As COVID-19 restrictions ease, leaders are inviting people back to the workplace. And, not everyone is ready or eager. What we’re hearing is a mixed bag of emotions, with some people excited to go back to their traditional office, others who want to remain virtual and many looking for a hybrid between both.
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We asked Adriana C. Cabré, VP of Human Resources for Crinetics Pharmaceuticals to talk about ways leaders can approach the return to the workplace that is a win for the company and their employees. She recommends that leaders offer options for returning, while being mindful of co-creating a path to productivity. The winning formula includes being flexible, providing your employees with resources that build their confidence during this uneasy time, all while giving them what they need to meet their business goals. Here are six questions to ask yourself and your team:
- How can we reinvent our business while simultaneously taking care of our employees?
Get your team together and talk about getting over the disruptions and brainstorm ideas about what opportunities are available to you now. List what’s possible on the business side, as well as understanding the human side. This gives you and your team a clear idea of where to put your focus and efforts.
2.What resources do I need to confidently lead my team?
You hear this on every commercial flight – put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help those around you who are in need. As a leader, you’re only as good as your mental health. Are you taking the time to reflect, ask for feedback or advice? Are you connecting with peers, co-workers and family members who you trust and will call you out when necessary? Don’t forget to invest in you, in order to bring your best as you lead others through these head spinning times.
3.How am I leading people to innovate?
Now is the time to question every workplace process and protocol, then determine whether to improve and/or kill it. Especially target “this is how we’ve always done it” programs, thinking and habits. Ask your team and your employees for their ideas on how to restructure how people work. Challenge the core concepts of your business, ask what can be re-imagined. Recognize and reward innovation.
4. Consider each of your employees who are being asked to return to the workplace – ask them what is an ideal path?
There are workers who cannot come back to the office until the virus threat is over. Identify ways to redistribute workloads and projects for those who can be onsite. Get strategic about balancing the needs of your company alongside the needs of your employees.
5.How are we measuring productivity?
In the world of working from home, monitoring when a person logs on, how many meetings they attend, how many dials they make, etc, are not always true indicators of productivity. How can you and your team rethink the way you measure and reward productivity so that people are inspired to achieve results?
6. How can you improve the way you communicate with your team and your employees?
Providing important and relevant information on a consistent basis wins you loyalty. Let your leadership team know when the company is considering changes and tell them that they will be the first to know when a decision is made. Transparent and timely communications will capture hearts, minds and extra effort, which is the ultimate win for your bottom line.
Now is the time to double down on the people side of business. Discussing these 6 questions with your team will pay off in spades by building confidence, creating psychological safety and increasing loyalty as you invite employees back to the workplace!