July 19, 2021
The Big Shuffle: Preparing for the “next normal”
Ever-changing guidelines, reopenings, and lockdowns have challenged organizations to make overnight decisions while still setting long-term strategies for accommodating their employees in uncertain times.
Bravely joined Sapling, Lever, and Webflow to host a conversation about all things return-to-workplace. From the challenges of hybrid work environments to building trust and transparency in making critical decisions for every employee segment, people leaders are juggling several considerations for post-COVID transitions.
The panelists, Nicole Hopkins (Director of People, Webflow), Hakemia Jackson (Bravely Pro), and Sarah Britton (Senior Manager of Employee Operations, Lever), all shared valuable insights on the difficulties People teams are facing, as well as experiential advice for responding to these challenges. Nicole explained that a major hurdle in dealing with remote or hybrid workforces is ensuring that no employee is excluded from team bonding moments. One way to mitigate this, she said, is to give employees as many options as possible and to account for time zones when having company offsites and other events meant for team-building.
Hakemia shared an optimistic vision of hybrid work environments, explaining that they function best when leaders are adaptable and allow their talent to choose their own directions. Importantly, Hakemia reminded us that these discussions do not start and end by sharing best practices or building norms for tough transitions. It’s to everyone’s benefit to accept that shifts will inevitably occur and to stay open to discovering new ways to support your employees. Listening to their needs and responding with individualized support, she said, is a crucial method of discovery.
Sarah from Lever said that you must show your people that their feedback is being heard and taken seriously, which requires taking steps beyond surveys and other informal forms of feedback. Understanding employee needs is only one step in a larger journey of actionable improvement of their life at work. All the panelists agreed that taking a hybrid approach, not just to your physical office environment but to other career-changing moments in an employee lifecycle, is the best way to navigate the constant shifting of the world around us. Giving choice and agency to your talent can create a flourishing, caring, and trustworthy culture at your organization– as long as you are open to leading with transparency, intentionality, and vulnerability.
Key principles for the next normal
- In unpredictable times, a great rule of thumb is for leaders and team members to be transparent with one another
- Facilitating one-on-one conversations and laying all your cards out on the table can help ensure that everyone at work is getting the support they need.
- When all the answers are not right there in front of you– which they are often not– remain intentional with your actions and be open to new changes
- Staying true to your company values can cultivate a forward-thinking and mission-driven employee base.
- Lean into openness about whatever you are struggling with at work; someone else is likely experiencing something similar.
- Being vulnerable with your team members and leaders can maintain connection and support through challenging transitions.
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