How to get the best from your team in 2021

There had been a lot of talk about new starts, the end of Covid and getting back to normal in 2021.  Most of the leaders I have spoken to recently appreciate that, rather than returning to normal, businesses will be entering multiple change cycles in order to get things back on track.  Although this will bring some challenges, it will also bring opportunities to make some step-changes that can make a real difference.

The biggest challenge is likely to be how to take your employees with you on that journey in order to retain your best people and to help them to optimise their performance.

Restructuring

It seems very likely that many employees will be facing redundancy or role changes next year.  Obviously, your HR team will be there to support you with the statutory requirements of redundancies, but what about the more human aspects?  Being fair and supportive at these times will enhance your employer brand.  Use all forms of communication, both with those team members who are facing redundancy, but also with those team members who will be staying.   Demonstrate to your team that you are there to support them by actively listening and dealing with any questions or concerns in a positive manner.  Be available and put yourself in other’s shoes when dealing with issues.

Work/Life Balance

Ironically, over the past 18 months I have written several blogs about the benefits and down sides of remote working and remote leadership.  I am delighted that some managers who would never consider flexible working for their teams are now having to deal with it.  Most people need a balance of autonomy and team working, yet that balance is different for everyone.  So here are some of the issues to look out for and if you want to know more you can read my blog from September 2019 here

  • A drop in productivity – set clear goals and maintain regular contact with your team to keep things on track
  • A rise in stress levels – review goals to ensure people are working to their priorities. Recognise and reward good performance
  • Cost savings – you could make some great savings on office costs, but be sure to invest in technology to support home working effectively, as well as proving opportunities to work face to face
  • A drop in engagement – ensure you understand your team on an individual basis so you can engage them effectively

For all of these potential issues, your first point of call is to listen and understand what is causing the problem.  You can then help each individual to work out how they can resolve any issues.

Zoom Fatigue

12 months ago most of us hadn’t even heard of Zoom and now many of us are spending more time ‘on zoom calls’ than we are on anything else!  Some of you will know exactly what zoom fatigue feels like by now, so how can you and your team avoid it?

  1. Try to keep your zoom meetings short and sweet with a clear agenda that you stick to.  Allow time between meetings to prepare and to plan your next actions
  2. Either turn your camera off or hide ‘self-view’ so you can focus on the person you are meeting with
  3. Choose Speaker view rather than Gallery view in group meetings, so you can focus on the person speaking rather than what everyone else is doing
  4. Quit your other applications so you can concentrate on your zoom call rather than trying to multi-task.  Do I need to remind you to put your phone away or on silent?
  5. Schedule some ‘screen-free time’ every day.

My feeling is that if you were a busy person in the office, then you are likely to be on

back-to-back Zoom meetings now.  The issue is that you need to make time to think, work and to lead (inspire your teams).

Health

Most leaders will have already experienced this issue throughout 2020, where employees are worried about coming to work due to concerns about catching Covid-19.  This is particularly the case if individuals are at a higher risk.  Obviously, you will be following Government guidelines to ensure that your team are safe at work, but as well as this it is your responsibility as a leader to clearly explain these measures to your staff and to ensure that they feel they can come to you if they have any concerns.

And let’s remember that mental health is just as important as physical health.  Look for the signs that people may need more support or breaks, and work with them to maintain their motivation levels.

In these changing times, your leadership skills will be more important than ever…ensuring that your team are balancing work and home life, giving your team a structure whilst maintaining a level of flexibility and ensuring they stay motivated and focused.  If you need any help with any aspects, I am just a phone (or video!) call away.

December 2, 2020 at 9:17 am Leave a comment

Will things ever be normal again?

In April 2020 an estimated 7.5 million people were put on furlough in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with millions more asked to work from home. On 1st August 2020 the government changed their stance on the advice ‘everyone should work from home, unless they cannot work from home’ (!) to allow employers the discretion to decide whether staff should return to work.

So, the question is…have your team returned and are things back to normal?

During the lockdown I had many conversations with people looking forward to returning to normal, but it may not be possible to go back to how things were before. If your team are back, then you may have already encountered changes and if you are planning to bring your team back soon, then there are pitfalls to be avoided.

Here are my thoughts on some of the possible issues and my advice on how you can resolve them

Furlough Envy?

In certain sectors businesses were all but shut down and almost every member of staff will have been furloughed, but even in these cases a skeleton staff would have to remain. In other cases, leaders will have had to make tough decisions about who to furlough and who to keep working. I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ and a study by Westfield Health certainly supports this with over a third of people surveyed saying that if they were furloughed they would rather have been working and if they were working they would rather have been furloughed.

Those still working may feel like they have missed out on what amounts to paid holiday, including quality time with family and basically an easy ride. Those furloughed have likely spent several months wondering why they weren’t asked to keep working and whether there will be a job for them in the future.

What’s the Solution?

Well you won’t be surprised to hear that my answer is to keep lines of communication open. Ensure that your employees feel comfortable airing any concerns, ensure you listen carefully to their issues and give clear and honest answers to any questions they may have.

Loved Working from Home a little too much?

Not everyone will have enjoyed working from home, some will have found it lonely and isolating and will be chomping at the bit to get back to the office. However, it is likely that many people have found the flexibility that comes with home-working very enjoyable and have thrived. These employees may not be so keen to return to 9 to 5 in the office.

What’s the Solution?

If team members come to you asking if they can continue working from home, then I suggest you give the matter serious thought. There is a lot to be said for remote working, including serious savings on office costs, but it is not a decision to be taken lightly. I believe that many roles can work flexibly, including an element of home working. You have now been able to test-drive remote working. Take a good look at the past few months, what worked and where were the problems. Do some research into technology that can be used to help facilitate home working. Perhaps you can have a hybrid arrangement – time working from home and time in the office. Bear in mind that as things return to ‘normal’ work could be significantly busier – will your team still be able to work effectively from home then? Be open and honest with your employees about your decision and reasoning so that they can get on board. The worst comment I have heard recently regarding home working is ‘you manage your own time, so long as you do your hours’ in other words ‘I trust you, but I don’t trust you’. Be sure you don’t go down that route.

Health Fears

During lockdown even those who are very nervous about Covid-19 or particularly at risk have been able to adjust their lives so that the danger is at a low level. With life returning to normal and people returning to work, many will feel that the risk is increased. Others will be excited that things are getting back to normal and may not want any increased health and safety measures imposed on them. The cross-over between these two groups is sure to cause fireworks!

What’s the Solution?

The government has clearly said that employees should only return to work ‘if it is safe to do so’ and this safety rests with you as the employer. It is essential that a full Covid-19 Risk Assessment is carried out, with all reasonable measures taken to reduce the risk of infection. These measures should be very clearly explained to your employees before they are asked to return, with a clear method outlined for staff to ask questions and be reassured. All employees should be reminded of the importance of abiding by the new safety guidelines and the consequences for infringements, to ensure everyone is happy to return safely. Most importantly Health and Safety should not be neglected in other areas because of concerns about Covid-19.

My final piece of advice is to remember to watch your team’s state of mental health carefully as this has been a challenging time for us all. However, we are not in this alone! Be available to offer support where necessary and ready to invest in professional help if it is required.

It is essential to recognise that the dynamics of work have changed during this time. The companies that will thrive over the next few years are those that see this change as an opportunity and make the most of it.

August 28, 2020 at 9:40 am Leave a comment

Maintaining Motivation in Lockdown

In my experience the ability to successfully manage a remote team is the best test of a leader’s effectiveness. This unprecedented time, where many people are required to work from home is a great opportunity for more leaders to develop these essential skills. It is not enough for your workforce to simply go through the motions, ticking off their assigned tasks. You need to ensure that they are still motivated and engaged during this difficult time and into the future.

I’ve put together some tips which may help you. These are all based on  real life examples from my clients and together I believe they provide a framework to best practice for inspirational remote worker leadership.

Team Huddle

Whatever you call it; Progress Report, Catchup, Update Meeting a regular get together where you all share information, updates, issues and successes should continue even when your team work remotely. These meetings are best conducted using teleconferencing or video chat technology. Keep to your normal schedule, whether that is daily, weekly, fortnightly and ensure the meetings are still short and focused. You may find that some adjustment of format is required to make it work, but it will be worth it to maintain momentum.

Coffee Chat

Of course you don’t have to bring a coffee, but a casual get together over the phone or video chat is a great way to create that bond that we all have when we see each other regularly in an office environment. It’s nice to make this a regular day, but with no compulsory attendance. Perhaps you can vary the time each week to fit with people’s commitments at home. Everyone can just drop in and talk about whatever they like.

Start and End of Meetings

If your team is smaller in size consider calling on people one by one to ask how they are feeling at the beginning and end of each meeting. Give people maybe 30 seconds each, but remember to note down any issues and follow-up with anything that is more serious or that may effect the team as a whole.

Team Wellbeing

This final tip is a little more complex. Some of your team are bound to thrive on remote working whilst others will struggle. Being isolated will effect everyone’s mental health in different ways, so remember to continue your regular 1-2-1’s with your team. If you can do this by video so that you can observe their body language and facial expressions. Take action to resolve any issues that may occur and be ready to offer additional support if required.

Finally here are some quick tips for you to check with your team

 

  • Do they have the right environment to work at home. Is there a room or space set up as their office and do other people in their home know not to interrupt them when they are working.
  • Have they set a schedule for their working day and are they taking regular breaks like they would in the ‘real’ office. People should get up and move around every 45-60 minutes and totally switch off at the end of the working day
  • Do they have the right equipment to be comfortable ie. A proper desk, adjustable chair
  • Are they eating well and keeping hydrated. With no junior to make the tea and coffee, no assigned lunch break and the kitchen within easy walking distance people who work from home often snack rather than eat properly and forget to drink enough water
  • Are they taking regular exercise – energy levels drop significantly if you just sit all day and all evening
  • Are they taking some time out to think, to be creative and to learn, if nothing else self-isolation gives us time – something that is normally in very short supply
  • Have they got realistic goals? In theory you can get a lot more done at home, but only if you pace yourself and manage interruptions and distractions
  • And finally do encourage all of your team to reach out if they are feeling isolated or depressed

I am optimistic that this experience will change the way we work forever. Managers who have not allowed their teams to work from home can build the trust they need to let this continue. The constant merry-go-round of work and everyone being overloaded can be replaced by valuing time to think, plan and be creative. If we all can learn to work more effectively, rather than just working more, then we can all be happier and more productive in the future.

 

 

 

April 8, 2020 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

Does appraising your team fill you with dread?

Do you love being a leader? Enjoy motivating your team and achieving goals together? Do you like to be a friendly face that your employees feel comfortable talking to? Is the one bad part of your year appraisal time?

Almost four years ago, I wrote a blog addressing the thorny issue of the annual appraisal, however many of my leadership clients are still telling me how much they dread them. You can read my original blog here. In this blog I will expand on the advice I gave then, helping to make appraisals a positive experience, for leaders and their teams.

Prepare

For leaders, this takes 12 months of regular reviews with each employee. The appraisal itself is just the formal process of confirming the year’s performance. More than that, it is your chance to help your team to look forward and develop themselves and their career.

Ensure your team do not feel blind-sided by the appraisal by giving them an agenda and some questions to review ahead of the meeting. If your appraisal system is an ongoing process, they should be aware of their objectives and be able to give thought to their own performance.

Atmosphere

It is important to have a business-like, but relaxed environment during appraisals. Choose your appraisal location carefully. It will need to be private, but not too daunting. Staring at each other along a conference table big enough for twelve is not going to create a comfortable conversation. However, the pub is not the right place either!

Questions

Allow time to discuss the personal aspects, not just work objectives. Before diving in with your evaluation of their performance, start by asking them how they feel they have done in specific areas. These questions should be in line with the preparations you asked them to make, so that they are primed to answer. Encourage them to talk by using open questions and be sure to listen carefully to their point of view.

Feedback

Find areas to give genuine, positive feedback so that employees feel motivated and encouraged. If something has not gone so well then analyse together what can be done to improve. This should not be the first time they hear about an issue, problems should be addressed as they occur, rather than waiting for the annual appraisal. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep, for example about pay and rewards, or a training course.

Plan

Always finish your annual appraisal with agreeing on a plan moving forward. Decide on future objectives, how you are both going to measure success and what responsibilities you each have. If training or support is required then agree who is following that up. End the appraisal on a positive note.

Ongoing

If you make notes of your regular, informal reviews, then the appraisal should be one of the easiest and most satisfying jobs that you do.

For me the whole point of appraisals is not a box-ticking exercise and certainly not an opportunity for you as a leader to criticise what your team have done wrong, but a key process which measures and develops the individual’s performance, while enabling them to think more widely about what they want to achieve in the future. In my view, getting appraisals right is critical to the success of the organisation as a whole.

March 6, 2020 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

Does getting out of hours emails stress you out?

Do you often receive emails from your boss outside of work hours? As modern technology enables us to be available 24/7, this is a growing issue. Gone are the days when the end of the working day meant relaxation away from work place worries.

The University of Sussex carried out research looking at businesses that banned their employees accessing their emails outside of work hours. They found that some employees found it helpful to switch off, but others were more stressed when they were unable to keep on top of their work communications. So what should you do if you are getting emails after your work day has ended?

Different Work Styles for Different Personalities.

We all have different drives, personalities and priorities and these will affect how we feel about out of hours communication. Some people are highly driven by achieving at work, whilst for others quality time with friends and family is a more important priority. Some employees enjoy having flexible hours, which will mean that the end of their working day may not be 5.30pm and their ‘weekend’ may not be Saturday and Sunday.

Many will find that they sleep better knowing that they have checked their emails before bed. However, some people prefer to structure their hours and switch off from emails and work until the morning.

Action: Think about what you are comfortable with as an individual and what may cause you stress. Reflect on whether you are happy to receive and reply to emails out of working hours. When you know what you are comfortable with, it makes putting boundaries in place a lot easier.

Healthy Boundaries.

As an employee, you should never feel forced into replying to emails outside of working hours. Although these days it may seem like we must always be available, we don’t have to be. Emails are becoming more and more accessible, with some of us even having them coming to our watches, but we should recognise that we don’t have to keep checking them.

Some employees may find it difficult putting healthy boundaries in place. You may worry that late emails are a test from your employer to see how dedicated to the job you are or, having read an email, you may be drafting a response in your head until you can send it. The reality is that in a 9-5 office environment, there should be mutual respect that emails don’t need to be exchanged outside of office hours.

Action: Although people, including your boss, may send emails outside of working hours it is up to you as the recipient to choose whether to open them, or to reply to them. Once you have decided what level of communication you are happy with, communicate this clearly to your boss and other team members and then stick to your boundaries.

If your employer emails you outside of work hours, you can choose to ignore the email until the morning. This is setting a healthy boundary. If you start to reply to emails late at night, it may give the implication that you are happy to do this.

Global Business

Having colleagues, clients or suppliers all over the world means that we need to connect with people in different countries, whose business hours are different to ours. This means, naturally, we have to be more flexible. However this shouldn’t automatically mean you should extend your working hours – your employer needs to give you flexibility too.

Yet, some countries are creating their own healthy boundaries. France introduced a law in 2017- called ‘The Right to Disconnect’. I love this concept. It would give many hard workers the ability to switch off from work and reset.

Action: As well as making us more contactable the modern world also comes with some great technological advances which allow us to manage our working hours. One of them is the ‘schedule send’ button available on some email service providers. So, if you need to email global contacts consider using this so your email arrives during their working day.

Work Overload.

If people don’t switch off outside of work, they will reach overload. It is not unusual for some people to be checking their emails before they go to sleep and as soon as they wake up. This makes relaxation difficult to achieve.

A study done by the University of Reading showed that 61% of managers found it difficult to switch off from work due to technology. 54% admitted that they check emails outside of working hours. To work efficiently, the brain needs to rest. Without this you will not operate efficiently and in the end, a lack of downtime could affect your mental health. You need to ensure that you are spending enough time taking care of your own needs.

This should also be the case when it comes to holiday time. Having a break away from work has many benefits, including boosting your mental health and allowing your stress levels to reduce whilst you take much needed time away from work to focus on yourself and your family. Therefore, you should be able to take some guilt free time out, especially over the festive period.

Action: You can enable the ‘Out of Hours’ or ‘Auto Responder’ function on your email. This allows you to feel at ease that people who email whilst you are away receive a response, but that they know you are not going to get back them personally. You can include alternative people to contact in your absence, or if necessary your mobile phone number, but only in case of emergencies. You can also set your mobile devices not to notify you of incoming communications during certain hours, so you are not tempted to respond.

November 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm 2 comments

Remote working – is it a help or a hindrance?

More and more companies have turned to remote working in order to save money and to gain access to a larger pool of resources.  Interestingly, I was speaking to a manager this week who noted that remote working includes anyone in your team who is not sat in the same vicinity – they could be in another country, another town, half a mile down the road working from home, in the same building but on a different floor, or even on a different part of the same floor.

The challenge of communicating effectively is still the same.  They admitted that, even when people are in the same building, if they have to get out of their chair to speak to them the chances are they would send an email instead.  Not even pick up the phone, they would send an email – how worrying is that!  This is a sign to me that leaders have less time to spend with their teams.  Email is not the answer to that problem!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of remote working – I have done it for 30 years – although I have always been able to choose where I work rather than being remote all the time.  Whether you enjoy it or not is highly influenced by your own motivators (I need a balance of independence and teaming), but it is equally influenced by how you are managed, and the team culture that your leader encourages.

So let’s look at why you may have switched to remote working and what the issues could be.  Then we can focus on what you, as a manager, need to do to continue to inspire your remote workers.

Productivity

From personal experience, I know I can easily double my productivity when working at home.  However, that is because I have put in place the disciplines needed to enable me to be more productive – I have a separate office, with a door I can close, reducing interruptions; I have the technology I need to enable me to connect to the outside world; I take regular breaks to ensure I don’t over-work or get fatigued; I keep hydrated and fed so that my energy levels and concentration can be extended; I am accessible to others and let them know what I have achieved.  I’m sure you will have your own tips on this, but even these are not always easy to attain, so many people can be less productive at home, if their disciplines are poor.

Action: Schedule regular contact with your remote teams, either by video or telephone or by meeting up at a convenient location.  If they are not being productive, understand why not and what needs to change.

Stress

No commute, no queuing for a coffee or the printer, it is easy to see why remote working can be less stressful than being in the office.  It can also provide a better work-life balance, because some of that commute time can be put to better use, whether it be to do the school run, keep fit or to socialise more.  However, if your team interacts less with their colleagues they can soon become isolated.  Perhaps goals and expectations won’t be clear, maybe you won’t know who’s doing what or if achievements are appreciated.  All these can lead to higher stress levels.

Action: Make goals, targets and expectations clear to your team, as well as ensuring good performance is recognised and rewarded.

Costs

If you have thousands of in-office employees then they all need a desk, computer, phone, maybe even an office.  You’ll need a canteen, kitchens, toilets, some companies even provide a gym and a swimming pool in to increase staff morale.  So it’s easy to see how having remote working teams can reduce these costs.  However, a word of warning.  It is essential that your teams meet face to face on a regular basis and the company will need to provide a good base to do this. I don’t mean “a hot-desking area” where you get to sit with anyone from anywhere in the company, I mean areas where employees can sit or meet together with their team-mates.  This takes some co-ordination from you as a manager.  It is also essential for you to be clear that you expect your team to participate in these meetings.  In between these face to face communications, your teams will need to collaborate during their work, so you’ll need up-to-date systems for document sharing, video and teleconferencing, which don’t come cheap.

Action: Although you may be able to save money by switching to more remote working, in order to make it work you will need to invest in other areas, such as communications technology and shared meeting spaces.

Engagement

If there is one thing that builds the best employee engagement, I would say “trust”.  Allowing your teams to choose to work remotely at times shows a huge amount of trust. Finding ways to include them, listen to them, thank them and praise them can help to motivate them and maintain high performance.  Everyone needs different levels of interaction and independence, so it is key to be able to understand what makes them tick.  Of course if you are a task-focused leader who struggles to do these things when people are on site, you are going to find it harder when they are working remotely.  Consequently you are less likely to encourage remote working at all.

Action: Ensure that you understand your team’s motivators so you can engage with each individual in the best possible way.  Focus on what they deliver rather than how long they spend at their laptop.

 

So you can see that there can be pros and cons to remote working. If managed effectively, I think the pros far outweigh the cons.  If you have a remote working team and are finding effectiveness and engagement an issue, please get in touch.

September 3, 2019 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Women leaders – why aren’t there more?

I have worked with plenty of women leaders who I felt had the potential to get to the top.  However some of them have ‘opted out’ of following their ambitions.  So, with such a focus on it, why do we still not see more women in senior leadership roles?

Obviously I am a man giving my perception of how the women leaders I have met feel about things – so forgive me if this doesn’t cover every angle!  As with all complex issues, it is a combination of things.  On the one hand it seems that there are some internal beliefs holding women back.  On the other, men are, often unknowingly, re-inforcing those beliefs, so we rarely get out of the cycle.

Confidence issues

Issues with confidence can stem from several areas, perfectionism and imposter syndrome to name just two.  They can get in the way of success, and if left to grow or helped to grow by un-supportive leaders and mentors, they can be enough to limit a career on their own.

It takes empathy and patience to understand each individual’s confidence issues, but with the right balance of positive and constructive feedback they can be overcome.  It is about building the right environment, providing safety and respect, where it is acceptable to feel that way at times, while providing a mix of support and challenge that people need to push themselves to the next level.

Fear of failure

Being afraid of failing is part of human nature, however it can become so encompassing that it prevents us acting or moving forward at all.  This often comes from perfectionist traits where people want to get things right first time and want everything to be right.

Again, there needs to be the environment where it is alright to fail.  I haven’t met any senior leaders who gained all their learning from their successes, in fact quite the opposite.  If executives and mentors communicate regularly with their women leaders, they can help to find the appropriate level of risk they can take when looking for success, as well as helping them to learn from their mistakes in a positive way.

Fear of losing their work/life balance

Even in the 21st century women are often assuming more of the domestic burden than men and are certainly very aware of the need for a good balance between work and home life.  Unfortunately, with leadership roles comes more responsibility and women often put pressure on themselves to work longer hours. This perception can be another obstacle to women looking to progress.

However, with a little lateral thinking and flexibility from employers it is often much easier to balance a busy home and work life than you would think.  They key is that everyone needs to work smarter rather than longer, and be allowed to switch off outside of work, especially when on holiday.

Lack of role models

Unfortunately, until we make leadership more accessible for women this will continue to be an issue.  Men do not always make great role models for women, as their leadership behaviours are not necessarily ones that women want to emulate.

Women need to see other women in leadership roles to know that it is possible, and they need to know that they can bring their natural leadership style to a business rather than having to pretend to be an alpha male.  They need to see many different roles available to them and many different personalities inhabiting those roles.

 

I would like to see wider mentoring of women leaders, where organisations share their experiences and provide the support that can help to change the current dynamics.

 

 

 

 

March 19, 2019 at 9:23 am Leave a comment

Motivating in a pay freeze

Over the past ten years thousands of organisations in both the public and private sectors have imposed pay freezes on their staff. The aim is to improve bottom line results by capping fixed costs. The negative side of a pay freeze is that employee motivation can take a nose dive and the organisation can end up losing valuable employees, so the question is….how can you motivate your team in a pay freeze?

The first thing to do is find out the reason for the pay freeze and the length of time you can expect it to be in force. Take the time to explain the purpose and time frame to your team, so they can understand the pressure the business is facing as well as how long they may need to wait without an increase in their remuneration.

Next look for potential flight risks. These could be the people who are most motivated by money, and/or those who genuinely believe their financial rewards are not ‘fair’ for their role. Discuss with your superiors the possibility of a pay adjustment for these people and remember to point out how much more it will cost in terms of recruitment and possible loss of income if they are high performers within the business. Pay freeze does not always mean a complete freeze.

Another option is to look at alternative ways of compensating your workers, such as greater flexibility in working hours, home working or additional holiday time. For many people these could work just as effectively as financial rewards.

Finally remember that not everyone is motivated by money. For many of your employees other factors will be more important to them, such as job stability, working as part of a strong team or creative problem solving. As long as their salary meets their basic living needs they will stay if their other motivators are satisfied.

The key here is to make sure you understand what motivates each member of your team, and to manage their motivation pro-actively so you can ensure their needs are being met. Small changes really can make a big difference, so make sure you explore all avenues rather than assuming there is nothing you can do.

August 20, 2018 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Motivating Millenials…

A Millennial is generally defined as a person who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century, so born in the 90s. Now we are approaching the end of the second decade of this century, Millennials are the fastest growing segment of the workforce, with numbers as high as 1 in 3. Therefore, knowing how to engage with and motivate Millennials is more important than ever.

In general I don’t like to generalise!  Each person in your team is an individual and should be managed as such, however some common attributes can be identified which make Millennials easier to motivate.

Millennials are easily distracted

Brought up with technology and social media in their everyday lives Millennials are easily distracted by social media and digital communication such as texting and Whatsapp.

Solution: Encourage them to establish daily and weekly goals to maintain focus.  Be clear about what you expect from them, including deadlines.

Millennials thrive on recognition

Nurtured and pampered by their Baby Boomer parents, who didn’t want to make the same mistakes as the previous generation, Millennials are used to instant recognition and praise

Solution: Give regular praise to maintain drive.  Create a culture where balanced feedback is the norm, so that Millennials get used to constructive criticism as well.

Millennials find good works rewarding

A wealthier upbringing than their parents may have experienced mean Millennials are less motivated by the acquisition of money and need to feel that they are making a difference in and out of work.

Solution: Ensure that their job has a clear purpose and that they know what success looks like – they won’t stay just for the pay.

Millennials value flexibility

Aware from a young age of the need for a good work life balance, Millennials are looking for a more flexible working environment.

Solution: Be clear about your flexible working policy, ensuring that managers are trained to deal with remote workers effectively.  This is about creating a culture of trust, which Millennials will also value.

Millennials are tech savvy

Millennials grew up with technology and rely on it in their everyday lives.

Solution: Make sure your technology is up-to-date and fit for purpose.  Leverage it to reduce travel, provide flexible learning opportunities as well as using a breadth of communications media.

Millennials are team orientated

Encouraged to play team games and take part in group activities during their childhood, Millennials value teamwork

Solution: Team building exercises can really work well if they are correctly planned and implemented

Once again, I would emphasise that, in addition to these general principles, each person on your team, Millennial or not, should be treated as an individual when you are considering how to get the best from them.

If you need help motivating your Millennial team, we would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

March 13, 2018 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

Are you dreading a company re-organisation?

Re-organisation within a company can often be associated with confusion, pointless reshuffling and ultimately employees may think it is just code for redundancies. However a re-organisation, if managed correctly and carried out for the right reasons, can result in a re-energised workforce and new focus.

Here are my top reasons to consider a re-organisation in your company

To re-invigorate top performers

Just because members of your team are doing well doesn’t mean you can forget about them. Even top performers need regular evaluation and adjustment to prevent stagnation. A new challenge that caters to their strengths can bring fresh perspective and even better results. Similarly a long-term top performer may become disengaged and a change can prevent monotony setting in.

To align the right people to the right problems

Business is always changing and evolving. As a leader you need to be aware of this and be ready to adapt. Knowing the challenges facing your business and the strengths and weaknesses of your teams means you will be able to quickly adjust, moving the right people or teams to address the problems best suited to them.

To stay competitive

The company that doesn’t change and grow will ultimately be overtaken by the competition. As a leader you have to be ready to re-organise in order to compete. I’m sure most of us will remember the video-rental chain ‘Blockbuster’.  They adapted from VHS to DVD just fine – it didn’t require much re-organisation, just change the product you sell. However when it came to the digital download age they weren’t ready or willing to change and ultimately failed.

To focus on a new strategic direction

Interestingly the ‘Blockbuster’ analogy can also apply to this situation. If Blockbuster had focused on the new direction of their industry they could still be with us today, but new strategic directions are not just an opportunity to stay competitive, but also an opportunity to grow your business in new areas. Sometimes this may involve recruitment, but you can often find the assets you need are already part of your workforce and a re-organisation is all that is required to leverage this new strategy.

As always my top advice to get the best from your re-organisation is COMMUNICATION. When that email goes out announcing the re-org, ALL your employees should already know about it, be familiar with the reasoning and comfortable with the process and its implications for them and their team.

It is vital to take a broad view of the talent across your organisation, so you can empower them to succeed where you need them most and where they will enjoy the new challenge.

December 11, 2017 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

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Alan Adair

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Alan Adair

Extra Dimension
Helping you and your teams to be more engaged, motivated and effective.

21 Pelican House
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Tel 01202 830047

Email alan.adair@extradimension.co.uk

Website
www.extradimension.co.uk

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