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Agility and Adaptability for Success
Adapting to the needs of your employees
“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better” – Sydney J. Harris
As a company, in order to succeed in a world of continuous change, being agile is crucial. There are many drivers for change and agility, but our top three now are technology, the pandemic, and generational changes. Technology advances rapidly and constantly requires new skills. The pandemic has revealed to companies that working from home is in fact possible, and many people like it. Generation “me” wants organizations to adapt to their needs rather than being forced to fit into an organization’s box. So, what does it mean to be agile? It means embracing and adapting quickly to change. Recognize the change that’s happening, figure out what needs to be done about it, and implement solutions quickly.
Communication is key
Talking to employees one on one, regular check-ins, and employee engagement surveys can all reveal issues that need to be addressed. Employees who are left unheard will end up unmotivated, unproductive, and ultimately with another company. To understand what your employees need, you have to talk to them!
Managers, especially those experiencing high employee turnover and concerns, should listen more than they talk. Look at issues from the outside – the employee’s perspective. Managers should be sure they are listening with an open mind and accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly within the company. Be willing to follow through on necessary changes to keep employees. Trust is gained with actions and changes in the workplace for the better, not just words and empty promises.
Talking with employees is a good start, but what you do with that information can make or break a situation. Don’t let employees’ needs fall on deaf ears, get to work on finding solutions. Every employee is in a different boat and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That is why it is important to talk to each employee individually to evaluate how you can meet their needs. You have to be open-minded and flexible and consider solutions that initially might not seem ideal.
A perfect example came out of the pandemic when everyone was abruptly forced to work remotely. This was great for some – more time with family, no long commutes, increased productivity; but wasn’t so great for others – feeling isolated, not having a good working environment, decreased productivity. Forcing all employees to remain 100% remote or to come back in the office full-time resulted in many unhappy workers and lots of turnover. Being flexible and providing the option for each employee to do what best suits their needs is the better solution.
There is always the question of “how productive are my employees really being at home?” If managers can’t see their employees working, then they often question whether they really are. Don’t assume your employees aren’t being productive at home. Instead of making assumptions, turn to the hard data. Create a system to measure productivity of employees and don’t limit your sample only to those who work remotely – because that’s just not fair.
Another example is rapid changes in technology and the digital world where employees’ skills can quickly become obsolete. Help employees develop their skillsets by investing in their training and development. Instead of looking for new employees outside of the organization to fill gaps, develop the skills of trusted employees within your company first. If your existing employees can improve their skills and grow within your organization, they will be less likely to look for outside opportunities to advance their career.
Equity issues have also come up, particularly in hybrid situations, where some workers who might be better off working from home are struggling because they are lacking the physical setup in order to be fully productive. This is often a result of companies not investing in a home setup the way they would an office setup. Don’t leave your remote employees to cobble something together on their own or force them back into the office to use certain technologies that could easily be setup at home. Check-in with your employees and make sure they have everything they need and invest in your remote employees’ setup the same way you invest in your in-office employees’ setup.
Times have changed and the companies coming out on top are the ones that embrace effective communication and agility within their organizations.
Do you find it difficult to understand what your employees need? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with our custom employee surveys.