to them in their homes – with technology issues that invariably arise when moving desks, let alone moving to a virtual office environment, adding to the stress and pressure for the employees too.
As a business owner you’re possibly taking stock of the financial fallout this may have inflicted on your operating reserves or debt situation. This may be weighing heavily on your shoulders, leaving you worrying how long it’s going to take to get your finances back to pre-Covid conditions.
My initial advice to business owners, when the first lockdown was imposed, provided solutions to normalise your staff’s new working conditions. The focus was to optimize efficiencies under extremely difficult conditions. Fundamentally they’re all relevant management tools worth introducing whether working remotely or not.
A. Reassure the team, or at least be honest
Setting up regular communications and opportunities to review progress frequently, including keeping your staff updated with the facts
B. Getting priorities in order
Focus on the critical marketing and revenue generating activities, making your processes leaner (I’ll refer back to this later in the blog).
C. Find a common task management tool
This achieves a standardised tool, and maximise synchronized communications across the team, reducing the background “noise” of managing multiple chats.
D. Establish a Daily Routine
A clearly communicated routine will give everyone a clear focus, and sense of purpose which, if reviewed regularly, should improve their connectivity, productivity and motivation.
E. Encouraging regular breaks
Even when working from home, make sure the team take regular breaks away from their computer screens to rest the eyes, and refresh the mind.
F. Consider parental responsibilities
Parents working at home may really appreciate some flexibility and redistribution of the work load and activities, as many employees battled with home learning with young children.
Check out the Six Lockdown Survival Guidelines for SME’s to read more about applying these in your own business.
BOOSTING EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE WITH GREATER ENGAGEMENT
Since that first lockdown, the real impact of working from home manifesting in both positives and negatives has changed the working landscape irrevocably. Since the country went back into a second national lockdown and many businesses returned to (or continued with) remote working you may have really begun to feel the longer term impacts, and the more intangible costs to your business, which I discussed in some depth in The Covid Productivity Tax. The longer term effects on team morale really took its toll resulting in low staff engagement.
So as we near the end of this rather traumatic year, I’d like to offer some further reflections from the Alluxi toolbox, with a roundup of what to focus on in your own year-end review. Eliminate the negative, consolidate and embed the positive in new behaviours – and with your team, create your blueprint for success into 2021.
From a tactical perspective, in leading staff through the seismic changes they’ve had to endure, my blog series the Top 5 Lockdown challenges & How to turn them into opportunities presented a suite of survey tools you can use to overcome the key challenges many business leaders have battled with employee engagement.
The Alluxi Working from Home & Winning Analysis
– designed to understand how your team is adapting to working from home and what, if any, adjustments are needed to help employees stay connected and productive
The Alluxi Leadership Perception Gap Evaluation
– to bridge the differences between leaders and employers perceptions of their leaders effectiveness
The Alluxi Emerging Stronger Analysis
– to consolidate and reap the benefits from any new opportunities, innovations and processes the team has developed, to make the organisation more effective
The Alluxi Kickstarting Innovation Analysis
– to engage your employees in a new and positive way, creating a structure and framework for advancing the ideas that power future growth.
To really get the juices flowing when reflecting on opportunities to improve, it’s imperative your team are tuned into your business objectives. Make sure they all have a full understanding of how their role contributes to your business goals. Make sure they’re fully committed AND motivated, to work as a team.
If they’re not engaged, your culture becomes fragmented and dysfunctional, costing you time and money. As an Engagement Multiplier™ Partner, Alluxi can give you access to a powerful suite of surveys. I can provide in-depth analysis and direction, to pinpoint where there may be dis-engagement in your business, and bring solutions to rectify it.
The first benchmark assessment survey is completely free, easy to set up and provides an in-depth report to build future initiatives to re-engage your team. Staff engagement is the first step in moving forward for success.
POWERING UP PRODUCTIVITY: BACK TO BASICS
Undoubtedly your operating models would have been thrown into disarray with staff relocating to home working, and business owners having to re-design the pieces of the jigsaw ensuring the customer experience, quality of work and internal standards were not compromised.
You might feel like you’re still limping along in a very fragile & precarious state, not really sure what horrors are bubbling under the surface, having had no time to really stress-test the robustness of your “new norms”.
To power up your productivity, I strongly recommend getting your team round the virtual table, and get back to basics – reviewing the processes, work flows and procedures in the business. The principles of LEAN provide a perfect framework to guide you through this review, and are described in detail in my series of blogs Get Lean After Lockdown.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
On a personal level, on reflection of the experiences many of my clients have been through this year, I have come through the pandemic with some renewed perspectives. I feel this experience has made many business owners recognise that operating reserves is critical to mitigate against the unforeseeable. Just because interest rates are low, doesn’t mean it’s not worth keeping at least 3-6 months of operating costs tucked away for these world calamities. Alluxi’s year end was literally within a week of the first lockdown, and we had to take the hard decision to leave a good percentage of the previous year’s hard earned profits in the business, to ensure we could meet our financial commitments.
I have taken the opportunity, whilst I’ve been rather more time rich than I would have liked, to take a fundamental look at the Alluxi product offerings, and marketing approach. This has resulted in evolving my services into exciting new packages, bringing greater value to my clients, that I’ll be launching next year. I’ll also be offering a series of taster workshops starting in January 2021. So for Alluxi, I’m relieved to say, there is very much a silver lining beginning to shine behind the dark clouds of 2020.
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