If you’re a people leader, the past year hasn’t been easy. While the pandemic strained supply chains, changed consumer and customer needs, and put into question strategic growth plans, it also put a spotlight onto new employee needs around wellbeing and engagement. All of these topics have one thing in common: You, as a leader, are tasked with adapting to all these challenges and making the most of these changes. While many initially thought these shifts might be temporary, the reality has set in that they may be here to stay—and that more changes are on the horizon.
“Trust has to be earned and should only come after the passage of time.” –Arthur Ashe
Trust is fundamental in our daily interactions, but we don’t talk about it enough. We’re social animals, and the very foundations of society are built on trust. So it should be obvious why trust is critical to success in everything—including business.
According to The Trust Outlook, about 85% of people believe that a high-trust work environment helps them perform at their very best. Virtually all metrics improve when employees trust their employers and vice versa, and that is especially true in a hybrid working world.
When the pandemic forced us all to move into virtual work environments, there was one topic that immediately worried leaders and employees alike: How do we keep our company culture going strong? How can we ensure that we don’t lose the culture that keeps us all connected? While a valid question, for many it never truly was resolved. The demands of focusing on emergency response plans, moving the entire company to a virtual model, and dealing with supply chain issues—among many others—caused a focus on firefighting and surviving.
According to the 2021 Annual Report from the World Trend Index, 73% of employees want flexible remote work options to be maintained, even after the pandemic has passed us by. Furthermore, 66% of leaders have considered redesigning office spaces for hybrid work.
It’s approaching two years since the pandemic forcefully transformed our lives. For most of us, it was an abrupt transition from customary ways of working to a virtual work environment. There was no alternative – we had to figure it out and make it work.
Ultimately, we realized that working remotely fit many people pretty well, driving higher-than-expected engagement numbers and keeping productivity high after the initial shock.
Fast forward to today. We’re still dealing with the pandemic, but businesses are realizing that it’s time to redirect their organizations for positive growth. There is renewed hope that we will overcome this virus – or at least get better at living with it. The show must go on, and we can’t be in “emergency mode” forever.
Here at ALULA, love of pets is something of an unspoken job requirement. That might sound odd when our focus is on the people part of achieving business results, but affection for four-legged friends is a strong cultural thread. It pulls at our heartstrings and weaves them together, shaping us into one ALULA team. August is National Dog Month, and we take that celebration seriously! After all, there are a lot of synergies between what we do as a business and our love of dogs.
As we push through the second half of 2021, many unknowns remain from a tumultuous 2020. We’re in uncharted territory, so it’s important to consider what leadership skills will be critical as teams sail this new course.
Your company’s culture: strategic asset and competitive advantage
Your company culture is what employees say and do every day, how they work together (or don’t), what leaders reinforce (or don’t), and all the habits, practices, processes, and customs of the workplace.
The practice of spreading positive gossip is a sure way for leaders and teams to equally engage team members who are located at the office or worksite as well as those working remotely.
Ken Wagner, Ph.D., Senior Principal at ALULA, shares important insights that can help leaders and teams thrive in a hybrid work environment.
Author — Tim Overcash with contributions from Brian Cole, Ph.D. and Evan Smith
June is National Men’s Health Month. This month is all about raising awareness and encouraging men to employ healthy behaviors that positively impact their mental and physical wellbeing.
Your health is your foundation. Your success as a leader, your daily business performance, and every aspect of your public and private life—all depend on your robust health.
Of course, you already know that. But let’s get specific and present some useful advice.