Developing your team in 2021
As we ease out of lockdown, many senior managers are keen to get their organisations onto a firmer footing to meet the challenges of the new normal. Team development is key – and it starts from the top.
So, how can your leaders build strong teams across the organisation? How has Covid-19 changed your company culture? And why is it more essential than ever to focus on staff wellbeing and mental health?
In this blog, we look at four factors to help build effective teams.
1. Taking company culture online
Even with restrictions easing, it’s clear that remote working is here to stay. But just how can you maintain positive working relationships when you rarely see your team members?
At Connect Assist, we’ve put a lot of consideration into replicating our supportive company culture online. While chatting around the water cooler might be out, virtual team quizzes and coffee mornings are very much in.
Consider who the “morale officers” are in your organisation – the people at any level who bolster team spirit, arrange social activities, and generally act as the glue that holds your team together even in the toughest of times. How can you carry their invaluable yet informal work across to a virtual space?
2. Communicating with your teams
It’s widely accepted that the single most important step in building a team is communication. But if you can no longer rely on informal chats with your team members, what can you do?
We’ve shifted our debriefs, one-on-ones and team meetings online. Managers are also alert and sensitive to subtle changes, so if a member of staff seems withdrawn, we’ll phone them for a chat.
Our staff know that we’re sympathetic to issues such as home-schooling and mental health. They are aware they can call us in confidence.
It’s particularly important for frontline staff who deal with difficult or distressing calls.
3. Conducting employee engagement surveys
Equally, it’s important to understand that your staff don’t always want to air grievances or give feedback openly.
The decision of how to run these surveys, in-house versus using an external organisation is a key one. There are benefits to both, but to get the best results from your survey – no matter which route you chose- you need to make certain your are communicating with your staff ahead of time.
Employee engagement surveys let staff express opinions anonymously on issues such as: satisfaction with leadership; their long-term aspirations; and changes to working practices.
It’s also vital that you use the findings to shape policies. There’s really nothing worse than the “corporate shrug” – when leaders know there’s a problem, but choose to plough on regardless. It’s an attitude that leads to lost productivity, high absenteeism and staff turnover, and lasting damage to your business.
Be ready to draw up action plans and make changes.
4. Offering wellbeing and mental health support
So, what action can you take? Of course, that depends on the feedback. But it’s essential that you don’t ignore wellbeing and mental health issues.
As our CEO Ron Moody says: “You have to be a mindful employer. A big chunk of leadership time must be invested in the wellbeing of your people.”
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are well worth the investment.
At Connect Assist, we introduced a new EAP at the start of lockdown, including services such as 24/7 GP and counselling support, wellbeing apps, and online personal coaching. It’s got fantastic feedback from staff, while usage is 280% higher compared with our previous programme.
These initiatives may seem like a nice-to-have rather than an essential, especially if your organisation is fighting for survival. But an organisation that values and nurtures staff is one that can attract a wider pool of talent, retain dedicated workers, and provide an all-round better service to customers.
At Connect Assist, we know that staff are the beating heart of any business. To find out how your teams could benefit from our support, including our consultancy or call centre services, get in touch today.