How can leaders manage productivity and progression in a hybrid working world?
Philip Macdonald from specialist recruiter, Wade Macdonald, spoke to Business Leader regarding how employers can rid themselves of unconscious bias in this new era of remote working, ensuring that all employees are reviewed and managed fairly
It’s no secret that moving to a fully online model has meant that most leaders have had to completely relearn how to manage their staff effectively. Managers are struggling to come to terms with trusting their employees and are at risk of falling victim to micromanagement.
However, heavy-handed management styles are likely to cause severe disruption to the harmony of your team. To get your leadership style spot-on in this new era, here are four key points that will help you to oversee and guide your employees efficiently.
Keep up with regular internal meetings
According to a survey by Lifesize, 89 per cent of employees say that video conferencing helps them feel connected to their workforce, with 94 per cent agreeing that it increases productivity. It’s crucial that as we become further accustomed to hybrid working, internal meetings, either as a group or on a 1:1 basis, don’t dissipate.
Not only do regular meetings ensure that communication is upheld and remains strong, but they give space for a good work culture and allow leaders to keep an eye on staff progress without the need to constantly check in.
Don’t get hooked on time spent
While there are plenty of apps that can help you track the hours your employees are spending on tasks each day, this isn’t necessarily the most effective way to measure productivity.
Most of us work an eight-hour day, but there’s plenty of research to suggest we’re certainly not working to our best for all that time. According to Inc.com, the average worker is only productive for 3 hours.
Instead of focusing on how much time an employee is at work for, look at how effectively they are meeting objectives, hitting KPIs or completing daily tasks.
Look to resolve your own unconscious bias
As the working world settles into a hybrid way of working, we’ll begin to see the certain xtent of the divide between those who prefer home working and those who prefer being office-based. Whichever way your employees choose to swing, one thing must be for certain: each group needs to be treated the same.
Even without realising it, you may begin to praise, uplift, and promote those employees who are ‘visible’ to you in the office far more than those who work from home. Not only will this create HR issues if not nipped in the bud, but you may also find a wide disconnect begin to happen between team members if they feel they are being treated unfairly.
Ensure you address any potential bias by monitoring your own behaviour, steering clear of making fast decisions and take the time to check in with your employees equally, whether they’re at home or in the office.
Learn to have trust
Trust creates trust. It may seem obvious, but it is a regular narrative heard by recruiters that the candidates are seeking a new opportunity because they want to feel trusted.
It can feel incredibly scary to give portions of control away to employees but without doing so, you run the risk of seriously damaging productivity and workplace happiness.
One survey by PwC found that those employees who reported working in a ‘trusting’ environment were 76 per cent more engaged and 74 per cent felt less stressed.
Getting used to managing a team remotely will take time, and some of the process will be trial and error. Nevertheless, by switching your focus to output rather than input as well as practicing a more empathetic and trusting approach towards your staff, you’re on your way to leading a first-class team.