Business growth requires more than simply adjusting to a changing economic landscape. Companies need to take a step back and reflect on what trends will come and go, and which will become permanent. The past few months have accelerated this process dramatically, so let’s take that step back together.
First, we want to analyze the common truths that exist for all types of businesses. This creates the foundation for recommendations we’ll have regarding the future.
Find Ways to Communicate
Communication is at the heart of everything we do. Providing information to your Clients and employees will always be essential. When there is an absence of information, the void is filled with speculation, misinformation and assumptions. The more an organization communicates, the more likely they are to avoid negative responses from stakeholders.
Consider having daily standups or daily team meetings. Having an agile-type mentality allows leaders to communicate consistently. This removes roadblocks and fosters an environment of collaboration and productivity. These team meetings are important, but make sure managers are also setting up frequent 1-on-1 meetings. If there’s nothing business-related to discuss, these interactions can serve to maintain positive relationships and develop trust.
As we’ve seen, video conferencing has been highly successful. It makes sense considering the fact that people typically only absorb 7% of what is said. But when you include facial cues and body language, retention rates go up.
Establish Structure for Productivity
Businesses without a working structure in place see a decrease in efficiency. When you’re working with a remote workforce, you can’t expect to empower individuals until you set expectations and accountability measures. Guidelines for communication and deliverables should be clear.
As companies have implemented structures for productivity, we’ve seen a transition to Results-Only Work Environments (ROWE). Instead of trying to look really busy as management walks by, now an employee’s value is measured by the deliverables and results they produce. This can even create a shift in responsibilities as managers see workload imbalance amongst their teams.
Build a Culture of Compassion
Individuals are, by definition, unique. People react very differently to crisis situations, as we’ve witnessed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are terrified to leave their houses. Others don’t care at all and go about their daily lives as usual. And businesses bring all these people together.
Find ways to protect the health and safety of your employees. At the same time, respect the individual decisions your employees want to make. Listening to their concerns and developing a culture of compassion truly speaks volumes. It can motivate your workforce and create strong employee retention.
Future Business Trends
Now that we understand the foundation for growth, let’s look at future trends that are likely to stick around.
Many businesses now realize how unnecessary the nine-to-five office structure is. And, more importantly, employees have realized it. Companies that insist on having a hard nine-to-five environment will struggle with retention. People with doctors appointments, kid schedules, vehicle maintenance, etc. should be able to work from home, instead of taking a day off. Accommodate your team’s needs and adapt from the rigid office-only environment.
- Work/Life Balance
Many employees didn’t realize how much time they were missing out on with their families prior to COVID-19. And in some cases, now that they’ve got a taste it’ll be hard to convince them to give it up. Those with children often experience parental guilt when they miss out on their kids’ events or activities. Understanding this will help businesses eliminate those inhibiting emotions and actually help employees focus on work.
- Employee Expectations
Depending on your business, employee expectations may have shifted dramatically due to COVID-19. Here are a few things you may need to consider:
- “Essential employees” will have a renewed perspective during their next performance review or salary negotiation.
- Office spaces may need to be reconfigured to be social distancing friendly. This might change the open office concept as people try to avoid unnecessary interactions.
- Traveling might require more ROI data, as Client meetings and events have had success in a virtual environment.
- Gen Z employees entering the workforce actually struggle the most with remote learning. They prefer in-person communication, despite being very comfortable with technology.
- Human Resources
With employees working from home, many HR departments are seeing less employee relations issues. This has freed up time for HR to focus on strategy, rather than the everyday issues that arise in close quarters. They can identify why things are being done and how to tap into all the talent within an organization. And these insights can help determine how best to return investments to shareholders and all stakeholders.
The health and safety of our employees has never been a more prominent issue. But on another note, the health of the earth itself has also been positively impacted. In just this short span of time, we’ve seen animal habitats restored and cleaner air quality. Allowing your employees to work from home a few days a week can keep more cars off the road and sustain better environmental health.
About Global Upside
Companies today are spending disproportionate amounts of time and resources on compliance and keeping pace with day-to-day human resources, payroll, accounting, tax, legal, and compliance challenges. At Global Upside, we are shifting the balance. Our integrated services, delivered via a single point of contact, help simplify your day-to-day operations and keep you compliant in 150+ countries so you can focus on innovation and growth.
If you would like to learn more about our business services or have any questions about operating globally, contact us today.