Returning to ‘A New’ Normal

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With thoughts now turned to getting business back to work, what will that look like? And, how will organisations achieve success in the ‘new normal’?

new normal

Getting back to work, at home?

We’re seeing a shift away from the initial ‘fire-fighting’ of lockdown. Increasingly we hear from clients who need to address the immediate and medium term future to generate stability and a return to growth. This means that organisations must not only get their people back to work, but also ask them how they want to work. 

Crisis often creates change. The future undoubtedly includes a greater degree of home-working. For many, public transport will be out of the question and social distancing will reduce workplace capacity. Employers will therefore have to take into account a mix of office and homeworkers and support them appropriately. A positive outcome of C19 could be the catalyst for change when it comes to more flexible working and less presenteeism.

The move to permanent home and flexible working brings challenges. Leaders will need to develop teams across different locations, no longer as a short-term fix but as the norm. They will need to manage and authentically communicate with their teams differently. Understanding what motivates their people and how to deal with issues before they become business-affecting problems is now more important than ever. 

Managers will also need greater support. They may not be used to looking after remote teams and struggle with the shift away from their usual face-to-face management skills. Less personal interaction may mean that managers will find it hard to pick up on the cues which signal reduced morale or conflict. Online assessment can help to mitigate this and provide managers with the insights they need to monitor and support an individual’s state of emotional intelligence, motivation and resilience.

Resilience, transparency and building confidence

We believe the key qualities and values that organisations must focus on right now are resilience, transparency and building confidence in their workplace strategy. 

Employees will look to their leadership teams to show strength. Not dictatorial, single-minded strength, but authenticity and confidence. Be transparent in your messaging and show calm, respectful and considered leadership. Regularly ask your people for their feedback, and acknowledge it. People know when they are being spun a line, don’t do it.

Solutions for success in the ‘new normal’

Start with your teams. Explore their diversity and the ‘glue’ that holds each unique group together. Your teams are your most powerful resource, more so than individuals and perhaps even leaders. Cohesive, motivated and resilient teams have the ability to pull a business through the bad times and push through into growth. McQuaig’s Team Effectiveness Report helps teams to understand how they can support each other, understand their strengths and overcome conflict.

Team leaders should take a look in their own personal mirror – the McQuaig 360 Leadership Review. This helps them to be better leaders by asking those around them to objectively review their performance. When working alone, it’s easy for a leader to get tunnel vision – the McQuaig 360 gives them the personal insights to nip unhelpful behaviours in the bud, and also feel good about what they are doing well.

Resilience, motivation and emotional intelligence are key to avoiding burnout. Recent research shows that burnout doubled from March to April 2020. While many are on an unexpected furlough, the pressure is very much on those still at work. We’ve heard several stories of endless 12-14 hour days and emotional work-related trauma during this crisis. However, greater emotional intelligence, resilience and motivation can help us to reframe the pressure we face, and make better decisions, which not only benefit the individual but also the organisation. flowprofiler® approaches these as abilities that can be improved and helps to develop self-aware individuals who are inclined to self-regulation in order to behave in an appropriate manner, regardless of what is thrown at them.

The combination of online assessment tools and coaching is a surprisingly ‘quick to implement’ solution that delivers long term results. Effective coaching shines a spotlight on the barriers that may be holding an individual back from achieving their potential. It can also help to avoid burnout by reframing the pressure that they may be under. Assessments such as flowprofiler® and McQuaig give individuals and their coaches the insights they need to dive deep and generate effective coping mechanisms that create not just wellbeing at work but also greater productivity.

It’s important to remember that coaching is not just for senior leaders. Look across your teams – who is struggling? Who might benefit from independent support to help them be the best they can be? Without the face-to-face support of co-workers, some may be finding hard to cope in this new normal. The cost of keeping your best people happy, is likely to be much less than hiring a replacement.

We believe that while the future is definitely going to be a challenge, it’s also exciting. This is a great opportunity to reshape the world of work,  cast a critical eye over what we do and make the positive changes that will secure success.

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