Here are five simple recommendations we make to organizations we work with that are serious about helping their employees be more effective.
Step 1 – Reexamine Readiness
In the workplace, we often think of readiness as a set of skills that are associated with a particular job. Managers get manager training, sales people get sales training and so on. These things are important of course, but ignore the fundamental people need to be effective. To try to resolve this, over the past few years, many organizations have turned to mindset training – designed to infuse characteristics such as Grit and Growth Mindset.
What is missing in many organizations is practical skills training to help people be more effective, and particularly to optimize their day – to move from surviving to thriving in the reality of an unstructured, ambiguous workplace.
We need to help our employees navigate that change, and provide the right education, support and accountability to do so. Personal effectiveness is something you can measure as you hire someone, but it’s also something you can build and maintain in your existing workforce.
Step 2: Consider the Whole Person
According to the opinion of BillionMinds work life balance is so 2010s. The very idea that you have a balance with work on one side and non-work on the other is kind of ludicrous when work and our non-work environments are basically merging together. Your employees ARE parents, partners, friends, and in some cases they have one or two other jobs in addition to yours. If we can give people the tools to do that, they will show up more present at work, do better work, and be more committed to their employer as a result.
Step 3: Emphasize Rest
Whether employees will rest adequately depends HUGELY on culture. On a day to day basis, if the CEO and executive team are seen to be working all hours, so will the vast majority of people in the company. This extends particularly to policies such as unlimited PTO, where in many cases people end up taking LESS time than they would with traditional policies.
More broadly, every time a manager sends an e-mail out of hours, or lauds an employee for working weekends, they are subtly reducing the normal amount of rest in the company. So if you really want to change the norm, consider policies that strongly encourage rest – including more radical solutions such as cash bonuses for taking vacation, and 4 day work weeks. After all, the workplace has changed dramatically since working hours norms were established, and most of us work outside those hours anyway….
Step 4: Recreate daily structure
In many workplaces, we shifted from 9-5 to flextime, and more recently, completely flexible hours, where traditional work hours and meetings with others create a loose agreed upon expected time window when people work. This of course gives people more flexibility, but it also puts the onus almost completely on the employee to figure out how to be effective. In the absence of any structure or processes, all employees have as guidance is the culture of the organization.
According to BillionMinds (2021) some options to help employees to have daily structure is to schedule brief morning standups and evening reviews to have a start to end day. Also they comment to bring back break rooms so that the leaders can meet with the employees so they can follow some behaviors.
The goal here should not be to impose a structure and force everyone to conform, but rather to make it easier for people to create their own structure and repeatable method that is sustainable.
Step 5: Help Employees Find Their Why
In an unstructured ambiguous world of work this last recommendation may be the most important. Perhaps the biggest single challenge with unstructured ambiguous work is understanding WHY we do what we do. Most companies shortcut this badly and just pass the responsibility down to managers.
5 steps to a more effective workplace. (2021, July 21). BillionMinds. https://billionminds.com/effective-workplace/