Are you employing the best working practices for your business?

We’re always seeing new approaches to working and right now that’s collective leadership and radical candour. But just because they’re popular, that doesn’t mean every company should adopt them. It’s about considering the needs of your specific organisation and only implementing working practices that will improve staff wellbeing, engagement and boost productivity.

Square pegs and round holes
Some people might think that new workplace practices such as ‘no official office hours’ or remote working will deliver greater value, but it’s important to look at how employees actually work before diving head first in to initiatives like these. In many cases, implementing the wrong workplace practice can actually demotivate staff and damage business operations.

Let’s say a company implements a flat working structure in a business where staff respond better to a clear hierarchy – the team probably won’t appreciate the change, and may perhaps struggle to raise concerns without a line manager in place. Others may feel their career progression is limited if job titles no longer reflect seniority.

Cherry picking
That doesn’t mean to say that shying away from adopting new workplace practices is the answer! Some of these innovative approaches can really help to increase efficiency and improve the business. It’s just about treading carefully to test the waters. Ask the team what they like about their current ways of working and what they’re keen to change. Pose questions about the new practices and gauge the gut reactions. If the idea seems to float, test out any new working practices before making them permanent. This way, HR will be able to assess its effectiveness – as well as its impact on daily operations – before rolling it out to the entire company or as a permanent fixture. After all, just because a workplace practice may be popular, that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your business.

Key takeaways
Don’t try and overhaul your organisation for the sake of it – there are too many new fads and you’ll always be chasing the next big thing.

But, be careful not to wander around with blinkers on or you risk ignoring innovative ways to improve the business.

Take the time to research whether new ways of working can help to keep staff productive and motivated. Figure out which working practices staff really want and value; that will make it easier to decide which initiatives will improve the business without putting employee engagement at risk.

The aim is to create brilliant places to work. This means, driving employee engagement, encouraging hands-on management alongside ongoing feedback and providing a positive work environment where employees feel they have the opportunity to grow and trust in leadership.

If you’re wondering what the next step is for your organisation or are toying with the idea of a new working practice, an employee engagement survey may be the answer for you. We have created one that will accurately assess staff satisfaction to help identify what schemes or interventions HR and managers may want to consider for their workforce. Businesses should be looking to run surveys like this once a year at the very least. The more frequently they are done, the more insight a team will have and the better your chances are of hitting the mark. Just remember not to make snap decisions or to ‘pull’ new innovations just because there hasn’t been an immediate impact. Changing people’s behaviour takes time but it is worth it. Give us a call and we can coach you through it all.

What I have learnt from going on maternity leave

“The company will replace me.”

“What if they realise they don’t need me?”

“How will I cope when I come back?”

For those who’ve been on maternity leave, I bet these thoughts ran through your mind. It’s a stressful time, and not just because you have a baby on the way. Leaving the company for such a long time can make you worry, but I’ve seen first hand how well a company can manage this transition.

Support from the start
When I told JourneyHR I was pregnant I was met with nothing but happiness. We celebrated together and they took to the drawing board for an action plan.

When I was told that an interim replacement was the solution, the jitters came back. “What if they’re better than me?” “What if they make my role redundant?”. These thoughts lasted all of 3 seconds. Having been through maternity leave themselves, my directors knew my concerns before I did and addressed them immediately. I was offered the chance to look through CVs and give thoughts on the candidates. I was always told the reasoning if they toyed with the idea of hiring someone more senior – nothing went unsaid or assumed.

When I finally did go on leave, the team kept me in the loop. If someone new joined, I got an intro, along with their CV so I knew a bit about them when I was back. This was a choice though – I could take it or leave it, no judgement either way. Once I’d given birth to my daughter, JourneyHR sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the founders took me and my girls out to lunch soon after – what more could a gal want?!

Itchy feet
I like keeping busy and even with two daughters I did sometimes want to know what was going on with my clients and team.

My directors would keep in contact; I would let them know how the kids were doing and they would update me with any changes to the business – but only if and when I wanted. When I was ready to get an update, the team always worked around my schedule to make sure my new-born’s afternoon nap wasn’t disturbed by a ringing phone!

Back to work
When it was time for me to come back, it did feel a bit like school – I was nervous. The company did everything to make me feel settled though. Everything was set up – from my laptop, phone and even my client meetings. The team trusted me to manage my own time and I made sure this faith was not misplaced.

After a whole year away I was unsure about the path my career progression would take. Would maternity leave be a bump in the road or put me on a whole different track? Not at all. My progression was picked up straight away and I haven’t been overlooked for any opportunity to develop myself and my skills. In many ways, it’s almost as though I never left.

What is maternity leave now?
I know I’ve been very lucky. My maternity leave has been the most stress free, loyalty enhancing experience I have encountered – both as an employee and as an HR consultant. I’d encourage everyone to think about some of these tactics when their staff go on parental leave.

Keeping up with workplace trends: part 2

Last month, we explored some of the key changes to workplace trends that business leaders should be preparing for. In part two, we delve in to the changes that could drastically impact the way a business is run on the day to day – often for the better. Top down structures are being phased out, going the way of annual appraisals and standard working days. Companies are now embracing leadership at every level of the business, creating a more independent and strategic employee. In the wake of Brexit and the snap election, a modern leadership style has become vital to a company’s success.

A flat structure
As employees are no longer being defined by their job description, businesses have begun to embrace a flat management structure. Hierarchical formats have become redundant as staff collaborate on projects regardless of their job title. What’s the result? Communication between team members has improved, not only streamlining business processes but also increasing staff morale. People are now following the ideals of the business, rather than the motivations of a few board members, ultimately benefitting the business and its clients.

Ethics over pay packet
The values of a business have become increasingly important in pursuit of successful staff retention and meaningful company loyalty. Employees are spending more time looking for real-life experiences on websites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to form a better understanding of how the company operates. While a job may offer a great package or good prospects, candidates are now looking for a business that leads by example. In response, companies have now begun to clearly communicate the goals and direction of the business, establishing values that staff and prospective candidates can believe in.

Defining the character of a business
Saying that, a business cannot just propose a set of ethics and get back to business as usual. The company must make good on the values they stand by. The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an innovative way to do this. The EVP’s unique set of benefits are personalised to both the employee and the business. It is more than the standard office party and allows the business to showcase its personality. Not only does the EVP help attract the best possible staff, but retained employees are more aligned with the company’s values, making for a stronger work culture.

Leadership has undergone a revolution; companies are adopting a more democratic approach with their employees and have created a stronger identity for the business.

If you want to chat about how these workplace trends could impact your business, get in touch and we can work together to make your company even more successful!

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