As we emerge from lockdown, many brands have a plan for their new hybrid office model and flexible working policies. But - while they’re busy talking logistics - they’re missing out on five integral areas that are crucial for the future of work.
From redefining recognition to empowering managers, and redesigning wellbeing to revising working environments, the one defining thread is that there is No Normal.
Every colleague has always been unique and as we emerge from the pandemic organisations can no longer afford to ignore this.
Your people have been confronted with the question ‘what really matters to me?’, and many are re-evaluating what their ideal workplace looks like. Every person’s new normal looks different and the organisations that will thrive are getting ready to embrace this uniqueness.
Claire Rogerson, McCann Synergy’s Strategy Lead says: “We’ve been in constant touch with our clients during COVID-19 and these five areas - wellbeing, leadership, recognition, employee experience, and workplace environment - are the areas demanding the most attention. These are the areas where employees need to see you taking action.
“This is not the time for staid and boring communications either; there are truly creative ways to engage with your employees and make sure your workforce comes back stronger, more united, and more excited than ever before.”
How to #Saynotonormal in these five areas
Across all five of these areas organisations need to foster conversation, collaboration and connection.
1. Wellbeing, support and inclusion
The UK is at a tipping point for mental health issues; and it is more important than ever to show support to your employees’ wellbeing (physically, mentally, financially, and emotionally). While many had wellbeing initiatives in place pre-pandemic, these need to be redefined.
2. Leadership connections
Compassionate, strong, articulate leaders - who make employees feel heard, secure, and appreciated - are what’s needed right now. These leaders must also empower managers who need training, support, and guidance to co-create a successful environment for their colleagues.
3. Growth through recognition
Celebrating the wins - even the small ones - will help make colleagues feel supported and valued and start to rebuild any trust that was lost. Company-wide recognition which ties closely with colleagues sense of purpose and values, along with opportunities for peer-to-peer recognition should all be considered.
4. Redefining employee experience
The past 18 months have changed every aspect of people’s lives. What worked then, won’t work now. From the moment of hire to the moment an employee leaves (hopefully many years later!), every aspect should be assessed with the lens of ‘does this work for now.’
5. Environment to thrive
The physical workplace of the pre-COVID world won’t necessarily work anymore. As people adopt more fluid office arrangements and flexible hours, collaborative spaces - including spaces for creativity and concentration - need to be re-thought. As well as behavioural ‘nudges’ to help encourage behaviour change in the workplace
How to #saynotonormal
The organisations that will succeed in this post-pandemic world are the ones prepared to embrace the uniqueness of each individual employee. The ones ready to #saynotonormal.
Across all five of the above areas, they’re prepared to listen, have two-way conversations, provide multiple options, empower their managers, trust their staff and give clear expectations on what’s expected.
Listening matters more than ever before. The days of employees needing to fit into rigid HR policies and procedures of an organisation are gone. Employees need their own individual needs appreciated and considered.
Communication will be key to the success of companies in the post-pandemic world; employees must have a clear source of truth.
Purpose comes first and needs to be reinforced. The companies that can truly live their values and strive towards a common purpose - even in a world of uncertainty - are the ones that will hold onto their people as we navigate the new world together.
Practical information like the logistics of a new hybrid working model (if this is what your organisation is adopting), health and safety, flexible working policies etc. need to be clearly communicated - even if it’s a work in progress. Saying nothing causes anxiety.
Manager support is integral for success, as they’re the ones that will be in direct contact with your wider workforce. They need the support and guidance to have confidence in what they’re doing to be able to manage consistently.
It will take time and companies will need to test, trial, learn, and adapt. Take employees along on the journey with you and show that you’re working towards a better future.
Let us help you #saynotonormal
Keep an eye out for the McCann Synergy Future of work series of articles and podcasts There’s no more time to waste. To get started now visit our No Normal packages for immediate ideas and a clear roadmap on how to navigate the new world of No Normal in your organisation.