“We need to realize that times have changed and we need to adjust going forward.”That was the theme of the monthly WorkProud Webinar on October 19, featuring two of the nation’s leading authorities on employee motivation and engagement. Nelson, a best-selling author and president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., was joined by Kevin Sheridan, a best-selling author specializing in employee engagement and virtual management. Sheridan describes the post-pandemic workplace situation as a “wrestling match between companies that want workers coming back into the office and workers trying to stay home. That wrestling match is still going on.” Their hour-long chat, hosted by WorkProud CEO Michael Levy, focused on insights into the hybrid workplace and advice for managers and employees to make it work for everyone. The entire webinar can be seen here. Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights: When remote work is feasible, Sheridan said, the benefits are clear, including attracting and retaining top talent, lower carbon footprint and less stress from long commutes, lower office expenses for the company, and less absenteeism.
“A lot of research indicates that working remotely can be as productive or even more productive,” Nelson concurred.The key to making it work, both men said, is building trust. Nelson said managers need to resist the attitude of “if I can’t see the people, I don’t know they’re working.” He said a CEO once told him “I don’t want you doing your laundry during working hours. “Why is that a problem if someone wants to take a break and throw their wash in?” The key, Nelson stressed, is “Are they getting the job done in the time frames required?” Sheridan agreed. “The reality is these people do not want to be monitored,” he said.
“So look at the outcomes. Are you getting the outcomes you want? If they’re meeting or exceeding their outcomes and they’re doing their wash, who cares?”To make hybrid work successful, Sheridan said, hire the right people. “You want to ask them questions that indicate if you can trust them,” he said. “One of my favorite questions is ‘What is the greatest single mistake you’ve made in the last three years of your job?’ Nine out of ten will not answer that question because they’re afraid to show what they did wrong.
“The people you want to hire are the ones that’ll answer that question, who’ll say, ‘This is the mistake I made and here are the measures I put in place to make sure it’ll never happen again.’”When employees are working remotely, Nelson said, they still need to be engaged and recognized. Younger employees in particular, he said, “want more of that connection, more visibility with management…We have to reach out and do new things to give people that sense of connection to culture, and opportunities for advancement.” One tactic he recommends is what he calls “praise barrages.” At the start of a virtual meeting, he says, go around the group and collect positive feedback for every person. “Whatever they’ve been recognized for, they’ll do a better job at it,” Nelson said.
“That’s the beauty of recognition – you’ve brought the team tighter together.”For people working remotely, Nelson said, “Identify motivators and how people would like to be recognized and do at least what you do for your in-office employees, maybe even more. Check in more often so they don’t feel out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and follow up with face-to-face recognition.” Even if employees aren’t working together, both men said, they can still gather socially to build bonds and celebrate successes. And when they are back in the office, Sheridan said,
“Don’t make it all about work. The missing element in a lot of workplaces is fun.”“Bring fun back to the workplace. Employees like to get to know their coworkers. So encourage them to have one-on-ones with their coworkers and share their best practices.” For new hires, he said, “Make fun part of the onboarding process.” The focus, Nelson concluded, needs to remain on the employees, no matter where they’re working. “If we can wrap around what they need and still get the company’s needs done, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “My definition of engagement is to combine individual aspirations with corporate objectives. If you keep the focus on both of those, you’ll have motivated employees and you’ll get the job done as well.”
WorkProud is committed to helping its clients create a unified approach to the employee experience by helping them build cultures of workplace pride. Trusted by millions of users at some of the world’s most recognized employer brands, WorkProud delivers a comprehensive approach to building company cultures that inspire people to be Proud of their Work and Proud of their Company.
Every month, we share news, knowledge, and insight into what we believe is a pretty simple proposition: If you are “proud of your work and proud of your company,” you are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay with your company for the long haul.