For well over a year, we’ve been waiting and wondering. When will ‘normal’ return when in fact, what we thought of as normal isn’t and won’t be back. So welcome to this new world and it’s one to which ALL of humanity has been moved whether or not they wanted to be. At times it seems like we are all aliens existing in an alien land.
No where is this more apparent than looking into the working world. And still today, nothing is set or settled as we all navigate a hazy and somewhat ill-defined road. Yet it is the road we are on with no turning back so we best grab on and work to accept it as we learn to weather and even enjoy the ride one filled with bumper cars, roller coasters and scary ‘fun’ houses.
There are a couple of areas that have taken on new definition … given they likely represent the emerging world. Thus,
it seems prudent that we jump on board like we really believe and accept what going forward in our jobs successfully will be like. There are two areas of realistic concern: One is focused on employees being able to receive recognition when all or a portion of their contribution is remote. The other is the challenge seen from the organization’s side as related to developing and maintaining employee loyalty. They are closely related.
THE EMPLOYEE CONCERN: The challenge of receiving recognition when all of some of the contribution is remote
The concern around being recognized is quite understandable. In that ‘old’ world we got up every day of the week and went to work. We did what the job required and contributed that was visible to all others doing oft related things around established goals in the company. Interaction and exchange of information was simple and straight-forward. Others were easily and visibly accessible. Others saw and experienced the fruits of our efforts. Planning and strategizing were often in person when that was prudent to the goal and related decisions.
Yet not in our emerging world is this the case. In fact, there are estimates that within the next 3 to 4 years up to 70% of the workforce will be remote at least 25% of the time. That is huge compared to what was in the ‘old’ times. So yes, how can someone in this situation still earn and receive the recognition that offers them advancement and recognition? Here are some considerations identified by CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. of HRM … Human Resource Management that are worthy of consideration and attention:
- The saying “out of sight, out of mind” holds some truth. Organizational leaders tend to promote the people they see in person and chat within the elevator. These workplace relationships are often built face to face and can affect promotional decisions.
- That said, the pandemic has changed many office dynamics. However, at least this has stayed the same: Whether you’re remote or in the office, your performance speaks volumes.
- There are a few steps you can take to ensure your hard work is not overlooked.
- First, talk about your concerns with your manager and discuss your company’s plans for recognizing stellar performance in a remote world. If you’ve got your eye on a promotion, gain a clear understanding if that’s a realistic option. In that there are many factors that go into a promotion—things like budget, effort, the ability to backfill your role and getting on the radar of the decision-maker. It might not be up to your manager alone.
Focus on building relationships. Try to participate in as many virtual get-togethers and optional meetings as you can so your peers and management can see your abilities and leadership skills firsthand. And even though you’re not physically in the office, you should act as if you were—always keep your camera on and be professionally dressed.
- Contributing ideas, supporting teammates even when you have a full plate. Taking a proactive approach when challenges arise will go a long way in showing—not telling—why you deserve to be recognized.
- Consider tracking your wins to demonstrate how you add value to your team and organization. It’s OK to brag a little when your performance review rolls around. And if the time is right, someday it could lead you to your dream promotion.
- Remember: Many companies are still trying to figure out this new normal of remote work. This means balancing business needs while not losing traction on the things that matter, including employee engagement and recognition.
THE COMPANY LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE: Increasing and furthering team member loyalty in a remote setting
From the organization’s vantage point there are several challenges with which it must contend in our new world. Natural interactions and camaraderie either don’t occur or certainly doesn’t occur to the extent it can and does in the office environment. Finding a way to still have this similarity to emulating the atmosphere ‘in the office’ is key. Here are some practices that will lessen the concern of this leadership challenge as summarized in an article by Jolene Risch in Business and Finance publication:
- Inclusivity:During meetings, make sure everyone has a chance to share their voice and ideas. Give everyone space to update the team on their progress and ask for support where they need it. The more you engage in team-building behavior with every employee, the more inclusive collective meetings will be.
Employee Evolution: This is one of the best times to help your employees learn new skills and grow professionally. Most people currently have more time and space without the commutes, and it can help your employees level up their contribution to the company.
- Emotional Intelligence: Work-life balance has a whole new perspective especially if you haven’t had a predominantly remote team before. Boundaries are difficult when you work from home. So, implementing
systems and structures that support your people will make all the difference, especially in protecting them against burnout. Encouraging your employees to take time away from their devices and to spend some time on personal interests will remind them that you support boundaries. These boundaries in turn will help to keep your team’s ideas fresh and heighten their creativity. By supporting a true work-life balance, you’ll help your employees increase their productivity and efficiency.
- Increased Quality Communication: The attention your employees receive needs to be unique to them and the value they’re bringing to the table. When working remotely as an employee, it can be difficult to feel like what you’re doing matters to the company. Letting the team know they ARE making a difference and contributing is fuel for progress.
- Intentional Quality Time: This really has nothing to do with the work being done. It has much to do about creating opportunities and breaks to engage in conversations having everything to do with various interests of the individuals. It is to talk about their weekend concert or perhaps their child’s birthday party or … or … or. It’s a form of creating the water-cooler or lunchroom talk … unrelated to business and particularly important to the team member.
What we know is that we are in a period of evolution in many aspects of our lives. Certainly, it is so very apparent in the working world. And regardless of whether we have individually accepted or resisted how our lives have been impacted it has been a force that continues to surge ahead. At this point … some 14 or 15 months later it seems like maybe it time that we put our focus on adapting and making the most of what is emerging.
Perhaps, a few years ago, you saw the television presentation of ‘The Sound of Music’ or even the original movie (way before my time). There was one song that today we need to be singing as we march into our current and different world of our future. It’s entitled “I Have Confidence” and ending words “I have confidence, in confidence alone … Besides which you see I have confidence in me”. We’re on the way. Change? It’s happening. Our ability seems unable to stop it. Rather, we all have the ability to embrace and adapt. I’m confident! And you?