The honeymoon is over.
That’s actually both a terrible and perfect way to describe where we are right now. The past six months haven’t felt anything like a honeymoon, but they may end up feeling that way in hindsight someday.
When everything changed in the spring, we buckled down and adapted because we had no choice. We dialed up safety precautions. We closed offices and sent people home.
And then the waiting game started. It’s only a matter of time before this is over, we thought.
We are still waiting. And it’s looking like the wait might not be over for a long while. While we wait, the strain of this new working world is starting to break us down.
Employees, who largely stepped up in the early days of work from home, are starting to feel the fatigue and strain. I spoke to an HR leader yesterday who said they’ve seen productivity start to fall and more people calling in sick than ever before.
The challenge of managing and engaging a remote and distributed team is not going away. It’s a reality we must not only face but embrace.
The good news is that the fundamentals are the same. The bad news is that we often weren’t great at the fundamentals before this happened.
If you want to take steps to ensure your employees stay engaged, here are the two actions to take now.
- Ask employees about their experiences (through surveys, focus groups, conversations, etc.), listen intently for what they need, and where there are gaps, fix them. We don’t need to guess about what employees need to feel more engaged—we can just ask them.
- Ensure manager/employee one-on-one meetings are happening with frequency. There is no more powerful tool for employee engagement than an effective one-on-one meeting. A great one-on-one is scheduled, frequent, and valuable for the employee. Put a focus on appreciation and coaching to maximize the value.
If you do nothing else, put your energy behind these two things. This journey is far from over. Stay focused and keep going. You matter.
Until next time,
P.S. What is the biggest challenge you are facing with managing remote employees? Hit reply right now and tell me about what you’ve found the most difficult.
If you want a condensed, useful article with some good advice for how to manage remote teams, here’s one I recommend. Lots of good advice in a small package. Read: 12 Tips For Managing a Remote Team (And Loving It).
This past week, the ADP Research Institute, which is in part led by Marcus Buckingham, released some new data on workplace resilience. The full report breaks down how they measured workplace resilience (including the 10 factors that their research suggests are drivers of it) and the key findings of this research. It’s a unique and interesting perspective on the topic with some surprising findings. Read: Workplace Resilience Study.
My advice lately has been to avoid jumping to any conclusions about what work is going to look like post-pandemic. We are apt to misinterpret signals and assume greater significance in some trends than they deserve. This brought to mind one of my favorite business books of all time, The Halo Effect. It will change how you think about business (and how you read business books) forever. Read: The Halo Effect.
What if we randomly selected who we promoted into management? That’s the question I was left pondering after listening to this recent episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast. It will challenge you to think differently about a few things. Proceed with caution. Listen now.
You know that interview question, “What three people, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with?” This month, I got to have a conversation on my webcast with one of the people who is on my list, Gary Hamel. It was a highlight moment of my career and he really delivered the goods in our conversation. Watch: My Conversation with Gary Hamel.
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