While the working world continues to adapt to the post-Covid era, many companies find themselves in the midst of a huge crisis. Following a difficult year (which will soon complete its second 12-month run), and in the shadow of the past decade’s record-breaking stock issuings, many organizations are finding themselves facing new challenges; internally and externally.
Everyone, without exception, has had to adapt and reestablish their organizations, so as to navigate the Covid “new normal.” As the CEO of a company that specializes in improving performance and decision-making among senior executives, sales teams, and mid-level managers, I am happy to share some operational tips that can help you bring your organization back to a pre-pandemic state of productivity, and perhaps, to a better state of wellbeing.
There’s a three-way battle taking place in the job market
In the first corner – Companies are looking to return to pre-pandemic operational and productivity levels, such as in-office work and hierarchical management cultures. Let’s call this a longing for a return to BC – Before Covid times.
In the second corner – Many companies have seized the opportunity to rethink their organization’s paradigms, consider their employees’ productivity during lockdowns, and conclude that a work-from-home model can be implemented, long-term, without harming the organization at all.
In the third corner – Those who have decided to try and get their hands on the best of both worlds. These are companies that have built hybrid models that integrate in-office and remote work.
The result: a job market that has been divided into three competing “employment religions” that are currently in the midst of a significant battle for talent. Employees are now choosing more than their next professional role or even career path – they are choosing a philosophy or a way of life. Until the market regains a semblance of balance (which, I assume, will take time and much more trial and error), we will likely see many, many employees shifting between workplaces and employment philosophies. This will be further fueled by the exponential rate at which the Digital Revolution continues to develop, creating new productivity tools, platforms, and arenas that will continuously define – and redefine – how work is done and value is created.
For key employees and top talents, These changes are empowering key employees and top talents to choose and embrace the working model that serves their needs best. We are already seeing this to be true, as stats show that millions are handing in their letters of resignation after “tasting the forbidden fruit” that is working from home during the pandemic, or after testing the waters as freelancers, thanks to the remarkable business creation and management tools that are already widely available (i.e. – Fiverr, Upwork, etc.).
These tectonic shifts and “Black Swan” events make the already heavy burden of decision-making and strategy building heavier than ever before. We (at Vayomar) are seeing this first-hand, within the giant corporations and hyper-growth unicorns we are contracted to support and guide. Our unique vantage point (thanks to our work with the wide range of companies and organizations with which we partner) makes it possible for us to gather best practices and guidelines within our domain of expertise.
5 tips that may help you find and attract the best people for your company
Here are some tips for employers seeking to make a post-Covid change for the better:
#1 – Manage your people, not your company
In the absence of an effective cross-organizational, managerial backbone, success can lead to calamity. For example, companies that rush to grow fast (unicorns) or that focus mainly on metrics that make it possible go public, may forgo “long game” strategies, such as investing in a scalable organizational foundation, structure, and processes. Then, once the hundreds of millions are collected in a series C or D, or alternately, millions in granted options become sellable, the company finds itself faced with a massive gap between their expectations and the company’s ability to meet them. In addition, many of their long-standing employees will be tempted to cash out and venture out into the world, depleting the company of its critical mass of key talent, which they most certainly need, if they wish to keep their big promise to the markets.
Building for scale means more than securing consistent market growth and negative churn. It means laying invisible foundations that ensure full cross-organizational alignment, knowledge sharing, and coordinated execution. It also means cultivating a culture that promotes productivity and a sense of shared purpose – from the CEO to the most junior employee and beyond – to encompass the company’s partners, vendors, and entire ecosystem.
#2 – Don’t Let success kill you (scale smartly)
In the absence of an effective cross-organizational, managerial backbone, success can lead to calamity. For example, companies that rush to grow fast (unicorns) or that focus mainly on metrics that make it possible to go public, may forgo “long game” strategies, such as investing in a scalable organizational foundation, structure, and processes. Then, once the hundreds of millions are collected in series C or D funding rounds, or alternately, millions in granted options become sellable, the company finds itself faced with a massive gap between their expectations and the company’s ability to meet them. In addition, many of their long-standing employees will be tempted to cash out and venture out into the world, depleting the company of its critical mass of key talent, which they most certainly need, if they wish to keep their big promise to the markets.
Building for scale means more than securing consistent market growth and negative churn. It also means laying invisible foundations that ensure full cross-organizational alignment, knowledge sharing and coordinated execution. It means cultivating a productivity enhancing culture and a sense of shared purpose that spans from the CEO to the most junior employee and beyond, to encompass the company’s partners, vendors and entire ecosystem.
#3 – Share information and keep the lines of communication open
Don’t hold important discussions in closed quarters, or keep strategic discussions secret. Think twice before you deem any bit of information “confidential.” Transparency is a powerful growth engine and you will rarely regret “over-communicating.”
The more your people understand what’s happening, where the company is heading, and what key obstacles stand in its path, the better they will be able to make day-to-day decisions within the broader context they share. This allows for a more decentralized and autonomous operational reality, which, in turn, can help the entire organization move faster (this concept is called “Swarm Intelligence”). This is even more important for companies that have embraced remote work as a new normal.
#4 – Don’t fear admitting you don’t know (a concept called “known unknowns”)
Speed and heavy fog are a lethal combination for race car drivers. They also seem to be the mark of our times. Changes can be hard and unnerving. There’s so much anxiety caused by what we don’t know. The world is moving faster than ever before, with a level of complexity no previous generation has ever had to overcome. It is perfectly reasonable to experience deep uncertainty and limited visibility, with respect to the future.
Yet, we are “wired” to seek certainty and make sense of the world, and we do so, even when we lack necessary data (this is the root of believing in superstitions). The key here is to fight this deeply rooted predisposition and remain on the empirical/rational path. The first step in this direction is learning to admit when you don’t know something. When we properly map our knowledge gaps, otherwise known as our “known unknowns”, we become that much closer to acquiring the knowledge needed to make the best possible decisions and realize our desired outcomes.
You can help put your employees’ minds at ease by showing them you’re all in the same boat. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you made a decision (and you stand by it), but that you aren’t yet sure what it might lead to in the near or far-off future. Conversely, do strive to discuss decisions that did not lead to their intended outcomes. Admitting knowledge gaps is also an important step towards cultivating psychological safety among our people, which is a critical component to any company’s sustainable success. You might just be surprised by the confidence your lack of confidence infuses in your workers, motivating them to help you navigate the change to safe, calmer waters.
#5 – Don’t just accept change… learn to love it!
Last but not least, remember that change never really ends. In the words of Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” Even once you’ve shifted to a hybrid model and everything seems to be running smoothly, you must remain alert and at the ready; the next change is likely just around the corner. Therefore, in addition to the four previous tips, think about how you can continuously develop your people’s change management muscles and mindsets. Ask yourself what you can do to make your organization and its people truly love change. Don’t just ask yourself how to bounce back from an unexpected crisis, ask yourself how you can bounce forward. Invest in creating a culture in which fear of the unknown can be replaced with curiosity and excitement for all the positive potential that a future with infinite possibilities must undeniably hold.
Are you ready to win the great battle and secure (and retain) great talents?
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