Opinion article by Ângela Santos, Board Member of Ábaco Consulting, for Human Resources: https://hrportugal.sapo.pt/o-que-pode-a-covid-19-ensinar-a-gestao-de-pessoas/
We live in difficult times, with new realities, but it is very important to start thinking about the day after and how we can leverage and transform these challenges into new opportunities: new business opportunities and new opportunities for internal organization: it has definitely arrived, and on a large scale , the digitization, simplification and streamlining of processes.
The rapid spread of the new coronavirus has led to many companies had to take on the preventive measures for the night, although, through no sure what the best steps to take. They began to adhere to teleworking, to encourage and ask their employees to stay at home and, above all, to remain attentive and close to their customers. Although this is a job option with an increasing role in the lives of organizations, its mandatory and urgent implementation, ended up driving the emergence of new challenges.
I dare, perhaps, to say that we had never thought about certain subjects, as we have until now. The time has come for organizations to reinvent themselves! Not only in terms of business, although this is certainly the first thought of any manager. But we must also not forget that no organization will be able to build itself unless it has a stable and united team; ready to face any problems that may arise and to find the most innovative solutions to solve them. People focused on solutions. It sounds like a cliché, but, more than ever, it is essential for companies to have people who see the glass as half full and who are looking to fill the other medium.
In this sense, it is essential that managers, in challenging moments like the one we are going through, take into account in their strategy two levels of communication: a tactical and initial one, in which the objective is to transmit safety to their employees, ensuring the normal functioning of the company. company and its different areas of activity. And second, they should focus on demonstrating the resilience and continuity of the business, always reinforcing the strategic vision and medium-term objectives of the company, where the perspective of the company’s growth must be reflected – new products or specific initiatives to support the ecosystem – a vision that must be demonstrated to the talents, as well as reflected to the customers.
Given all the doubts that arise and what the best way forward, it is here that there is a new and enormous challenge: how to get keep alive the culture of the company when we are all in telework? This is really the big challenge for Human Resources managers today. In the midst of all the other processes that will have to develop and implement, they cannot undoubtedly neglect the importance of keeping the company’s culture active, it is essential to find measures to continue to foster it, strengthen ties between teams and help promote balanced work routines, in conciliation with personal space and time.
In this new context, we must always bear in mind that the lack of communication, in this critical period, will encourage a decrease in productivity and innovation. A company with good levels of collaboration encourages new ideas and perspectives and, therefore, implementing a lasting communication strategy and now, more than ever, closer, will make talents feel more involved and execute projects in an incredibly more easy.
In this way, with teleworking, employees are physically separated, making it more difficult to transmit the company’s values, habits and culture. To combat this challenge, I enumerate some measures that must be implemented to strengthen the organizational culture, improve communication and teamwork, at a completely atypical time:
1 – Encourage feedback and demonstrate openness to listen to employees, creating new internal channels: In order to get the most out of feedback, it is important to pass on the message that any employee can give it and that the organization is available to listen to them. For this, it is essential that several channels are made available, in order to foster and promote healthy internal communication and, consequently, increase team cohesion.
2 – Encourage team spirit: Now more than ever, it is essential that, although the distance, we are always attentive to the real needs and problems of our employees, to continue to feel supported and that team spirit not get lost. In fact, a team that understands itself well will automatically communicate better. But for a team that still doesn’t understand each other well, communication is the key. At this point it is essential to communicate more: because we are not face to face, there are significant parts of communication that are lost. Therefore, it is important to give more context, more information, better explain, transmit decisions and rationales behind them.
3 – Be flexible in the established times: For many, teleworking was already common, but for many others, it was something new. Thus, the company must do everything to be able to provide its talents with all the tools they may need to develop their work, on a daily basis. It is also important that there is also greater tolerance and flexibility for employees’ schedules, especially for those who are at home with young children and who need more attention.