Whilst not entirely surprising, the government’s announcement that office workers should return to working from home, most likely for the next six months, brings more uncertainty for consultancy businesses. For small, collaborative teams that thrive on face to face interaction with colleagues and clients, the prospect of a long winter working at home may feel pretty de-motivating.
We know that employee engagement drives higher performance, so what are the levers that you can pull right now, to engage, support and motivate your people over the next 6 months?
- Recognise and develop – the best consultants are naturally ambitious; always seeking to learn and improve. If your business isn’t growing right now, you may not be able to offer the promotion, pay rises or bonuses that you would like to. This definitely doesn’t mean putting performance and development processes on hold.Think about the competencies or skills that you can build in the team and opportunities for training or knowledge sharing. This will not only indicate commitment to supporting the development of your people but should also strengthen business performance.
- Manage the workload – both excessive work and too little work can cause significant stress, as can obvious disparity within the team. Put in place robust processes for effective resource management and project allocation, with clear internal ownership for resourcing decisions and regular team check-ins.
- Communicate transparently – you employed bright, curious people for a reason! Keeping them in the dark is a sure way to de-motivate and disengage. Instead share details about the business performance with your team even during difficult times. This is not about overburdening people, but about giving them the guidance and opportunity to positively impact the business.
- Hold true to your values – your shared values should be principles that guide how you work together as a team and with clients, in good times and bad. Hold up the mirror and ask yourself whether this is still the case, and if not why. If the values feel wrong or out of date, a collaborative team session to re-orientate could set you all on a clearer path.
- Listen – ask your people what they want and need from you to be happy and effective at work. Having settled into the routine of working from home they will be much more aware of what is important to them now than they were 6 months ago. And not everyone will have the same priorities; think about how you can support both extroverts and introverts in your team. The crucial thing here is to listen and then act upon what you hear!
Ask yourself today – what could you to differently to keep your people motivated and engaged over the next six months?
Article | Recruitment