How to Lead and Manage a Flexible Workforce
In this era of disruptions, resignations, and remote work, business leaders are faced with the challenge of adapting to new workforce realities while also offering support, encouragement, and motivation to their employees.
The current era of disruptions, resignations, and remote work has put business leaders through the wringer. Leaders have had to face the challenges of managing remote teams. They’re searching for ways to adapt to new workforce realities while also offering support, encouragement, and motivation to their employees. A Gartner poll revealed that 48% of workers say they plan to keep working remotely or in a hybrid arrangement after the pandemic.
It’s not just hybrid and remote work causing a stir. In-person staffing professionals are confronted with challenges in hiring, retaining, and scheduling. In general, people want more say in their work schedules and environments, more time for family and experiences, and more flexibility in taking time off for illness and mental well-being. It makes sense that three-fourths of business leaders said flexibility and adaptability were key to successful leadership during the pandemic, according to a recent Leadership Circle survey.
Flexibility—as well as traits like creativity and adaptability in using technology resources—go a long way to meet recent challenges. Here are some ways leaders can adapt:
- Learn how to lead and manage remotely.
- Be transparent with information and expectations.
- Become more flexible and creative by finding ways for technology to fill in any gaps.
- Embrace data analytics to measure results in unbiased ways and to improve outcomes and employee satisfaction.
Lead and manage remotely
Leaders must learn new skills and adopt a new set of priorities to lead and manage a dispersed workforce.
Up your communication game
Since virtual communication relies less on cues like body language, take advantage of the tools you do have, like video, reactions, and emojis (as long as they are professional).
Technology is key when communicating with remote employees. Everyone has different communication styles and preferences, and technology offers something for everyone—from email to chat to video. As a manager or executive, you can be flexible and learn to use the tools your team members prefer.
Focus on outcomes
Focus more on outcomes and deliverables than on productivity and activities. Micromanagement does not ensure success and may cause frustration. Let teams work how they want and place importance on what they achieve.
Keep virtual meetings brief but make an effort to keep the team dynamic going. Meetings may include standup meetings, collaboration projects, or fun social activities.
Keep everyone informed to ensure all team members have the information they need and that no one feels left out. Increase trust by being open about expectations and responsibilities, including your own.
Give access to everyone
Wherever documents, data, or other information is stored, ensure everyone who needs it has direct access without having to make a request.
Choose a centralized messaging platform
Connect your communication tools to a centralized messaging platform so everyone knows where to connect and look for shared information.
Take advantage of peer review and peer-to-peer training to ensure more people are in the know without increasing the burden on managers.
Be creative with technology
Technology can fill in many of the gaps in customer service when you don’t have the resources. Customers can place orders through kiosks or QR codes; apps can handle returns; and chatbots can answer customer questions.
Find the gaps
First evaluate where you need more help in terms of human resources and helping customers.
Be flexible and creative by finding ways for technology to fill in worker gaps and pick up slack when you’re shorthanded.
Keep getting feedback
Continue to ask for feedback and ideas from customers and employees. The first tool you try may not be the right one, but there are many companies out there trying to solve your precise problem.
Embrace data analytics
Data doesn’t only tell us the stories about what our customers want, but it can help us create better work environments for employees. Embrace data analytics to measure results in unbiased ways and to improve outcomes and employee satisfaction.
Improve capacity planning
Better manage the resources you have by predicting when you’ll be busiest and where you can implement backup plans like hiring contract workers or implementing job sharing.
Optimize outcomes by defining your goals. Then you can set up your data analysis to support these.
Boost employee engagement
Find out more about influences on employee productivity and which environments create more engaged workers. Adapt accordingly so employees will want to stay.
Work is changing in so many ways in so many industries that leaders need to find ways to keep up—especially with what employees want. Workers are choosing how they want to work, and this environment requires a new style of leadership where flexibility, adaptability, and resilience are key.
Are you a leader interested in learning more about how to modernize and digitize your company’s enterprise? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call.
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