The COVID pandemic caused a transformational shift in the way we do business with many employees preferring to remain working from home.
It is proven, beyond question, a highly engaged team is great for business; customers love interacting with people who love their jobs and revenue loves a highly engaged team!
Delivering a 10/10 team experience is the secret to real revenue growth.
Knowing this and delivering on this however are two very different things, currently we are reading a lot about the resistance a high percentage of employees have to going back to the office, Monday to Friday, 9 – 5pm. For other team members however, they can’t wait to get back and work within a team environment.
EY surveyed 4,500 of its employees across Oceania. Almost half (48 per cent) want their homes to be a feature of the future office, with 44 per cent saying they want remote working to become the default.
My point is:
How do you know what level of engagement your team needs?
What do your employees want? And how can you deliver on what they really want? And How can you create a Win-Win scenario for your business and your team?
Pushing people back to the office, or making demands on your team, doesn’t work. The truth is, that type of behaviour creates high levels of team disengagement.
Checking in with your employees is critical, as is using a proven methodology like the Net Promoter Score to conduct confidential research, otherwise your guessing and NOT making decisions based on real information and what the majority of your team want.
I call this buttock research.
Remember EY surveyed 4,500 of its employees across Oceania. The knew exactly how their employees were feeling and what they wanted going forward, they researched their employees first before making decisions.
How do you accuately identify the level of engagement your employees need for 10 out of 10 performance, in a way that allows them to be completely truthful?
You must provide confidentiality!
To get the truth you must be able to guarantee confidentiality. Confidentiality provides the space for employees to speak freely, without fear of repercussion for speaking their truth.
People use a lot of online research to do team engagement but employees are concerned about providing honest feedback due to lack of reassurance of confidentiality, you have to have a system in place to protect peoples confidentiality.
Telephone or face to face interviews done by an independent party allow for a declaration that this conversation is confidential and can reassure employees that their feedback is carefully protected.
You must provide your employees with:
A private space to speak freely.
An understanding that there is no way of knowing which employee said what.
We know that employees rarely tell the truth if these two very important steps have not been taken.
Otherwise, what’s the point!
Without guaranteed confidentiality, people won’t speak up. They are fearful of rocking the boat or being seen as a trouble-maker or the only one in the team that feels a particular way.
When I speak to employees NOW about their workplace preference, I am present to the gold they provide – insights into business environments and work life balance that hasn’t necessarily been spoken about before and certainly not addressed.
Here are some of the reasons why a high percentage of employees would prefer to remain working at home rather than go back to the office, Monday to Friday, 9 – 5pm.
Don’t feel Micro-managed
Have been given the autonomy to work independently; they experience a new level of trust by management.
many of which in their opinion are a waste of time; for example, adhoc meetings etc
they achieve more working independently – they get to work at their own speed; it’s easier to focus – less or no interruptions.
Experience more work-life balance
they manage their own time when working to deadlines; overall flexibility; no wasted time commuting; I could now live anywhere; more time with family.
Don’t have to deal with the inhouse politics and game playing
Speaks for itself don’t you think!
But the concern here is, that most business don’t know what is going on in their culture and therefore this concern is not dealt with and up until now there has been no opportunity for employees to talk about it, in a way that could actually make a difference within the company.
Which brings me to two very important distinctions:
Focusing on the behaviour of the leadership team through the organisation and how you present then engage your team, creates the actions that will make the difference.
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.
DON’T DO THIS
A really bad example of this, is a company I deal with on occasions and when they email through a request to complete their survey to evaluation their members engagement it always starts with – How awesome was ……………….! Or Wasn’t ………… fantastic
And then moves onto here is a quick survey. And when you click on the survey button the first information they ask for and is starred so there is no way around it is your name!
I am always left with the feeling that if I didn’t like it or agree with how awesome or fantastic it was, I am not going to say what I really think and feel because the priming of the communication which leaves no option for a different point of view or confidential feedback.
My point here is, do they really want to know? Do they really want honest feedback that contributes to the improvement of their members engagement – I don’t think so!
The key here is to NOT make up what you think your team want or to make demands of your team, it’s about being open-minded, having an open conversation and trusting your team to provide you with a Win-Win scenario.
It’s about being really honest and letting your team know WHY you want them back in the office. Why you are suggesting it is a good idea to get people back to the office. Sharing what you see from a leadership perspective; what the benefits to both the company and the team would be?
Then take the most important step and check in with your team. Ask them what they think and feel about what you have presented to them. Simply ask them, What do you think? Ask them to let you know their thoughts, ideas and feelings and set them up to do so.
How likely is it that your team would recommend your business as a great place to work? And WHY?
So where are your people at? How do you accurately know where they are at and what their preference is?
What gold can your team provide you with?
Don’t forget, your loyal employees are committed to the long term growth and success of your company, you now have an opportunity to reward loyal team members by trusting their work ethic, proven performance, productivity level and make your businesses decisions based on a Win-Win scenario.