The importance of preserving and promoting a positive workplace culture has never been greater. It should come as no surprise that according to a recent pulse survey by PwC, the top-ranked workforce priority for CHROs was maintaining organizational culture. As the business world emerges from the pandemic, how can companies cultivate a more impactful workplace—both in the office and at home?
In the latest issue in our Talent Talk series, I sat down with Trisha Daho, Founder and CEO of Empowered Leadership Cultivation, to learn more about her unique perspectives on how to drive an improved workplace culture. Trisha offered the following tips for businesses on how they can make suitable adjustments to foster a more engaging and inclusive work environment.
Create consistent and powerful communication protocols and practices.
Leaders have never had to be as effective with their communication skills as they do now when managing teams that are both working in the office and remotely. From executing day-to-day tasks to mentoring team members, leadership is entirely different in a hybrid environment. That’s why—according to Trisha—developing communications strategies are critical to the success of individual teams.
“I’m a big believer in creating communications protocols for individual teams and across the organization,” said Trisha. “Communication from executive leadership to middle managers and to employees must be meaningful—and to measure the success of their communication approach, companies can utilize surveys, 360 feedback, emotional intelligence pulses, and other means of gathering input from their people.”
Most managers and leaders have never had to communicate across several mediums at once to lead and manage their employees. Most employees have never had to navigate careers remotely or in a hybrid workplace. The entire team will benefit greatly from structure and guidance for communication in all aspects of the workplace.
There is no longer a clear line between personal and professional lives.
During the past year, leaders have received a crash course on how to help their employees navigate through personal and professional challenges. The lines that formerly separated employees’ work lives from their home lives are now forever blurred. According to Trisha, empathy is what separates the “good” leaders from the “bad” ones.
“In this day and age, you can’t be a leader with no empathy,” she commented. “Being a leader today requires a level of empathy and intuition around what our employees need from us while continuing to help and support them navigate through changing circumstances.”
From a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) perspective, leaders have also been given a unique view into the struggles that people of different backgrounds have faced throughout the pandemic. Learning from these experiences can help leaders more effectively set their employees up for success and foster a sense of belonging for all.
Create a strong cultural pull to the office on days it matters most to you and your teams.
For most workers, the remote work environment has proven to be incredibly effective and productive. Employees know they can successfully handle their responsibilities from home—so why would they want to return to the office?
According to Trisha, enticing your workforce to return to the office is all about the attractions that can be offered. Organizations must cultivate a meaningful and impactful work environment that enables employees to collaborate, celebrate, learn, and grow.
“If you’re under the delusion that your employees are wildly more productive in the office, then you’re completely missing the boat,” said Trisha. “Employees want to come to the office to develop informal relationships, receive development from leadership, and commune with their teams in more worthwhile ways. This must be the employer’s primary focus if/when they develop any sort of return-to-office plan.
Be very conscious of your treatment of ALL employees.
It’s human nature to develop relationships with people that are around us every day. As more and more employees are working from home, leaders must disrupt the inclination to focus on their workers that are working in the office. In Trisha’s eyes, this “out of sight, out of mind” way of thinking is detrimental to the success of the hybrid workforce.
“As a leader, you have to ensure that your entire team feels included and engaged—not simply the employees that are working in the office,” she said. “Leaders need to create scenarios where their work-from-home employees are just as close to them as those workers that are physically in the office. While this requires intentional thinking and doing, it’s one wrinkle of the hybrid workforce that can’t be overlooked.”