Labor Day is here! For some that means bbqs with loved ones, back-to-school shopping, and last dashes to the coast.

For others this year, it’s a day marking the end of their virtual work lives and a return to hybrid or entirely in-office work. Many people are left wondering, “Is it time?”

With mandates, people can get the sense that their needs don’t matter. What we know is that in order to retain your employees, you must demonstrate to them that they do, in fact, matter. 

So, while it’s always been true that people get behind decisions that they participate in, it’s now a key to recruiting and retaining.

As Jim Harper of Gallup states in this Bloomberg article,

‘People want the flexibility to go in or work from home, but when there’s a mismatch there, burnout goes up…getting that match right, between what the employer and the worker wants, is essential.’

What’s the solution? Have conversations with your staff and get an understanding of what works for them. Then, roll up your sleeves and see what works for the majority of people.

Simply mandating what everyone must do, just doesn’t work.

Use this situation as an opportunity to use your new influence skills so that you can ACT with POWER – the third step in our Leader in You® framework.

Here’s an example of what those discussions could look like. 

Possibilities (Inherent in the Obstacles and Challenges)

“We know that when we put our heads together, we create incredible solutions and possibilities. As we consider how to blend in-person and virtual work, we want to hear from each of you about what type of schedule would work best for you. What do you need from your schedule in order to be successful? As leaders, we certainly don’t have all of the answers, so we’d like to get your input.”

“As we’re getting ready to create some sort of return to office work, I wanted to share with you why this is so important to our workplace. In addition, I’d like to hear from you what you might value about working in-person more regularly. Personally, I’ve been missing the in-person connections and collaborations that seem deeper and more productive, particularly when the work is stressful. I’m hoping we can find a balance that’s good for the company and good for our teams.

Notice all the we’s above!

Enable Action
“You’ll be receiving a link today to an online survey where you can let us know what works for you. Please have this completed by Friday. These will not be anonymous because we want you and your manager to be able to discuss your answers, together. Once we have your input, the leadership team will review and look for the possibilities for us to create something where we can all bring our best selves to our work. Then, we’ll circle back with you to discuss our recommendation.”

Review and Refine
“We’ll be putting a process in place where managers will be checking in regularly with each of their staff to see what’s working, what’s not working, and what we can do to improve. Does anyone have any questions?”

If you’re a manager or leader, remind your colleagues that gaining input from staff makes more sense and will ultimately be more efficient than creating a one-size-fits-all model.

If you’re an employee, look for opportunities to discuss the possibilities with your manager of creating a work model where you’ll be most successful, motivated, and engaged.

We’d love to hear from those of you who have created successful transitions. What’s worked well for you? What have the challenges been?

If you’d like support in getting input from staff about your work model,
contact us today.