2020 has been a year full of surprises. We are sitting in a world today that is changing more rapidly than in previous years. It is quite overwhelming to live with unpredictability and chaos. It is amazing when we examine how the world has changed over the last few months, and we still have no idea of how much it will further change. From COVID to the falling oil prices, the impact has been drastic. As companies move from reacting to mitigating the impact of the outbreak, strategies to emerge stronger need to come into focus.
The alignment of People, Process and Technology are often cited as the critical success factors for any organization. As businesses struggle to adapt to changing times, I strongly believe that people will make the difference in 2020. What people strategy can we then apply to attract and retain the very best staff in 2020?
Some months ago I came across a brilliant speech by Prof. Sumantra Ghoshal titled - ‘The Smell of the Place‘. Professor Ghoshal used the metaphor of “smell” to refer the corporate environment and culture. The same individual behaves differently in two different contexts and it is the quality of management who create the right context around their people to improve their contribution to the company.
To get the best out of your staff, it is important to create an environment that encourages them to be at their very best especially in these uncertain times. Below are a few tips to help improve the smell of the place in our Units/Business Offices and help make our workplaces more friendly:
Be Approachable and Show Leadership.

Being approachable is key to building relationships with your colleagues, and in creating a strong team in which trust, confidence and ideas can flow. When you're approachable as a Supervisor, team members do not sit on or cover up problems. This means that they are able to bring issues to you before they become full-blown crises because they know that you won't react badly. Similarly, your fellow Team members can approach you to ask questions when they need clarification. Approachability is about being available, consciously breaking down perceived barriers, having appropriate body language, and using the right verbal communication and listening skills. They all need to believe in
Listen to Everyone’s Ideas.

Encourage all Staff to voice their ideas. Even if the idea may need some work, it’s still important that everyone has his or her say. This will show that each member of the team is valuable and his or her input is just as important as a fellow coworker’s. As a Supervisor, you can set up specific times to allow your subordinates to bounce ideas off of you. Encourage your team members, especially the more quiet employees, by asking for input directly—that will help cement the fact that everyone’s input is important.

Recognize Smart Work.

It’s a good idea to reward an employee who does a good job. Recognizing the individuals who work hard will encourage them to keep up the great work. It also instills the notion that hard work is acknowledged and appreciated and encourages other employees to strive for the same recognition. While this comes best from the Supervisor, fellow Teammates can also encourage each other by commending hard work by fellow teammates. This helps to build a healthy work environment as opposed to a situation where we
Staff meetings are a great time to acknowledge the work your employees do. You can take two minutes out of your meetings to bring attention to your employees’ accomplishments. Other rewards that are cost-efficient can involve letting your hard-working employees either leave work early or come in later or present them with a gift.
Make Deliberate Effort to Bond.

Following COVID-19, physical interaction has been limited as remote work is fast becoming the new normal. This makes team bonding challenging. Prolonged remote work can harm team spirit and affect team members’ attitude towards their employer. It is important to strengthen remote company culture and build relationships between employees through remote bonding activities. Examples of remote bonding activities can include: Initiating Coffee chats which are casual agenda-free video calls where groups of four are randomly selected to meet. The purpose of these calls is to facilitate employees getting to know people in different areas of the company, specifically focusing on their lives outside of work. Others include organizing virtual teams events, encouraging the use of video during interaction, play virtual team games etc.

While some of of these activities might not be a perfect fit for your specific team, you can be creative in generating ideas to bring your team closer together while we’re all so far apart.

In 2020, we need to create a work environment where people are happy to work, where all staff work together in harmony regardless of age, tribe or status (supervisor or subordinate). This will help bring out the best in our organizations during this challenging times.

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  1. Fantastic insights. Thanks @Alex, organisations must reinvent themselves to stay competitive in the years ahead, and as you have succinctly put it, People, Process and Technology are what will make the much needed difference.

  2. Very innovative, The smell of a place really affect the growth of a company and relationship between staff.Every staff should be given equal platform, mostly the queit employee,being quiet doesn't mean one is dumb, And since bonding is difficult, companies can engage themselves on online games ,like chess tournament, Scrabble etc,I even believe the online bonding connect you to staff in and out of your region...Great work Alex

  3. Word on marble..Great lines Alex

  4. Welldone sir.Very impactful will definitely make a difference in our work place

  5. Boss, this is very insightful.... Not surprised though... From the days @ Diamond Bank as a staff, I have always know that you are about a great and motivated workplace/force.... Great article!!!

  6. Having a good smell of place can be a good motivator to the subordinate. Well done sir, nice article

  7. Very impactful. Welldone Sir

  8. Great article from.the GHO himself.

    More wisdom

  9. I agree. We have to listen to everyone's ideas. Great strategies!