Establish the culture you believe in (Part 2)
Every interaction an employee has on the job affects his or her overall perception of their work, whether through an email, a phone call, during a team meeting, reading a procedure or attempting to fill out a form. In the 2020 Global Culture Report, 92% of employees describe their employee experience as their “every day” experience. Moreover, only 42% of employees would rate their employee experience as positive or extremely positive. So, how can you, the business owner, help form a positive culture that results in multiple positive micro-experiences for your employees, especially when they are now working remotely?
Have thoughtful communication policies, procedures, and activities that demonstrate respect for your employees and the customers your employees serve. It’s really common for business owners to get stretched to the hilt. And when that happens, sometimes people act like people: they lose focus on what’s really important, they look inward instead of outward, or they simply get in too big of a hurry to see how their actions are affecting those around them. In cases like these, having simple communication practices as a normal part of the work routine can be critical. When your team “goes remote”, this can be especially taxing as the old adage, out of sight - out of mind, can easily catch a business owner or leader unaware that something is going on that needs their attention. Simple things a business owner/leader can do to walk-the-talk include:
** Morning “roll call” - this may sound silly but when you are asking folks to work remotely, it is super important to keep everyone connected, especially if they once worked side-by-side in the office and are now working via collaborative tools. By asking everyone to “chat in” when they “log in” to work, a sense of community builds. You may want to encourage everyone to offer one or two sentences detailing their daily plan, or maybe highlighting a major “win”. The key is to help the team remain engaged with each other when they aren’t able to see their coworkers.
** Daily or weekly all company stand up meetings where everyone reports the status of their projects, any roadblocks they are facing and whether they need help to resolve a problem. This is an amazingly powerful tool as long as there are certain rules of fair play that everyone has accepted. Those rules could include setting time limits for how long any one person gets to chat, a rotational process when large teams gather so that a subset of the team speaks on one day, a different subset the next, etc. We are happy to provide you a list of suggested stand up meeting rules if you let us know you’re interested.
** Require FOCUS - How often have you observed a leader who is attending a virtual meeting and then sends emails on completely unrelated topics while the meeting is underway? Business owners/leaders often claim to be able to multi-task but as Karen Martin, of The Karen Martin Group, can tell you, it’s impossible (https://tkmg.com/allure-and-myth-of-multitasking/). Best practice is to set the expectation that folks focus on the discussion at hand. But first, you have to establish some standards (okay, wanted to say rules but really, rules get sorta boring after a while) for best practices of interaction during meetings. More on this in our future post, Equipping your Employees.
What other activities have you used to demonstrate clear communication protocols for your employees when working remotely? Let us know if any of these ideas helped and what other information you’d like by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.