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Power To Your People

Posted On: 07/05/2020

When you give power to someone, what does that really mean? It’s quite a hard word to explain as it can mean different things to different people. According to the thesaurus power can mean ability, potential, strength, energy, expertness, authority and control.

As the world changes before us as a result of lockdown and the coronavirus, priorities in the workplace have had to change. You don’t need us to tell you that remote working has massively increased, and organisations have had to face challenges head on to find ways to keep the wheels turning as best they can.

A huge challenge for all businesses at this time is to maintain a happy and engaged workforce as colleagues work remotely from each other. Businesses who are successfully managing their employees are giving ‘power to their people’; they’re looking to their staff to help them identify opportunities for what will become the new normal.

Employee listening

Communication is most effective when it’s two-way. You’ll never deliver what your employees want to hear if you don’t regularly talk to them. And never has it been so important for managers to listen, really listen, to their teams.

Are you aware of the phrase ‘employee listening’? It’s a continuous listening strategy to help gather feedback from individuals throughout their employee cycle enabling your organisation to take targeted action.

Investing in employee listening is crucial to employee and team success. It’s also key for your business to be resilient and get back on track.

The four fundamentals of employee engagement 

Without effective listening a business cannot achieve these fundamentals:

  1. Having the right resources and equipment to fulfil a role.
  2. Being able to share opinions and have them valued.
  3. Aligning the employees’ goals and expectations with those of the business.
  4. Managers providing beneficial support.

When managers listen, they are giving every employee a voice. Gaining valuable feedback through honest discussions will help identify areas of opportunity as well as areas of risk for the business.

Acting on these employee insights assures your workforce that you really are listening to them and value what they have to say. It also ensures the future success of your business.

The ‘F’ word: Feelings

Now is not the time to ignore our own feelings and emotions and those of your work colleagues. Having open discussions about how we’re really feeling is people management’s most important attribute in times of crisis.

Feelings drive behaviour. Feelings of fear, anger, stress, anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, demotivation and overwhelm can quickly turn into negative behaviours if they are not addressed.

With effective employee listening and frequent discussions managers can help build trust with an employee who is feeling scared about their future and provide clarity on goals and objectives when someone is feeling overwhelmed.

How to effectively shape your conversations and questions 

We suggest that you consider these issues as you plan your communication strategy:

Only by listening to your employees’ concerns and anxieties around change and by understanding their feelings can you offer the support they need.

Be prepared to hear your employees talk about:

The art of listening

Yes, it is an art, it’s a skill. It’s never just about hearing what someone is saying, it’s understanding how someone truly thinks about something, it’s how we continually learn from each other.

And it’s not all about the spoken words. To listen managers must learn to identity tones, the style of language used and observe body language.

As well as one to one discussions, listening must be effective in all team meetings, pulse surveys, focus groups and engagement surveys. In all of these scenarios remember these three key points:

  1. Only ask questions about things your business can/will take action on.
  2. If your organisation is used to scoring engagement, focus on the feedback right now rather than a score.
  3. Share your findings and your actions.

Plan for this process and involve your managers, empowering them to take action locally within their teams, to escalate issues when needed and just as importantly to share their successes.

Keep the momentum going and repeat the exercise as regularly as your business needs: this will help you uncover key insights enabling your company to move forwards, set new goals, recover and thrive.

Disciplines and controls

Here are our top 5 tips to maintain order and to bring certainty and stability during this uncertain time:

  1. Create a communications plan (when, who, how, what).
  2. Establish clear working practices:
  1. Manage absence. Provide clear guidance concerning the reporting of coronavirus, self-isolation and sick pay as this is likely to have an impact for months to come.
  2. Managing performance. If your business’ goals have changed, it’s important to communicate them. Manage employee output against their new goals or against their new role if applicable.
  3. Employee wellbeing. ‘Check in’ with all employees and find out how they are doing. Be prepared in advance to signpost support and know what options are available, for example mental health first aiders, occupational health and EAPS.

We’re Here To Help

If your organisation would like to talk to a HR professional about any of the issues raised in this blog, please get in touch on 0161 941 2426.

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What Our Clients Say

“"AccentHansen has worked with P3 for a number of years - during this time Charlotte and her team have provided us with amazing support often at short notice"”

J Ruttledge -General Manager

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