There is a lot to reflect on and digest from this past year, and even the past few years if we are being honest. As the new year grows closer so does the idea of resolutions and setting goals. Reflection is an invaluable practice that reveals so much information. With everyone talking about what they are prioritizing in the coming year, it can get overwhelming to consider what changes to make, what things to keep, and what to improve upon.
Let's break it down and look at 5 swaps that companies, managers, and professionals can make going into 2023.
Less Managing, More Leading
Everyone has a different leadership style but generally when we think of classifying leaders we think of micro and macro. Both have benefits and both have flaws but there's a way to find the sweet spot between being hands-on and being hands-off.
"30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting. Employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged." - Gallup
Managers who are too hands-on with their teams can actually be counterproductive. They want to make sure that everything gets done correctly, on time, and that their team is on track. However, they can actually create more stress, leading to lower productivity in their teams. Managers who are more hands-off look more at the big picture and assign tasks in line with the project while trusting their team can handle it and get the work done. However, they can sometimes neglect the importance of mentoring, being available to answer questions or teach their team. Employees should have the opportunity for mentorship while also being encouraged to engage in decision-making. There is a balance, a happy middle ground between the micro and the macro.
"Leadership style shapes organizational culture and largely determines whether a company is a good place to work from the perspective of the employee," according to Chron. It's one part knowing the project and one part knowing your team. Knowing what motivates them, what they excel at, and where they need more support. These can play a huge role in impacting project success and personal and professional development. Knowing these things comes from honest, regular conversations and building trust.
Don't Sweat Hybrid/Remote Work, Embrace It!
If we've learned anything over the past few years, it's that remote work will continue to be a fixture in the professional world. While the initial shock has worn off and we've all (for the most part) figured out how to do digital meetings, many of us still miss the days of 'water-cooler chats' or grabbing lunch with coworkers. Instead of resisting this change, find new ways to incorporate these personal aspects into this new professional landscape.
Staying connected with coworkers and leadership doesn't have to mean swinging by their cubicles. In today's world, being connected runs deeper, based on trust, understanding, and empathy. Face-to-face interactions may be limited, but you can still have quality conversations and create rapport with your team and coworkers. And actually, according to Gallup "23% of U.S. hybrid workers strongly agree that they feel connected to their organization, compared with 20% of employees overall." In the interactions you have, really listen, and try to understand where they are coming from and how you may be able to support them.
"80% of workers said they were just as productive if not more so since the change to remote or hybrid work." - Microsoft
Switch 'That's How We Do It' To 'Why Do We Do It?'
While we are on the topic of reflection and the power it holds, this is an opportunity to start questioning and finding the 'whys' that drive you, your team, and your whole company. Pause and think about some of the past and even recent meetings you've been in where the question is raised about why things are being done a certain way. Without fail, there will be at least one instance where the answer is simply, "it's just always been done that way." Flag this in your mind for future events and take the initiative to open the floor to finding the 'why'.
"A willingness to challenge the status quo makes an organization better able to directly confront the roadblocks that are holding the business back." - Forbes
Whether it's making a good process even better or finding a more effective, efficient way to do something, asking 'why' is an important thing to incorporate into your professional practices. More importantly, leaders need to set the precedent that questioning things isn't just appreciated, it's encouraged! If employees feel safe to bring questions and new ideas to the table, innovation will have no ceiling.
Don't Wait For the Annual Survey
Quarterly or even annual performance reviews are something that we can all agree have benefits but are not being utilized to their full potential. The infrequency means a loss of opportunity to learn from experiences and a lost opportunity to involve employees in company decisions. Additionally, employees need to have the assurance that after the responses are collected, actual changes will be made with their input.
"People who don’t fill out either of our two annual surveys are 2.6 times more likely to leave in the next six months." - HBR
Instead of checking in annually or quarterly, doing it regularly will help you to understand the pulse of your organization and you'll be able to make informed decisions. Ask questions about how employees feel about their workload, their manager, their career path, and overall just how they FEEL. These questions can provide more insightful information and help leaders better understand how to manage and support their teams. Without incorporating these things, you risk the chance that your survey will go unanswered and all that potential information goes untapped.
Say No To Surveillance Software, Say Yes To More...
Tracking keystrokes has been something companies have been doing even before the pandemic. With working from home, there is a strain on the trust between employee and employer, hence surveillance software. However, tracking mouse clicks doesn't actually show you the quality of the work or tell you to have your employees are feeling. More than that, it creates a feeling of 'being watched' that can actually be detrimental to productivity and workplace well-being.
"60% of companies with employees who work remotely are using monitoring software to track employee activity and productivity" - Digital.com
Surveillance software has even been used to terminate employees if they aren't productive enough or if employers find that employees aren't spending enough time working on their projects. According to Digital.com, "88% of employers terminated workers after implementing monitoring software." With the workforce being more selective about where they want to work and employers hurting to acquire and retain talent, now is the time to invest in your valuable people, not remove them. With software that focuses on empowering employees, they're more productive, more likely to stay longer, and more innovative. Instead of cutting, try championing.
Want to start implementing these swaps in your business? MUA is built on the principles of catalyzing culture, empowering employees and creating adaptable workforces. Curious how we do that? Click here to talk to someone and get a demo free of charge.