Top Best Practices for Managing a Remote Team

Top Best Practices for Managing a Remote Team. If you want to help your employees feel connected and engaged, especially in times of crisis such as COVID-19, follow these 20 advices:-

If you want to help your employees feel connected and engaged, especially in times of crisis such as COVID-19, follow these 20 advices

1. Give employees a sense of belonging

A study by The Wall Street Journal suggests that one of the crucial factors that separates successful companies from others are those that give employees a sense of belonging

The author, Sue Shellenbarger, states: 

“Amid growing divisiveness and stridency in public life, a sense of belonging at the office will be increasingly prized by employees, and a crucial condition for fostering innovation.”

2. Define goals for remote workers

According to research, 39% of people working from home complete their tasks faster than those in fixed workplaces.

However, in order to set them up for success, employers have to set clear and measurable goals for their remote employees. 

With remote teams – where communication is more challenging and things can get lost in translation – it’s important to be crystal clear about their duties and responsibilities.

3. Improve your overall internal communications strategy

If your overall communication strategy is not successful, engaging your remote employees will be mission impossible. 

Therefore, employers should put more effort into prioritizing employee relations and engagement efforts.

4. Communicate regularly 

Setting up periodic virtual or in-person all-company meetings is crucial to help everyone stay on the same page and understand core company values

This is especially true for remote employees who do not have the opportunity to communicate with their co workers in person on a daily basis. 

5. Check in frequently and be proactive

As remote teams may feel disconnected, managers who lead remote teams need to make themselves available. 

Frequent check-ins with remote workers is a great way to help them overcome challenges that come with remote work. 

Waiting for an employee to speak up may be too late. In fact, many of them will never decide to raise a problem themselves. 

Frequently ask a simple question such as “How can I help you be more productive and feel more connected.”

6. Make collaboration more efficient

Team collaboration is one of the main factors for greater productivity. Therefore, many employers are trying to improve the way remote teams work together. 

Team collaboration and employee engagement solutions are the best way to eliminate this challenge faced by most companies who have remote employees. 

7. Put relevant information at their fingertips

Here at Smarp, we believe that that employee should not spend hours to find relevant information. The information should find them

The#NoSearching Revolution, as we like to call it, changes the way employees search for and find information that makes them more productive. 

8. Encourage continuous engagement

Do you have a central place where all your employees can easily collaborate and engage on a daily basis?  With modern internal communications tools, employees can now instantly share interesting content from within the company. Therefore, you should encourage your remote employees to stay engaged and join the conversations even if they are not physically there. 

9. Make collaboration and communication fun

In order to keep your remote employees engaged, you should add some fun to it. This is a great approach not only to engage everyone but also to share a piece of company culture that remote employees can not experience as often as non-remote employees.  

10. Empower your remote employees

Remote workers want to be a part of decision making in companies that they work for. They want to have a word and be heard. Therefore, employers should empower remote employees to make their own decisions, communicate and implement new ideas

So, why should you care about employee empowerment?

According to research on employee empowerment, employees who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement at the 24th percentile.

On the other side, those with a high level of empowerment were at the 79th percentile. Clearly, empowerment counts.

11. Enable and encourage knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing among employees is beneficial for both company success and employee development

For remote teams or employees, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing is critical as they may have less opportunity for in-person knowledge sharing or social learning.

Luckily, modern technology solutions make knowledge sharing much easier even when employees are located on the other side of the world. 

12. Offer career growth opportunities

Career growth opportunities are one of the main factors that attract and keep talent within companies. 

Often times, remote workers get neglected here. In order to keep them happy and engaged, some career advancement opportunities should be available. 

13. Establish a work-from-home policy

Clarity is crucial for remote workers to be productive. Therefore, if you do have remote employees, you should also have a work-from-home policy

Even if you support flexibility, some rules should be applied as this helps employees feel like they are a part of your organizational culture. 

14. Encourage peer-to-peer feedback

Consistent peer-to-peer feedback is a great way to connect remote employees. This is just another way to encourage their collaboration and communication and to learn from each other. 

In fact, according to PwC, nearly 60% of survey respondents reported that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis—a number that increased to 72% for employees under age 30.

In order for peer-to-peer feedback to be more successful and motivational, you may think of implementing a rewards and recognition program

15. Train your managers

For remote teams to be productive and engaged, it is crucial for managers to understand how remote employees should be led and managed. In fact, 56% of employees believe that managers should update their skills to support a remote team. 

Train your managers on best practices for communicating with your company’s remote teams. 

16. Consider a remote work space

Even though 78% of remote workers use their home as their primary place of work, remote work or co-working spaces have been rising in their popularity. 

Having a remote work space can help remote employees who live close by get together or simply get away from interruptions that working from home can cause. 

17. Organize company retreats

Getting together in person once or twice a year to discuss the future of the company and strengthen team relationships is crucial for remote employees to feel connected. 

Organize team building activities so that remote workers get the chance to meet with each other. 

18. Forget about email conversations

Remote communication can distort the normal pace of employee conversations. How many times have you written an email and felt concerned about how it would land and if someone will read it or not? 

Emails should just not be the primary way of internal communications as there are now tools that offer instant communication in which information does not get buried. 

19. Choose the right communication tool

Luckily, there are tools designed to overcome communication barriers remote work brings into organizations. 

Technological innovations simplify remote communication and team collaboration and give distributed teams just as much of an opportunity to be engaged as teams who spend their days working between the same four walls. 

The key here is to make it as easy as possible for your employees to keep up with the latest company updates and find all the materials and information they need without having to look for it. 

We’ve summarized in the short video below tips and tricks to effectively communicate with your employees during the pandemic 👇

20. Make remote employees your advocates

In order to increase involvement and engagement of your remote employees, you can make them your brand ambassadors.

This is a great way to show them appreciation, help them build their personal brand and help them develop a sense of belonging. 

In addition, enhancing employee advocacy has numerous benefits for companies as they can drive sales, build brand awareness and help in employer branding and talent acquisition efforts. 

2020 Marks the Abrupt Shift to Remote Work

With COVID-19 spreading at a fast pace, companies have no choice but to rush into remote work to protect their employees from the virus.

For example, Amazon, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Google advised workers to stop coming in to the office already in February. In early March, Twitter “strongly advised” all its employees worldwide to do the same, before making remote work compulsory a few days later. “We understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times,” Twitter’s head of HR, Jennifer Christie, said in a message to staff.

According to remote work strategist Laurel Farrer, it typically takes six to 12 weeks for a smooth transition from on-site to remote work under normal circumstances.

As the pandemic is spreading at unprecedented pace, businesses are adjusting on the fly. They don’t have the option to offer a smooth transition to remote work to their employees, which is problematic for most of them. 

In times of crisis, how to coordinate employees’ efforts, how to ensure flawless cross-departmental collaboration, and how to maintain team productivity when employees are scattered across the globe with multiple time zones?

Analysts and experts agree that the shift to remote work we are experiencing now is not a temporary measure. Instead, it’s redefining the future of work

To get a better understanding of what the workplace may look like in the near feature, let’s take a look into the advantages and disadvantages of remote work.

Pros and Cons of Remote Work

Here are the top 6 positive effects that remote work may have on your business. 

1. Saved time on commuting

Remote work saves time and money for your employees and it can have a positive impact on your business as well. Commuting every day can have a negative effect on your employees, especially if we are talking about long everyday train or bus rides from one city to another.  When working remotely, your employees can spend their time on things they love doing, which will have a positive effect on their happiness and motivation in the long run.

2. Lower expenses

If a number of your employees work remotely that means that you will need to rent less office space, which can save you a lot of money every month. Also, having more employees working from home can reduce your costs on office materials and equipment. 

There are also commuting costs which can take a good chunk of money out of your employees pockets. So it is a win-win situation in which both employees and the company can save a lot of money.

3. Increased productivity

Various studies have proven that employees working from home are more productive than those working in the office. 

For example, a study from Stanford found that employees working from home are, on average, 13% more productive

4. Easier recruitment and better retention rates

Working from home has become one of the benefits that employers use a lot in their recruitment and talent acquisition efforts

Millennials and Generation Z want flexibility and mobility in their everyday life. This means that, in the future, it will be much easier to hire people if you can offer them to work remotely. 

Option of a remote work will certainly make your search for great talent much easier, even if that talent comes from a far away city or country. 

5. More flexibility

As long as the results are not missing, your employees can be free to organize their days.

A computer connected to the internet and a mobile phone are what is required to do remote work which means that employees can set up their office wherever they want. Also, they can arrange their workspace as they like.

6. Less sick days and lower absenteeism

For remote workers, a number of days spent on sick leave is lower.  SOHO report tells us that remote workers, on average, take 2.4 sick days per year, compared to 2.6 days on average for office workers.

Employees that are working remotely only take sick leave when they have serious medical problems that require them to go to a doctor or hospital.

Even though remote work may help you build a successful business, it also has drawbacks you need to keep in mind while managing your remote teams. 

1. Lower work-life balance

Remote work isn’t just a different way to work – it’s a different way to live. Remote work isn’t always as perfect as it may seem. In fact, many remote workers struggle with unplugging from their work which may have a negative work-life balance. 

According to Buffer, this is the biggest challenge remote workers face and 22% of remote employees that they struggle to unplug after work

2. More distractions

Remote employees need to be able to remain disciplined throughout their day in order to avoid certain distractions while at home. For some people, this is easy to do, but can struggle to switch into ‘work mode’ when working from home. 

To avoid distractions and less of productivity, remote workers should make sure their work environment is tidy before starting work. 

3. Decreased sense of belonging and connection

Remote employees can sometimes feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of the company. Not being able to connect personally with team members may cause remote employees feel like they are not a part of the company’s culture and important company moments. 

Some remote workers, a few days a week go to work to a local coffee shop or travel to the office to have that important connection with their colleagues.

4. Lack of communication

Communication problems are something every company that has remote employees is trying to improve. As these employees are often excluded from every-day, spontaneous happenings in the offices, it is important to present some of that culture to them

Lack of communication, in the long run, often causes lower levels of engagement and motivation. Therefore, employers should put more effort into encouraging remote employees to join the conversation and feel like a part of the team. 

5. Lower reliability and accountability

With remote work comes less control. It is not easy to manage and track everything that a remote employee does especially if their work is not highly measurable. 

For that reason, you will never see a manager who loves to micromanage form a remote work. Here, it is extremely important to build a strong sense of trust and belonging

6. Increased security challenges

If your business deals with sensitive data, remote work can bring risks and challenges. When you put something online, especially when it goes public, it’s almost impossible to take it all back. 

Other risky situations include data leaks or employees stealing data. Data theft by employees, both remote and co-located, may be more common than you think.

Communication Challenges Remote Employees Face on a Daily Basis

Remote work requires a completely different mindset than working in traditional offices. In fact, 20% of remote employees say that they lack a sense of belonging and sometimes feel lonely. 

Here are a few more important stats on remote work that you should be aware of.

The thing is, you need to be extra cautious these days as it’s your entire team that is working remotely.

What’s more, your employees are working remotely until further notice. And because of that, they may feel even more disconnected and lonely than under normal circumstances. 

When employees are in the office, they engage on a daily basis and feel truly connected. This could take the form of a water-cooler conversation, lunch with a coworker, or even visually observing meetings taking place.

With remote teams, these types of conversations are not possible and, as a result, remote workers can frequently feel disconnected. This is a challenge companies need to actively work on, especially these days. 

How To Be A Happy And Productive Remote Worker

Some challenges of remote work include feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection. However if you get the right mix – you can become most productive as a remote worker. I truly believe that putting good learnings into place will help those working remotely for the first time—or for the fortieth time—be their best remote working selves.

This post was documented on the 15th March – 1 Month Ago!!!! Now this may become a lifestyle so a great read – Recycled!!!

Remote Working

Whether you’ve been working remotely for a decade (like me!) or are just getting started on your remote working journey, there are ways of making sure it’s a delight instead of a total drag. 

For the many that are forced to embrace our way of working now -there may be fear, anxiety and a lot of uncertainty. But to be honest its the best way to work i feel and for years i have belonged to remote organisations and have been attending church remotely, conferences remotely and have absolutely loved being connected even though i was not physically in that room. So embrace this season to become more tech savvy.

In a recent survey, 77% of respondents reported greater productivity when working remotely compared to working in an office setting. In a different survey, 82% of respondents reported feeling happier when working remotely. 

However, remote work is not all sunshine and yoga pants. 

Some challenges of remote work include feelings of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection. However if you get the right mix – you can become most productive as a remote worker. I truly believe that putting good learnings into place will help those working remotely for the first time—or for the fortieth time—be their best remote working selves.

What Is Remote Work?

I’m going to define remote work as “working from home, collaborative spaces (or wherever you choose) as a discipline.”

This means you’re treating remote work with an appropriate amount of respect and thoughtfulness at both an individual and at a team level. 

You’re constantly trying to better yourself as a remote worker, and build a balanced remote culture within your team. The next most important thing is for your team to develop a shared context. A shared context means everyone is playing by the same rules, understands the team’s rituals and practices, and feels that they are operating in an equitable environment.

A normal programme at the Leadership Academy SA.  Some people are in offices, some people are working remotely. Can you tell?

Most people who work on Leadership Academy SA activities  do so remotely. We decided to go down that road early on when we were a startup because remote work enabled us to meet anytime and anywhere, we get to hire the best people regardless of location, develop a results-oriented culture, and scale our processes digitally.

So how did we do it?

Let’s first explore what it really means to be a “remote worker” because that’s the first step to success. 

Working From Home Does Not Equal Remote Work

In a lot of companies, “working from home” is synonymous with well, not really working.

One of the biggest misconceptions about remote work is that we’re all just sitting around in our yoga pants, binging Netflix, and doing our laundry. I think this comes from a mentality that, if you can’t see someone, how do you truly “know they are working?”

That’s got to be the first cultural myth to dispel in any organization that is really, sincerely willing to give remote work a fair chance. When remote work is your day-to-day reality, and not a wink wink nudge nudge exception, it becomes imperative to figure out the best ways to work.

People have different times where their energy peaks and you will see their are extremely productive – for some its 11pm at night and for others its 4am- remote workers get to schedule their time around this productivity. the worst thing is to be stuck on a commute during your most productive thinking time. So here are some insights on how to develop a remote working plan.

LASA’s Rules For Remote Work

We’ve developed a list of rules and practices that help maintain a shared context and help our team work together no matter where they are located.

1. Assume Remote

If even one person on your team is not in an office, assume remote. This means that you should take meetings from your desk and make sure to share all context of said meeting in a recording of some sort – either written – but i actually just share the link of the actual recording as soon as possible.


2. Have A Dedicated Office Space With A Door That Closes

When you’re working remotely full time, it’s important to designate and optimize a workspace that is not your kitchen counter or living room couch. I have dedicated Home office. Which is private and very beautiful, it’s my haven for productivity.

The door that closes is about making sure you’re creating the mental space to focus. This means having dedicated childcare when you’re working, just as you would if you were working in a traditional office environment.

3. Have The Tools To Do Your Job. 

Every team needs to use a defined digital toolset and every individual needs to have a strong internet connection. For example, we use Zoom for video meetings, Watsapp for chat,  Google Docs for sharing docs. Your toolset may be different, but defining it as a team is important for developing that shared context.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate 

Follow the Rule of Seven, which states that people need to hear a message seven times before they’ll internalize it. If you feel like you’re over-communicating information, you’re probably communicating just the right amount.

5. Schedule Face Time

Make sure your team has the opportunity to meet and bond in person. Having regular off-sites is key to fostering human relationships that make working remotely function better and more smoothly.

Working remotely only works in organisations where Leadership Abilities are high – like ours. The reality is we are an organisation built on trust, purpose and autonomy. These are things we have cultivated for year. I guess it true that leaders keep climbing the tallest tree and keep a good vision of changing terrains. If you haven’t been fortunate for gearing your team to work remotely, maybe now would be a good time.

Reach out to us to assist helping you develop a plan to keep your greatest asset healthy in this very tumultuous time

with Love

Ella

Good is the Enemy of Great

We can do good work on auto-pilot, but great work takes initiative, creativity, passion and courage. That sounds like a lot of effort when there’s no burning need to change.

Cultures of Leadership Greatness Improves Employee Engagement 

Introduction

Jim Collins opened his book Good to Great with the statement, “Good is the enemy of great.” He explained that when we have good schools, good businesses and good government, we are prone to accept that level of quality as sufficient. Collins observed: “Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is so easy to settle for a good life.”

Many people have bold aspirations and dreams, but they end up settling for good instead of great. Unfortunately, good gives us a false sense of security. We feel ok because whilst we may not have reached our potential, at least we’re not bad. 

We can do good work on auto-pilot, but great work takes initiative, creativity, passion and courage. That sounds like a lot of effort when there’s no burning need to change

That’s why good is the enemy of great. It’s because it lulls us, deadens us and seduces us into thinking that we don’t really need to try. You’re not that bad, so why bother?

Too many times, we think that as long as we aren’t the worst, as long as we’re competent, if the person in the next cubicle isn’t performing as well as we are, then that’s good enough. It’s not anymore. The world as we know has changed and continues to change- we are living in a VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous times. There are many pressures existing externally and beside that have internal pressures that tells us that business as usual is not going to cut it any longer.

The only way to keep relevant is to strive for greatness. We need every person within our organisation to strive for greatness. We need our performance to match our potential. We need to step up and go to the next level. We need to aspire to greatness!

The Leadership Academy SA

That’s where we come in, as the Leadership Academy SA, we are an organisation of Leadership and Performance Coaches that aims at optimizing workplaces for economic and human development, by providing tools that create cultures of leadership greatness. 

We are a partnership with International Leadership Author and Authority on Leadership Dr. John C Maxwell, and the The Coaching Authorities:The International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Harvard Institute of Coaching.

The State of the Global Workforce 

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2017, GLOBALLY Only 13% of adults who work full time for an employer and are engaged at work across 142 countries worldwide are engaged in their jobs, 63% are disengaged, 24% are actively disengaged. The low percentages of engaged employees represent a barrier to creating high- performing cultures around the world.

What is the correlation between employee engagement and business outcomes?

According to Gallup’s employee engagement survey engaged employees produce better business outcomes (based on a composite of financial, customer, retention, safety, quality, shrinkage and absenteeism metrics) than other employees do, across industries, company sizes and nationalities, and in good economic times and bad. How do we improve Employee engagement?

We believe Leadership is the answer. 

“Everything rises and falls on leadership,” states Dr. John C. Maxwell, “Most people like being leaders by title and position, but being called a leader is only half the battle, learning to lead is the other half”. Dr. Maxwell explains that the key to greatness is transforming yourself and those around you into leaders who successfully lead in the real world is the key to success or failure for any organisation. 

People working with leaders who understand and live out their leadership ability are significantly more satisfied with those leaders’ actions and strategies. They also feel more committed, excited, energized, influential, and powerful. There’s no hard evidence to support the assertion that leadership is imprinted in the DNA of only some individuals. Leadership is not a gene, and it’s not a trait—it’s a set of skills, and anyone can learn new skills. 

How can an organisation create a leadership culture?

By creating a leadership culture at every level of the organization, you’re also creating a culture of accountability, boosting overall productivity, and raising organizational outcomes. How can you get started? 

Below we’ve outlined four methods to create a leadership culture.

1. Provide the Right Foundation

Clarify:

Leadership Development is a highly misunderstood factor. Many times, people and organisations use the words management and leadership interchangeably. Understand the difference between management and leadership. 

Gain Buy-in:

Attain buy-in from all levels of the organisation is key to instilling a leadership culture.

Peter Druker stated: “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast”. A culture of apathy and disengagement is sometimes evident from board level and runs rife to the lower levels of organisations. Therefore a culture of leadership demonstrated at board level improves the culture of the entire organisation. 

Training: Our programme Corporate Leadership and Governance has been developed to equip boards on effective leadership development at this level.

Develop:

Develop a recruitment strategy to attract leaders and develop new and junior-level staff to be leaders by giving them skills to increase focus, improve efficiency, and maximize their individual impact within a team. 

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Tool: Born to Win Toolkit.

2. Develop Strengths

All employees have strengths — the unique combination of talents, knowledge, skills, and practice that help them do what they do best every day. These strengths provide employees and employers with their greatest opportunities for success. What leaders do, or fail to do, with this workforce potential has enormous implications for a company’s future. Gallup’s data show that simply learning their strengths makes employees 7.8% more productive, and teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity. Investing in and focusing on employees’ talents boosts employee and customer engagement, according to Gallup’s research, leading to higher levels of performance, profitability, productivity, and greater earnings per share for businesses. Helping people play to their strengths is the most time-effective way to improve their performance and engagement at work.

Tools: Good2Great Leadership Strengths and Leadership Practices Assessment.

3. Promote Great Leadership Practices 

Culture wins. Culture is the behaviours and practices of the leaders of the organisation. 

Most leaders want leadership culture but the problem is that in many companies they just talk the talk and don’t walk the walk. Often the leadership culture then becomes just a reflection of the leader, which may be created subconsciously rather than consciously.

Our leadership practices fall into 5 broad categories: (1) Challenging the Process (2) Inspiring a Shared Vision (3) Enabling Others to Act (4) Modelling the Way (5)Encouraging the Heart 

Tools: Good2Great Leadership Strengths and Leadership Practices Assessment.

4. Develop Growth plans with leadership strengths and practises in mind. 

Leading Companies like Google, Microsoft, Accenture and Deloitte understand that the people development continuum needs to be revolutionized to help people be their best at work and life. We suggest performance appraisals include a leadership growth plan. The approach includes real-time, frequent, forward-looking coaching discussions that helps people:

• Understand expectations

• Build on their strengths

• Understand areas for growth

• Achieve their career aspirations

In Conclusion

“With two-thirds of the workforce being Millennials and Gen Z just around the corner, we need to be extremely relevant to our people. When we look at our return on investment, we not only focus on our return to shareholders or return to reinvest back into our business — but also on the return to our people. Putting our people at the center and helping them to achieve their best is part of our talent-led DNA” Google CEO

Business and political leaders must recognize when traditional patterns in management practices, education or gender roles, for example, become roadblocks to workers’ motivation and productivity, and when selectively disrupting tradition will help clear a path to greater prosperity and transformed company cultures. Employers who focus on replacing outdated management processes with ones that enhance workplace cultures and support engagement can drive their percentage of engaged workers much higher than average. This is the journey from good to great!!!

Jim Collins, Good to Great, 2012

Gallup State of the Global workplace, 2017

Gallup Q12® Meta-Analysis Report, 2017

John C Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within, 2017

Workplace of the 21st Century

The Generational Melting Pot

Sam is a 22 years old, and an enthusiastic new starter at your organization. This is the career that she has wanted since high school and, now that she’s got her degree and joined your team, she’s impatient to impress her new colleagues with her ambition and creativity. But she soon finds the going tough. Some of her fellow team members don’t seem to appreciate her eagerness, and they are wary of her ideas and suggestions. But she soon finds the going tough.

The team is a mixed bunch. Some are middle-aged and others are nearing retirement, and have been at the company for years. They feel that Sam doesn’t understand the way that things get done in the organization. Her enthusiasm and energy is starting to wane as she feels worn down by their reluctance to consider new ideas. So much has changed in the way our customers engage with our products, but all Sam gets is a deaf ear, raised eye-brows and dis-engagement.

Sam isn’t alone. Around the world and across industries, more generations than ever before are working together. Increasingly, it’s younger employees who are leading older team members , turning the established order on its head. This new scenario can cause problems, but it also presents opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience. This article explores how to thrive within a multi-generational workplace.

In days gone by, it was common for just two age groups to be represented in the workplace. There were long-serving, “dyed-in-the-wool” old-timers and ambitious newcomers. Times have changed, and now you could find yourself working with as many as five generations. Broadly speaking, each one has its own set of preferences, styles, perspectives, and experiences.

Introducing the Generations

This table shows the different age groups that are in the labor force today. It describes their traits and characteristics, and how they are frequently stereotyped.

Recent findings show that Millennials  are the biggest generation in the U.S. workforce, followed closely by Generation X  and the Baby Boomers. Silents are a small minority, and the youngest generation – the Zs – are just starting to enter the workforce.

The Potential – and the Pitfalls – of Multi-Generational Workplaces

Generational diversity has great potential. People from different generations can grow and learn from one another as they are exposed to one another’s ideas and experiences. The new perspectives they gain can spark new ideas and prompt new ways of working.

However, the potential for conflict and misunderstanding is very real. Intergenerational conflict within the workplace is a growing issue. A 2011 study found that “intergenerational cohesion” is one of the top three workplace risks.

Different generations can struggle to understand one another’s values and working styles. Working together and sharing power can be problematic. And as more people delay their retirement, younger generations can feel that their opportunities for career advancement are being restricted.

Six Strategies for Multi-Generational Harmony

So, now that our workplaces are more generationally diverse than at any time in history, but at risk of conflict because of this, how do we all work together harmoniously? Here are six strategies for thriving within a multi-generational mix.

1. Establish Respect

It doesn’t matter how old or how experienced we are, we all crave respect. And, just as newcomers need to respect older generations’ seniority and experience, so long-servers need to adjust to and respect the talent and potential of younger generations. Only when each group respects the other can both thrive.

The key to respecting other generations is to understand and accept that they are different  from yours. Consider what motivates people from different generations, what experiences they might have had, and what their working styles are likely to be. The table above can help you.

2. Be Flexible and Accommodating

When you understand what makes other generations “tick,” being able to accommodate their needs and preferences, where practical, can help to prevent division and conflict.

Each generation has its wants and needs, and values different ways of working. Older generations often have fewer responsibilities and costs at home and they appreciate the opportunity to work part-time or reduced hours, so that they can enjoy the benefits and rewards of a lifetime’s work. But an increasing number of Generation Xers are part of the “sandwich generation ,” responsible for caring for both elders and children alongside their work. And for members of Generation Y, a sociable life outside of work is often just as important as their career.

3. Avoid Stereotyping

It’s easy to stereotype different groups. For example, if you’re a Baby Boomer, you may think of Millennials as tech-obsessed and lacking in people skills. To Generation Z, Boomers may seem to be stubborn and inflexible.

Everyone is unique so, instead of assuming the worst, fight your unconscious bias  and accept individuals based on their merits, rather than as “typical” members of particular generations. Remember, chances are, somebody may be stereotyping you! You can change their perceptions and attitude by demonstrating a willingness to listen to new ideas or suggestions, and, as we explore below, by sharing your knowledge and expertise.

4. Learn From One Another

The different generations have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can share.

The Boomers in your team, for example, can pass on the knowledge, information, useful contacts, and perspectives that they have developed during their years at work. In return, a Generation Y colleague can help them to get to grips with recent innovations, such as the latest developments in social media and viral marketing.

Successful multi-generational teams identify, value and build on one another’s skills and experiences. This focus on individual strengths, rather than on generational differences, is a key part of thriving in the modern workplace.

5. Tailor Your Communication Style

The generations often have their preferred methods of communication. Silents and Boomers tend to use one-on-one, telephone or written communication, whereas Generations X and Y tend to like emails and texts. Generation Z generally prefers the collaborative interaction of social media.

Generations differ in the degree of formality they use, too. Older team members tend to be more formal, whereas their younger colleagues will more likely use colloquialisms, abbreviations and “emojis” – small digital images and icons that are used in messages to represent ideas or emotions. This is more suited to personal or less important messages or communications. Serious or important messages are probably not the best times to use smiley face emojis!

Sticking rigidly to your own favored means and style of communication  can alienate others, so, although it might not feel natural, try to tailor your communication to suit the recipient whenever it’s appropriate.

6. Don’t Overlook the Similarities

Focus on the things that unite you with colleagues of all generations, rather than dwelling on the differences.

You might struggle at first to find similarities between yourself and older or younger team members. But, however stark the differences might appear to be, research suggests that there are more similarities than differences across the generations. After all, most people like to feel engaged with their work, to receive fair pay, to achieve, to build a better quality of life, to be happy and respected, and so on. Likewise, many of us share the same grumbles, such as feeling overworked and underpaid!

Key Points

Multi-generational workplaces can host as many as five generations. Having people who were born between the 1920s and the 1990s work together creates the potential for creativity and innovation, but also for conflict and misunderstanding.

You can avoid these pitfalls and thrive through:

  • Staying respectful, flexible and understanding.
  • Avoiding stereotypes.
  • Being open to learning from others, and helping them to learn from you.
  • Adapting your communication style.
  • Focusing on similarities between individuals, rather than on generational differences.

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