Five red flags that your workplace isn’t prepared for the year ahead

fear, red flags

Many workplaces have struggled with the transition to a hybrid work model, and the workplaces that insist on returning to the old ways of doing things are the ones that will lose staff in the “Great Resignation”.

I’ve seen countless examples over the past years of leaders that haven’t adjusted to the tectonic shift that COVID-19 inflicted on our workplaces, and it’s creating tension and dissension in offices all over Australia.

But it can be fixed if you recognise the red flags early and take steps to address them. Here are some of the concerns you need to look out for to ensure 2022 doesn’t run right off the rails.

  • You’re too stuck in the old ways: Leaders that use the familiarity of their office for their daily ego boost won’t survive the pandemic. Employees have proven they can legitimately perform their work and meet productivity benchmarks while working from home. The lack of in-office collaboration isn’t the root cause of most issues. It’s the lack of skills at managing people they can’t see working – so develop those skills and put processes into place now that ensure you can track productivity effectively without looking over anyone’s shoulder.
  • You have meetings where nothing gets done: When setting up meetings that require a result, have an agenda and a deadline for the outcome or a list of actions to be taken.  Limit the meeting duration, restrict the number of parties expected to be involved in the process and set a deadline for a decision. A streamlined decision-making process will energise teams and improve productivity.
  • Your recruitment process requires more than one interview: The recruitment process needs to be efficient, especially if it’s taking place over Zoom. Know what skills and personality type will fit your culture and make sure you get that from one interview, It’s a candidate-driven market, and job seekers know what they want.
  • You’re stuck behind inflexible bureaucracy: If you’ve got the same processes, workflow and IT you had two years ago, you might be in trouble. Have the right infrastructure in place so staff access to services and information that supports their work. If processes are broken, fix them. Make sure your payroll, IT, procurement and HR departments are set up to support remote teams now.
  • Team building is an activity your team hates: Team building outings like bowling, rock climbing or karaoke serve as ‘culture theatre’ but they’ve never solved workflow and cohesion problems. Instead, define the process of how you want your teams to work. Have rules, goals and expectations. Communicate changes that will impact on staff otherwise surprises will create problems. Have a system in place to identify and resolve conflict and a process to manage feedback.
  • People seemed burned out – in January: Don’t make the mistake of expecting staff to run redline all day. When in the office, employees took breaks and exercised at lunch time.  The new way of work is about outcomes not hours. Surveillance technology, back-to-back meetings and eight-hour non-stop days will destroy morale and trust and won’t guarantee results.

Good leadership remains essential to a company’s survival and success – and right now, good leadership is about being able to adapt the way you do things.