With the pandemic finally slowing down and many offices scheduling their reopening, it’s important to take a look at how the workplace and employee expectations have changed. Leaders must make adjustments to address these changes.
A recent article on Forbes.com lists five adjustments that leaders must make to the workplace and its culture to thrive in a post-pandemic work environment:
- Focus on Purpose: Employees today are looking for meaning in their work. It’s part of the reason for the Great Resignation – employees are seeking more than just a paycheck. They want to feel good about their work. According to a study by McKinsey, 70% of employees now demand purposeful work. These employees are “6.5x more likely to report higher resilience, 6x more likely to stay at the company, and 1.5x more likely to go above and beyond.” Purpose has a direct correlation to engagement and retention. Leaders should focus on giving their employees a purpose and making sure they feel important as a contributor in the organization.
- Change Your Paradigm: Leaders must think differently and look at challenges in a new way. The solutions that worked two years ago, might not work today. Regarding the return to a live office environment, Forbes states, “You can mandate people to return to work, but you can't control their levels of engagement. The current problem is complex, which means the problem must be managed, not solved.”
- Shift from Customer First to People First: This isn’t to say that customers are not important, but it’s time to put our employees’ needs first. Without engaged employees, you’ll likely lose customers. I love how the CEO of Starbucks puts it, “We are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee." The shift in thinking that must occur is from “employees work for me” to “employees work with me.” Again, employees want a purpose and want to be contributors. When this occurs engagement, innovation, and collaboration all increase.
- Embed Your Talent Strategy Into Every Phase of Your Business: Leverage your HR partners for more than just recruiting and employee relations. HR should play a big part in the overall strategy of the organization. They work directly with both employees and managers. Leaders should include HR when setting strategy and designing execution.
- Shift Your Leadership Operating Model: Leadership mindset must change in this new work environment. Purpose-driven cultures must be developed and lived. Forbes describes this as a Leadership-as-a-service (LaaS) model. It’s a leadership model that allows employees to have purpose and be creative. It allows employees to find meaning in their jobs, make meaningful contributions, and create better relationships.
As organizations bring employees back, it’s important to listen to your employees before rolling out extreme return to office mandates. Everything will not simply just go back to normal. There is now a new normal. Employee expectations and lifestyles have changed. Seek to understand and embrace your employees’ needs and how they correlate with the organization’s needs. With an open mind, changes to how we work can be beneficial to both the organization and its employees by increasing engagement and productivity.
What kind of changes have you made to the workplace as you return to the office? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.