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How To Manage and Motivate Your Team to Do Their Best Work

  • June 2, 2020

Upon returning to work after lockdown, managers and leaders in commercial organisations will have a variety of concerns.

It is key to remember that every organisation right now is going through a period of change and that it will be a while before the dust settles and we find a ‘new normal’. In some sectors, employees were able to work throughout lockdown, but for many commercial organisations, their business was either drastically reduced or stopped altogether.

This is why it is essential to have in place a robust strategy to help your team move forwards now workplaces are opening up again.

In today’s article, I share advice for employers on how to manage and motivate their teams coming back to work after lockdown, starting with common team concerns.

Managing Your Team’s Concerns

A potential problem that managers will have to face is the integration of teams who have been disjointed by lockdown, and the individual issues they might have.

If members of your team have been working from home, some of them might have enjoyed it and wish to carry on; others will be eager to get back. There may be members of your team who are fearful of going back into work, especially if they live with someone who is currently shielding.

As an employer, it is essential to remain flexible to accommodate your employee’s needs. Options to consider for team members who have concerns include –

  • Keeping someone on furlough for longer (the government furlough scheme is guaranteed until October) – discuss with all employees about their preferences, concerned team members may be happy to stay on furlough.
  • Let employees continue to work from home if they are happy to do so, and if they have everything they need to continue to do their work to a high standard.
  • You may consider letting employees work different hours to avoid peak travel times or arrange extra car parking, if possible, to allow employees to drive to work.

Another worry for employees is childcare. With schools still shut, non-essential workers who are now being encouraged to return to work will have concerns over their situation. The prime minister has said that lack of childcare is an ‘obvious barrier to get back to work’ and that employers can only expect employees to come back to work if they have provisions for childcare until the schools are reopened.

The key thing to remember is to listen to your employees and then take steps to protect everyone. Communication with all of your team is essential in understanding their concerns; a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Social Distancing: Physical Changes to Your Office

Another change that managers will have to contend with is the physical changes that you will need to make to the workplace.

The first step you will need to take, as per government guidelines, is to conduct a risk assessment. You will need to consider the following –

  • How can you ensure a two-metre gap is maintained between employees at all times?
  • Do you need to implement screens in any customer-facing areas?
  • Do you need to rearrange desks and seating areas?
  • Do you need to implement hand washing or sanitising stations, and if so, where can these go?
  • Have you purchased enough hand sanitiser and disposable hand towels/tissues to keep employees safe?
  • Do you have a plan of action to deal with an employee who starts showing symptoms?

The government have announced that workplaces will be subject to inspection from environmental officers, so you must meet the criteria. But also, demonstrating to your employees that you are taking every possible step to protect their health will instil confidence in your team and allow them to work stress-free.

Skills Refreshers and Training

Even if your employees have been remote working for the last two months, they will have been doing so in a changed, or reduced capacity. Even with the highest-spec technology, working from home is not the same as working in an office environment, and your team will likely be out of practice in some areas.

Things that might have suffered while your team were remote working can include – a lack of collaboration, a breakdown in communication and possibly attention to detail. It can be easier for things to get missed when people are trying to collaborate over email and video.

With this in mind, your team will benefit from skills refreshers and additional training upon returning.

Ask your team which areas they feel as though they need a refresher on, or any skills they thought they lacked when working from home that they would like training based around? During the lockdown, many people started thinking about their skills and their careers, with a high level of uptake in online courses. If your team feel as though their employer is not supporting them, they might start to look elsewhere for alternative career options.

How to Motivate a Returning Team

Finally, how can you best motivate your team upon their return to the workplace?

The following are my top tips-

  • Make your workplace a pleasant place to be. Confront problems and negativity straight away and do not let it fester. Be positive and upbeat – your team are looking to you to set the tone for their new way of working.
  • Be supportive. The lockdown and now returning to work will be probably the most unsettling period in your team’s working lives. Continually check that your team have everything they need in the newly-changed workplace.
  • Be flexible. Let your team know that you will work together with them to create a new normal that they are comfortable with.
  • Share positive feedback. It is more vital than ever that you focus on the positives in your team and their successes.

Many managers have found it more challenging keeping their team motivated and engaged during the lockdown. Use this guide to help steer your team through the next, more positive, recovery period.

What Next?

Coming out of lockdown is something that all organisations will experience differently, with different levels of challenges for each.

If the needs of your organisation have changed recently and you would like a discussion about finding the right talent to help your business thrive, we can help.

Get in touch with our team on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to discuss your recruitment needs.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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6 Things to Remember When Managing Your Remote Working Team

  • April 10, 2020

If this week marks the first of many of home working for you and your team, you might be concerned as to whether the change in situation will affect your business or the quality of your team’s work – if so, you’re not alone.

But the good news is that there is no reason a transition to home working will affect your team’s ability to perform.

Yes, it might seem unusual at first, but by being prepared, practising resilience and some forward planning, your team will be up and running from home in no time.

Here are some things you can do to help your team make the transition from office to home working as smooth as possible.

1. Change as Little as Possible

Despite working from home being a significant shift from the norm, the first way to ensure a smooth transition is to keep to your regular schedule as much as possible.

This means having your team at their desks and ready for a conference call or a video call (more in this below) at the start of the working day.

Make sure your team are aware of how important it is to wear their regular working clothes, have lunch and breaks at the same time, and liaise with whoever they would typically liaise with.

2. Daily Briefings

Remote working should not mean that your team are figuratively ‘apart’ from each other – if anything, it should bring you closer together.

Daily briefings might not be a normal part of your working day, but now is the time to start. Without physically being in your place of work, it is essential not to lose that connection and camaraderie that being in the workplace naturally provides.

Try having a briefing in the morning and at the end of the day, so that your team can share any issues and check-in. If twice a day isn’t possible, aim for once a day at the minimum.

3. Stay Connected Via Video

With Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp Video – there’s no excuse not to have a (virtual) face-to-face catch up with your team, and it is recommended that you do this as often as possible – aim for at least once a day.

People who regularly work from home report that seeing the faces of their manager and their colleagues helps them to feel connected. And if this is the first time that your team will be working from home – this will be especially important for them.

4. Weekly Wins

It’s a challenging time for many businesses at the moment. If you or your team are feeling under pressure, a great idea is to celebrate your wins of the week on a Friday. This can be a part of your conference or video call, or they can be shared in a messaging group or email.

Knowing that their colleagues are going through the same difficulties but also being able to share in each other’s wins is a great way to make the team feel at ease with their current situation. The ‘wins’ can be big or small, it could be ‘I got through my first morning without having to check something with remote IT support!’ and you should kick off the wins yourself to get the ball rolling.

5. Practice Adaptability

Of course, things will feel different at first, and we currently don’t know how long remote working is going to be in effect for.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to help your team navigate the likely unsettling weeks ahead.

Remember that this is a significant change, and not everything will always go to plan the first time. Some team members will find it easier to adapt than others, and there may be some obstacles along the way, so be supportive of your team at every step of the way.

6. Don’t Forget

There are millions of people across the UK in the same boat as you right now. Teams who weather the storm will come out stronger on the other side.

Many businesses have seen an increase in demand for their products and services since the coronavirus outbreak, and there has been a shift in recruitment needs across the UK.

If your business needs have changed in the last few weeks and like many, you have different recruitment needs – we can help.

As experts in recruiting commercial talent in the North West, we can put you in touch with the employees you need, right now. Contact us on 01772 259121 or using our contact form here.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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Take your business up a level with a high-performing team

  • September 19, 2018

A high-performing team is what any employer would want. A high-performing team of efficient business professionals, that drives profits and gets results might not be as far off as you think. Building an attractive employer brand takes work; writing compelling job descriptions and creating an excellent culture is only the beginning.

Even before your new recruits join the company, high-performing teams require excellent leadership, support in their development and constant engagement. Our guide to high-performing teams tells you everything that you need to build one successfully.

Successfully onboard new team members

Building a high-performing team requires careful onboarding. There are two stages to this process:

  1. Establish what you want to achieve. You need to decide when onboarding will begin, what impression you would like to give to new staff, the tools that will help them do the job and goals you’d like them to meet. The most important thing to think about is how you will measure success and get feedback on the process. If you don’t have the information to work with it’s hard to make future adjustments.
  2. Put systems in place to achieve what you want. Prepare the essentials like security cards, work emails and computer equipment in advance. Providing information around basic housekeeping points such as where the loos are, tea and coffee facilities as well as who to approach with questions will help put the new recruit’s mind at rest. And don’t forget that a warm welcome will ease nerves. Let the rest of the team know that a new colleague is joining and to welcome them to the group.

High-performing teams need a high-performing leader

According to the Adair International Institute, a three-pronged approach to leadership underpins successful teams. Leaders need to manage the task, the team and the individual in order to get the best results.

The task needs to be clearly set out and defined aims must be communicated to the group. Research by EY into high-performing teams indicates that 44% of team members believe that clear, achievable goals are the most important factor in what makes a successful team. The group needs to understand the task to perform it well and leaders must ensure this happens. Providing resources, establishing responsibilities and offering feedback are critical at this stage.

The team needs support to achieve its goal and leaders can do this effectively by: equipping team members to deal with conflict, ensuring morale is high, establish standards of work, and develop leadership in team members. At an individual level, leaders must know all members of a high-performing team well. Awareness of strengths and weaknesses means leaders can effectively delegate and improve management of the high-performing team. This links closely to another key element of high-performing teams: how to manage support and training.

Support high-performing individuals, benefit the team

Awareness of individual weaknesses means that a leader can put in place measures to help them contribute to the team. Praise and recognition at the right time are beneficial in maintaining motivation.

Training is key to keeping the overall team on track. Seeing that an individual needs help in a certain area means training can be given to bring them up to speed. Managing the individual carefully benefits the team because each person has the skills to achieve the overall task aim. When new people come into the team, working with them to establish a plan for their development means you can cover all bases and fill in any gaps that might cause the team to fall short. And by improving the individual’s performance, you’ll get the very best from your employees.

Get the best from your employees

High-performing teams don’t happen by accident. Strong leadership from the top down keeps the team unified behind a common goal. Demonstrating integrity, inspiring others and problem-solving are among the top traits of an effective leader according to the Harvard Business Review.

There are three stages to getting the best from your employees:

  1. Clear expectations: Set out what you expect from the start. Provide definitive goals and milestones to keep the team on track. Decide how the goal will be measured and build deadlines into the process that break the goal down into smaller, manageable chunks.
  2. Consistent feedback: Feedback allows your team to keep adjusting and making continual improvements. Explain what you need from your team as the task progresses and encourage peer feedback, carried out in a constructive way.
  3. Motivation and empowerment: Show that you value your staff and their effort. Offer praise, reward and an all-important ‘thank you’ when targets are reached to keep employees motivated and focused on the task.

Employee engagement

Building a team of talented professionals means constantly engaging employees. Culture, employer branding, and effectively leading your high-performing team are all important. The crucial element is managing performance at an individual level.

This is where deep knowledge of the individuals that make up your high-performing team pays dividends. As soon as a new staff member joins your team it’s essential to understand their objectives. Engaging them with the work, the team and the task integrates them firmly into the group. You can increase engagement through an ongoing system of performance management:

  1. Individual fit with the team: Know what you want to achieve and communicate it to everyone. Make sure all team members are aware of how the goal relates to their role.
  2. Conversations are powerful: Communication builds trust and relationships which are both vital to high-performing teams. Engage staff in conversation about your vision, their development and keep coming back to the subject. That way you’ll not only engage employees you’ll join up their development with the rest of the team and business, which will strengthen the team.
  3. Agree S.M.A.R.T objectives: Unite team members who share a similar role behind a common goal. Make the goal ‘S.M.A.R.T’ – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound. By making use of their knowledge and experience on the job you can create something meaningful which engages individuals and enhances team performance.

High-performing teams take time to build and need a clear plan for success. Your efforts will be rewarded with a group of individuals that work in sync with efficiency and precision. Constant feedback, conversation, motivation and inspiring leadership ensure that your team move forward as one, performing highly along the way.

Interested in turning your staff into a high-performing team? Our ‘Ultimate Guide to a High-Performing Team’ has more and will explain in detail how to create a formidable workforce. Download your complimentary copy or call us on 01772 259121.

If you found this guide useful, please do take a look at our other blogs and guides and don’t forget you can register your vacancy online.

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