What do Great Managers Do Differently in 2021

When the global Pandemic hit in 2020, we immediately had to change everything about the work environment. Everyone had their hopes up for 2021, for the world to go back to normal. Unfortunately, the situation remains the same, and organizations are now dealing with an even more acute humanitarian crisis.

A recent IndusGuru survey with 50+ organization leaders indicated that a majority of companies have 5-10% of the workforce impacted by Covid in the 2nd wave. A shift to a digital era of business has only increased the need for human touch and empathy as a core attribute among line managers.

Managing people and ensuring that they are at their best is difficult on any normal day, but the task is even more daunting and difficult in a virtual setting. Here are some things that managers do differently to keep their ship running smoothly.

Recruiting and Onboarding in the Digital World

Recruiting new employees has now shifted completely to an online setting. So how does one assess skills and make new employees a part of the culture? Digital enablers are increasingly becoming part of the hiring process.

Companies now, more than ever are dependent on video interviews. These interviews will remain a trend. Candidate experience has become increasingly important, it is not constrained to recruitment, it extends to the perception of people in the organization. AI-Powered Chatbots are being used by some companies to aid high volume recruitment. They provide real-time interaction by asking questions to the candidates. They are meant to improve candidate experience in the application process. Many HR experts use well-designed, intricate online games, to evaluate the effectiveness of potential employees. These games help assess the applicant’s skills and problem-solving abilities and the applicant is also able to understand the work culture and environment and their role, familiarising him/her with the cultural needs of the organization
Predictive analysis has become an important tool in recruitment. It aids in identifying strong open hires & selecting better candidates

Remote work Fatigue

Remote working is one of the many challenges that 2020 brought home to us. The Work environment is one of the most important things that stimulate creativity and productivity. When employees work remotely, they are not typically present in a stimulating environment.

So how do we harness and tap into their full potential?
One way to do this is through daily connections and meetings. Many managers set weekly meetings and weekly deadlines, which may lead employees to feel unmotivated and do not deliver up to their potential. Some companies have a Zoom meeting where all employees do their work with their mikes on mute. This is like creating a virtual work environment.

“Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Promise suggests to “Promote a good work-flow. Schedule time as a team to meet without an agenda; it allows a space to connect around our lives and work.” ~ HR university of Texas.

“All work and no play made Jack a dull boy.” A combination of work and non-work meetings or game meetings can be used to build team spirit and improve coordination and motivation. A strong team is a key to stability and growth. Creating deep personal connections with employees helps them be motivated and facilitates growth.

Managing Return to Work

Citigroup’s CEO declared that the greater part of their bank’s employees will be in the workplace three days every week alongside other work-practice changes intended to help a better work/life balance. Inside video gatherings will be prohibited on Fridays to ease “Zoom Fatigue,” for instance, and meetings with colleagues outside of typical work hours will be reduced. ~ SHRM

“Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.” To make the most of Work from home, bring a piece of your work culture into the virtual lives of your employees. The new workspace is a hybrid workspace. It is a combination of work from home and in-office work. HR managers need to devise a schedule that will optimize productivity in such an environment. They need to make the office more inclusive and motivate and prioritize tasks that need to be done in the office.

Balancing priorities and recognizing the importance of Mental Health

Successful organizations understand the importance of implementation, not just strategy, and recognize the crucial role of their people in the process. ~ Jeffery Pfeffer.

During these uncertain times, Managers must set clear expectations and priorities for tasks. In these times, a larger team or a more flexible team is required to work on important projects. While setting up a team, make sure to make room and consideration for any teammate who gets affected.

Forbes states that one of the most daunting tasks in 2021 is balancing work and family. 2020 led people to take on more work, causing burnouts. In 2021 one needs to take time to recharge themselves and maintain a healthy balance by prioritizing their health and emotional well-being.

Managers need to take care of the mental well-being of their employees, especially when stress levels are at an all-time high. Managers need to offer mental health benefits that are on par with physical health benefits. Companies need to have a mental health kit in place to offer to people in need. The focus needs to be placed on employee self-care. Managers can help raise awareness about mental well-being and create campaigns that aim at reducing stress and promote well-being. The work environment needs to foster community and connectivity with one another. A few ways to achieve this would be fitness challenges, consistent praise for work, flexible hours, and activities such as yoga to boost employees’ morale.

The survey conducted by IndusGuru (https://www.indusguru.in/docs/IndusGuru_Organisation%20Response%20Survey_2021.pdf) found that Great Managers in 2021 have redesigned their workspace by using flexible timings and a hybrid system to obtain the best results from their employees. They also make use of virtual assistance and online tools to enhance recruitment and increase the performance of their employees.

By Keerthana Jagannathan

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of IndusGuru Network Partners

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