How to Build Trust and Foster a Sense of Community in Virtual Teams

With the advent of advanced technologies, anchoring the conventional work culture with the virtual team’s setup is a prevailing challenge for companies around the world.

Research reveals that over 82% of employees in key economies have felt lonely at work, and nearly half feel a more intense sense of loneliness than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is this detrimental to employee mental health, but it also dents productivity, brings down engagement, and eventually causes attrition.

That is why team collaboration needs to be a top priority for managers today, especially those overseeing virtual teams and distributed workforces. These setups are likely to witness a breakdown in community, teamwork, and collaboration without timely intervention.

Wondering how? Let’s delve deeper.

Why Are Trust and Community in Virtual Teams So Important?

Even before COVID-19, progressive companies were turning to remote and hybrid work as an effective cost-cutting measure as well as an attractive employee benefit. Workflow automation company, Zapier, for instance, always operated on a 100% remote model. But this has now become the norm, even in sectors previously accustomed to remote work, such as financial services.

In 2021, 75% of employees were still operating as a virtual team, and 58% said their ideal work situation would be hybrid.

Yet, employees acknowledge that there can be challenges in terms of trust and communication. 40% of research participants admitted they found it difficult to achieve the quality of communication necessary. Team leaders, in particular, were under the pump to force fit interactions into virtual team setups.

This is because the interactions we take for granted in a physical office space no longer occur automatically when we are in a virtual team. There are several reasons why trust and community in virtual teams are so important.

  • Human beings are social animals: While remote and hybrid work presents undeniable benefits, they rob employees of the psychological benefits of daily team collaboration and interactions. With designated time and tools for meetings, interactions are no longer organic, and there is no sense of working in a psychologically safe “tribe” — i.e., a community.
  • Real-time team collaboration is essential for productivity: Much of the benefits of virtual teams are due to the use of asynchronous communication. It gives employees the flexibility to work at their preferred pace and hours. It also combats presenteeism. But the downside is that productive workflows often break down when team collaboration does not happen in real time. Thus, it becomes inevitable to integrate a collaboration tool that enables smooth communication among the teams on a real-time basis.
  • The lack of transparency may give rise to conflict: In a virtual team setup, it is difficult to always know what another team member is working on, and, therefore, if there is an equitable distribution of work. Employees aren’t always on top of each other’s challenges, which makes it difficult to build a sense of empathy and trust.
  • Without trust and community, employees are at risk of attrition: From this lens, virtual teams are a double-edged sword. Report after report shows that employees are ready to quit their jobs if they are forced to return to the office. Yet, a working environment that lacks close interpersonal bonds, trust, and transparency, will push team members towards quiet quitting, disengagement, and eventually resignation. In this case, collaboration can be a powerful tool to combat the risk of employee attrition. By creating an environment that fosters collaboration, organizations can increase employee engagement and job satisfaction, which can ultimately lead to lower turnover rates.

The onus, therefore, is on organizations and team leaders to intersect virtual team dynamics with the same level of community employees are used to in a physical workplace.

Read more: Are You Bringing Your 2019 Workflows Back to the Office?

3 Ways to Build Trust and Community in Virtual Teams

In 2023, organizations need to work on their virtual team-building skills so they can retain the productivity advantage initially unlocked from remote and hybrid work. This includes:

1. Build a culture of communication

An outcome-centered work environment does not mean that employees clock in, get immersed in their solo work, and tune out. Work culture should be built in a way to promote communication where interacting with other people and team collaboration is as important as getting the job done. There are several ways to do this: by embedding communication in employees’ KRAs, adopting a democratic approach to problem-solving, incorporating collaboration tools that create clear communication channels and implementing practical examples.

2. Create the right expectations

Managing and setting the right expectations is a vital part of building trust in virtual teams. For example, if employees feel that they are expected to reply to each and every email, it will create a sense of unhealthy pressure. However, there have to be implicit expectations of availability during all working hours and active participation of the workforce. To achieve this, managers need effective communication skills, the right virtual team collaboration tools, and a set of people management guidelines for hybrid work.

3. Pay attention to top-down communication

Top-down communication plays an important role in virtual teams, where water cooler chats and impromptu conversations are not possible in a virtual setup. For this reason, company newsletters, leadership town halls, announcements by managers, and even posts on professional social networks garner much more attention. Top-down communication will set the tone for how your team interacts and shares the information, as well as the confidence they have for team collaboration.

Read more: A New Chapter in the Future of Work: Part I – Nexval

Getting Started with a Positive, Productive Virtual Team Culture

The first step towards building trust and community is to understand what employees actually need. Are they happy with team structures? Do they want more or less top-down communication? Are team collaboration tools easy to use? You can gather this data through company surveys and start rolling out changes that show employees that their voices are heard and valued.

Furthermore, team leaders and the management must work together to envision the culture of belonging that they are looking to build. Document which behaviors are encouraged and which ones must be de-incentivized. Finally, make sure that everyone is empowered to communicate and collaborate effectively. Introduce a collaboration tool that helps foster healthy communication and real time collaboration between teams. Not only will it help in ensuring transparency but also in allowing for quick resolution of any issues that arise.

Understanding the Paradigm Shift in Work Culture Post-pandemic

Shedding light on the post-pandemic transition

  • How the pre and post-pandemic era has brought a change in the work culture
  • Understanding a variety of workplace models.
  • Risks involved in operating with multiple work models
  • How some employers have tried to overcome these risks and challenges to offer a hassle-free multi-model work environment to employees

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 brought about a monumental shift in the way people work. It became inevitable for the employees as well as for us, the employers, to adopt the remote and hybrid work model.

This may surprise you but the Work from Home scenario was already on the horizon even before the pandemic. According to a report, remote work has grown by 44% over the last five years, and the number of remote workers in the U.S. increased by 159% between 2005 and 2017. Some renowned organizations, particularly in the tech industry, like Zapier, Buffer, and InVision have been in a fully remote mode for several years before the pandemic. Companies like Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, also promoted remote employees since their founding.

While this digital transformation wasn’t a new discovery, it accelerated rapidly just after the pandemic hit us. As a result, remote and hybrid work models became more prevalent, leading to changes in work practices and technologies. Communication and collaboration tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams became essential in keeping remote teams connected.

This digital transformation did pose certain challenges, like communicating across time zones, socializing virtually, preventing professional isolation, protecting client data, and avoiding slacking. But it offered more than one could ever imagine.

Moreover, the pandemic led to a shift in employee priorities, with a greater emphasis on work-life balance, mental health, and wellness. It brought about a 360-degree transformation in the work culture, leading to new work practices, technologies, and employee expectations. Employers like me could save on real estate costs, hire and utilize talent globally, mitigate immigration issues and experience productivity gains while employees could enjoy geographic flexibility.

In light of this, I would like to elucidate the variety of workplace models, the risks involved, and how organizations can benefit from multiple work modes.

Understanding a variety of workplace models

When the pandemic arrived, all hands of the employers were on deck. Organizations had to iterate their game plan and adapt to a new reality where remote work became inevitable. As a result, several organizations, including mine, were observed to implement new workplace models to ensure business continuity while maintaining social distancing and other health protocols.

However, as the pandemic continued, it became evident that absolute digital transformation could have long-term benefits including greater flexibility, reduced overhead costs, and increased productivity for some employees. Therefore, many companies have decided to embrace these new models and adopt a more hybrid approach to work.

Some of the prominent workplace models that became prevalent post-pandemic are:

Remote work model: Numerous organizations have accepted remote work as a long-term solution. This model involves allowing employees to work from home or any other location outside of the traditional office environment. Remote work has become possible due to the widespread availability of technology and collaboration tools.

Hybrid work model: This model combines remote work with in-person work. Employees are allowed to work remotely part of the time and come to the office for the other part. A hybrid work model allows for flexibility while still maintaining some level of in-person interaction.

‘Flexible work hoursmodel: I observed that several companies were inclined towards the adoption of flexible work hours to allow employees to work at their own pace. This prototype involves setting flexible start and end times for work, allowing employees to choose their own work hours, and taking breaks as needed.

Co-working spaces: While co-working spaces came in handy for start-ups and sole business owners even before the pandemic, they gained immense popularity post-pandemic. These spaces offer shared working environments that allow employees from different companies to work in the same space. This model offers flexibility, low cost, and a collaborative environment for employees.

Decentralized workplace: In a decentralized workplace model, employees use digital technologies and communication tools to stay connected with their colleagues, such as video conferencing, messaging apps, and project management software. This model provides employees with greater flexibility and work-life balance, as they can avoid commuting and work in an environment that suits their individual preferences.

Overall, each model has its own advantages and disadvantages, it depends on us to choose the one that best aligns with our business goals and the needs of their employees.


Risks involved in operating with multiple work models

Operating with multiple work models can provide many benefits, such as increased flexibility, improved work-life balance for employees, and potential cost savings for employers. However, there are also several risks and challenges involved in operating with multiple work models. Some of these risks include:

Communication breakdowns: Communication in a remote or hybrid work mode can be challenging when employees work in different locations or have different work schedules. Without proper communication tools and strategies in place, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and delays can occur, leading to decreased productivity and missed deadlines.

Inconsistent work quality: When employees work under different models, it can be challenging to ensure consistent work quality and adherence to company standards. Lack of standardization can lead to confusion, errors, and customer dissatisfaction.

Security risks: With employees working from various locations and devices, the risk of cybersecurity breaches increases. Confidential information may be exposed, stolen, or compromised, leading to reputational damage and financial losses.

Difficulty in managing remote employees: Managing remote employees requires a different set of skills and strategies than managing in-office employees. Without proper management, remote workers can become disengaged, feel isolated, and lack direction.

Legal and compliance risks: Operating with multiple work models may pose legal and compliance risks, such as failure to comply with labor laws, tax laws, and regulations specific to each working model.

Operating with multiple work models offer a plethora of benefits, but it also involves risks and challenges. Organizations must carefully consider the risks and develop strategies to mitigate them to ensure that employees remain engaged, productive, and aligned with the company’s goals and values.

Measures taken by employers to mitigate these risks and offer a hassle-free multi-model work environment to employees

Employers have recognized the potential risks and challenges associated with a multi-model work environment, including decreased productivity, reduced collaboration, and poor work-life balance. To overcome these challenges and create a hassle-free work environment, employers have implemented several strategies.

  • Implementing flexible scheduling options, such as part-time work and job-sharing, enabling employees to manage their work and personal responsibilities more effectively.
  • Introducing remote work arrangements to provide employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere, allowing them to balance their work and personal commitments.
  • Investing in technology to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration, including tools like video conferencing, messaging apps, and project management software.
  • Providing training and support to employees to help them adapt to new work environments and technologies, including training on cybersecurity and remote work best practices.
  • Establishing clear communication channels to keep employees informed about changes to work arrangements, company policies, and other important information.

Employers have sought feedback from employees to understand their concerns and suggestions for improving the multi-model work environment, which has helped them to address issues quickly and make improvements where necessary. Overall, by implementing these strategies, employers can create a hassle-free multi-model work environment that benefits both employees and the organization.

Decoding the Virtual Workplace Culture

Covid-19 caused unprecedented turbulence that no one was prepared for. Especially in the business sector, pandemic lockdowns turned organizational structures upside down. Being an entrepreneur, I too felt the effect of pandemic on my business and the urgent need to take strategic measures that could ensure its seamless operations. The advent of the ‘Work from Home’ model implementation was a great breakthrough in the contemporary work setup. While the virtual workplace culture became the low-hanging fruit during the pandemic, it posed several challenges for both employers and employees in its smooth execution, like proper infrastructure setup and maintaining optimum productivity and security.

As the lockdowns were eased and employees started attending offices on some days of the week, an accentuated work model was required to take the charge. By the end of 2021 most business sectors particularly with large contingent of white collar workers had seen a paradigm shift in their working model with remote working being the norm and occasional office visits for meeting and brainstorming being the exception. In our case as I write this blog that percentage is as high as 95% remote workers and less than 5% regularly working from office.

Several surveys state that there was a rapid increase in the number of hybrid-working employees looking for flexible work arrangements, from 13% to 24% in just four months of 2022. Furthermore, 84% of the workforce who were working remotely during the pandemic are now more comfortable working under the hybrid model.

According to a recent study, 63% of the high-growth firms preferred the ‘Productivity everywhere’ model. Moreover, 85% of the working staff stated that they can be effective anywhere and intend to remain with their current employer if they provided flexible work arrangements.

Source: Owl Labs

The above facts and figures indicate that employees are more inclined towards working under the hybrid model. Understanding the same, we have pulled out all the stops in providing a productive and safe working environment to our employees.

However, the remote and hybrid work model induced the onboarding of employees from different geographical locations and it became inevitable to implement a robust Diversity and Inclusion model in the evolved boundary less, virtual workplace.

Diversity & Inclusion in the Boundary less Workplace

A boundary less workplace refers to an organization that transcends traditional hierarchical structures and physical boundaries to foster collaboration, innovation, and agility. An inclusive workplace ensures that our entire workforce feels valued, respected, and supported regardless of their backgrounds.

I believe that when an organization embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity, it can leverage the unique strengths, perspectives, and experiences of its employees to drive innovation, creativity, and growth. And, organizations that lack these practices often struggle to build trust and create a sense of belonging among their employees. This can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and decreased productivity.

To foster diversity and inclusion in our boundaryless workplace, we went the extra mile to establish clear diversity and inclusion policies and goals that align with our organization’s mission and values. We thrived on:

      • Providing training and resources to help employees understand and respect different perspectives and cultural backgrounds
      • Creating a culture of openness and transparency, where employees are encouraged to speak up and share their ideas and concerns
      • Building diverse teams that bring together individuals with different backgrounds, skills, and experiences
      • Encouraging employees to embrace flexibility and adaptability, (for example, promoting flexible work arrangements) which are essential qualities in a boundaryless workplace
      • Celebrating diversity and recognizing the contributions of all employees, regardless of their backgrounds

Overall, a diverse and inclusive workplace is critical for success in a boundaryless workplace, where collaboration, communication, and innovation are essential. By promoting diversity and inclusivity, we envisioned fostering a culture of trust, respect, and belonging that enabled our employees to work together effectively and achieve their goals.

Decentralized Global Workforce and Larger Talent Pool

To accentuate the hybrid work model, a model that is distributed across multiple locations around the world and operates independently from a centralized headquarters was required. That is when the decentralized global workforce model stepped in.

It offered significant benefits to us and other organizations as they could acquire talent from around the world, while improving their diversity, flexibility, scalability, and competitiveness, ultimately leading to greater success and growth.

With a global workforce collaborating in a virtual workplace, corporates can tap into a broader range of talent from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. This enables them to find the best fit for specific roles, regardless of location.

Additionally, a decentralized global workforce increases flexibility and agility. With employees located around the world, organizations can operate around the clock, taking advantage of different time zones and accommodating different work styles. This can lead to faster turnaround times, increased productivity, and improved customer service.

However, managing a decentralized global workforce can pose certain challenges to employers. For example, communication can be more complex due to language barriers, cultural differences, and geographic distances. It can also be challenging to build a cohesive organizational culture when employees are spread across different locations.

Technology – a cornerstone of the evolved working model

Undoubtedly, technology has played a significant role in enabling a smooth transition to a decentralized global workforce. Advances in digital communication tools, collaboration platforms, and cloud-based software have made it easier than ever before for employees to work together from different locations and time zones.

One of the most significant contributions of technology is the rise of video conferencing and online collaboration tools. These tools allow teams to communicate face-to-face in real time, regardless of their location. Video conferencing has significantly reduced the need for travel, in turn, saving time and money for organizations. Cloud-based tools like project management software, document-sharing platforms, and customer relationship management systems can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This enables teams to collaborate on projects in a virtual workplace and access critical information regardless of their physical location.

Another way technology has facilitated a smooth transition is by providing remote access to company resources. Virtual private networks (VPNs) and other remote access tools allow employees to securely access company networks and data from anywhere in the world. This eliminates the need for employees to be physically present in the office to access critical systems and resources.

All in all, technology has played a critical role in enabling a smooth transition to a decentralized global workforce. By providing digital communication tools, collaboration platforms, cloud-based software, and remote access to company resources, technology has made it easier for employees to work together from different locations and time zones, increasing productivity and efficiency for organizations.

Final Words

The virtual workplace culture has gained significant momentum in recent years and is likely to continue to grow in the future. With the increasing availability of technological tools and the changing attitude towards remote work, more and more employers are in the race to adopt a decentralized global workforce.

I agree that this new model of work presents its own set of challenges, such as communication barriers, data security risks, and the need for effective management. But you cannot ignore the benefits of a virtual workplace culture, including increased flexibility, access to a larger talent pool, and improved productivity. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is likely that boundary less workspaces with flexible work arrangements will become the norm rather than the exception, requiring organizations to continue to adapt to this new reality.

Encouraging Continuous Learning amid the Workforce of Today

A team management approach that inspires managers to make way for consistent learning opportunities for their team members is termed Continuous Learning. Unfortunately, amid the daily commotion, our attempts at learning take a back seat. But with the undeniable benefits of continuous learning staring at our faces today, it has become compulsory for managers to embrace continuous learning and upskill the workforces for a better, faster, and more efficient performance ahead. But the question is how?

Here’s how you can start establishing a continuous learning culture in your workplace –

Encourage the kind of learning that is directed towards self. Instead of designing learning content for your teams, encourage them to give self-directed learning a try. Please make sure you allocate specific time slots for your employees to attend workshops, take up online courses, or indulge in their research activities. Provide them with the required tools to use those tools to look for solutions whenever they face any complications. Also, you can consider providing mock scenarios for your teams to practice independently and upskill themselves.

Normalize celebrating achievements, big or small. It goes without saying that no one can succeed in a day. You need to keep pushing further and reflect on your standing at regular intervals. To build an organizational culture of continuous learning, you need to push your employees to figure out the skills they need for achieving the set goals and continue pursuing that. More than completing the stipulated number of training sessions, the impact those sessions have on your employees is crucial. Once you shift your focus towards that, you make your employees feel valued, and the organization evolves. Assessing the said evolution will help bridge the skills gaps and have an actual picture of the aforementioned impact.

Draw employee attention towards the organizational learning opportunities by incentivizing them. Reports say that the attrition rate spikes up when organizations fail to provide sufficient learning opportunities to the employees. Similarly, building the required awareness of the current learning opportunities is also essential. So, make the opportunities and their significances known and then decide how you can draw your employees’ attention towards them. Incentives pique interest for sure, but there are different motivation triggers for different individuals. The key here is open communication. Only when you communicate can you find out which incentive works for which person.

Hand out tailor-made learning programs or formats keeping the goal in mind. One program can never be a perfect fit for every employee if you offer them something meaningful and worthy. But, again, without proper interaction, you will not be aware of your employees’ requirements. So, communication will play a key role here too. Once you figure out the requirements, you can hand out tailor-made learning programs to your employees and make continuous learning adaptable between them.

So start encouraging your employees to focus on continuous learning — today!

Preparing for a Challenging 2022 and the Road Beyond

Automation, hybridization, and digitization – the three tech trends of 2021 required agile, focused, and compassionate leaders; leaders who could influence their teams and make them reskill/upskill themselves to fit the new hybrid workspace perfectly. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and everything else that came along has made it very clear that businesses will no longer be ‘usual’ after this. So, the big question is – how should the leaders prepare themselves for a challenging 2022 and also the road beyond?

Use technology as humanly as possible

Adapting to the latest technologies at work is necessary, but technology should be used as a supportive tool and not something that disturbs human psychology. With the extensive utilization of virtual and augmented reality, leaders need to keep an eye on the role of these new systems in augmenting the quality of work but the quality of human lives too. With the face-to-face social interactions missing these days, the demand for VR is soaring. As a result, organizations must recognize that need and leverage these technologies responsibly and as humanly as possible.

Rebuild the company culture with diversity

The past year has seen a lot of changes in company cultures. With the new normal spreading its wings, companies needed empathetic and approachable leadership, both on face and screen. With hybridization and innovation taking over workspaces, leaders needed to rule out the old ways and cultures and replace them with the new ones. Similarly, 2022 also needs an inclusive organizational culture to run better and excel. Another trend that seemed to bloom in 2021 was the growing diversity in the workforce. It has helped to enhance the work quality. In the coming years, organizations, as well as leaders, will have to promote diversity too.

Make teamwork a business imperative

The boat keeps afloat only when the rowers are in sync. Similarly, every team member should be pursuing one goal being in the same loop. In a hybrid work environment, teamwork can do wonders when it comes to business performance. For a smooth future in the new normal, leaders must ensure teams possess similar strengths, skills, and mindsets to row the boat together. A team needs a pool of stars that can lead and follow, as per the need of the game.

Teach leadership to the employees

n organization as a whole must understand the concept of leadership clearly. A leader does not need to boss around; instead, the job of a leader is to influence and inspire. A bossy boss will only cause burnouts in employees, whereas a leader will bring about the desired action. So, teaching leadership to the employees will encourage them to work towards organizational and personal success. When employees start understanding leading in the right way, they will automatically take proactive steps to cultivate the skill.

To sum it up, it is essential to understand that business is human. Even though the pandemic has made organizations take up the technology massive, certain crucial aspects of the business will always remain human. Technology and automation can never replace morality, judgment, or empathy, which are the cornerstones of success in any business standing today. Not machines but humans run companies, even today. Automation can enhance work but it cannot make us better employees. So, the road to a successful 2022 and beyond can only be covered seamlessly if leaders can balance the human and tech resources efficiently.

What Goes Into Creating A Truly Empowered DEI Workplace Culture?

In the post-pandemic marketplace, for an organization to survive and function efficiently, the assets like diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) need to be on point.

A diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization is more productive and innovative, plus the employee engagement quotient is comparatively higher amid the DEI culture. Such an organization exhibits better productivity and retention, which renders it a good reputation amid clients too. Employees suffer from low morale when they cannot speak up or face discrimination of any sort. Such events jeopardize their performance as well as mental safety.

When it comes to achieving goals, every organization should ensure making arrangements for a top-notch employee experience because employees make achieving goals happen. And over the years, it has been proved that organizations perform better if their workforces are diverse. An efficient workspace is supposed to have diverse minds working in it. With the changing landscape of business, empowering diversity at work is a priority today.

Equity, which is not synonymous with equality, is all about making the game even for all. It provides every employee with their required distinctive resources so that they can have access to their opportunities. It bridges the gap between employees by addressing every differing need. Implement workplace equity by prioritizing remuneration equity, ensuring diverse cross-level representation, and implementing education programs.

An organization does not become inclusive by just hiring diverse employees. Inclusivity shows when the diverse workforce feels involved, acknowledged, trusted, and empowered. Diversity cannot succeed without inclusion. Therefore, to create an inclusive workplace, educate the workforce, especially the leaders, communicate transparently, and embrace every employee with distinct traits and skills.

Now that you know why the DEI workplace culture is so significant currently, here’s how you can achieve them –

Chalk out a plan with hands-on participation of the employees

Before everything, you need to define some organizational terms and conditions for achieving the desired DEI culture. Once done, it’s important to chalk out a plan to track its efficiency. With the active participation of the employees, your organization can lead by example in terms of accumulating more employee buy-in and demonstrating employee acknowledgment. This way, you can nurture a DEI workplace culture.

Leverage technology to monitor the DEI procedure

Even though technology does not solve our complex problems, it at least automates them. With the fittest data backing the technologies in use, the outcome looks way better. So, much more than embracing the DEI culture, the regular monitoring is essential, and leveraging technology for the same will always be proven right.

Administer pay equity audits and gain better insights

The contribution of pay equity audits towards eliminating workplace discrimination is massive. Any discrimination against employees, whether intentional or not, disturbs the organizational culture. It is known to put the employer at legal risk too. With the help of equity audits, you can ensure pay equality and several other equal employment practices in your organization too. Insights gained from the audits can help you identify the areas you need to put your efforts on.

Share accountability and practice collaboration

Without effective collaboration, an organization cannot nurture its culture. It strengthens the core of an organization and helps in maintaining shared accountability too. In an equitable organization, responsibilities are shared and not carried on lone shoulders.  Similarly, for an organization to achieve DEI culture, the entire workforce needs to collaborate. It is not a one-man show.

Hold on to your humanity 

In embracing the DEI culture, you must not overlook humanity. Only a ‘human’ workforce culture can be diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Instead of relying solely on data and technology for several organizational functions and thereby snatching every opportunity from the underrepresented human pool, find means to make technology, data, and humans work in unison.

So, take your baby steps towards achieving an empowered DEI organizational culture, make way for a fair and exemplary workplace, and root for a high-performing workforce.

Building an Effective Workforce Post the Pandemic

Getting our employees to work safely from their homes, building a new remote work culture for them, and providing them with all the necessary resources were the first few things to do when the pandemic hit. And doing so has successfully helped industry leaders in keeping their businesses from drowning.

But now, it’s time to move ahead of the pandemic era and plan for a long-term and sustainable post-pandemic future. And the HR leaders are all charged up to make the post-pandemic workforce happen.

A post-pandemic efficient workforce will require reliable leaders, clear-cut understandable expectations, and most importantly, able psychological support.

Reliable leaders make resilient workforces

A future-ready workspace will need efficient and compassionate leaders on whom employees can rely. Only a dependable leader will succeed in making the employees feel heard and valued in the post-pandemic workspace. Making the employees feel acknowledged will increase engagement and efficiency. On the other hand, an unreliable leader will only lead to disengaged and unproductive employees. And a post-pandemic workspace will have no space for an unproductive employee. Businesses from here will get critical and hence will need authentic leaders for assessing employee performance fairly.

Well-defined organizations demand clear-cut expectations

The post-pandemic workforce being a hybrid one, will need to have a clear understanding of the new ways of work. This way, not only will they be sure of their goals but feel physically and psychologically protected too. Unclear expectations will lead to chaos and will eventually pull the organizational balance down. Evaluating the past experiences and estimating the future course will result in a well-defined organizational structure and clear goals.

Able psychological support helps fight anxiety and burnout

The lockdown has got people to slip into various psychological issues. The effect was visible in their professional lives equally, burnout being the most common manifestation of all. A sane and efficient future workforce will need an able psychological support system in place. The emotionally exhausted employees will seek a safe work culture, and the inability to provide that will jeopardize the business.

Tips for building an effective post-pandemic workforce

Firstly, a psychologically secured workspace will have to encourage limitations. Employees need to be relieved from being available all the time. It is about time that organizations embrace work-life negotiation and promote a healthy working pattern. Secondly, both the leaders and their teams will have to make genuine connections for open discussions. Lastly, the post-pandemic hybrid workspaces will demand inclusivity for people to voice their points of view without being fearful of judgments or unlikely repercussions.

Employee Experience – An HR Opportunity & Not Just A Fancy

Employee experience, as we knew it a year and a half back, is not the same today. With a pandemic in our kitty now, the entire landscape of work has changed. This sudden transformation has changed employee expectations too. 2020 has been significantly crucial for the HRs because they were creating something unique for the very first time, a wholesome hybrid working experience.

Employee experience & its urgency

Employee experience is a journey that encompasses every aspect of your employees’ timespan in your company. It counts the various interactions made, the job roles and responsibilities played, the impact of the workspace on employee wellbeing, and every other organizational aspect that you can recall.

When the pandemic made it compulsory for the HRs to think about efficient innovations and better technologies for the companies, a new kind of leadership for the employees and, a completely different set of healthcare guidelines for employee safety and wellbeing, the urgency of achieving top-notch employee experience became all the more visible. In absence of apt technologies, the HRs could not provide the much-needed support to the hybrid workforces working overtime and facing burnouts. This dearth had certainly taken away from the employee experience of various organizations.

The significant benchmarks

Talking without any data or statistics makes no sense today. Analytics has become a practice today, and organizations all over are deep diving into analytics for digging data on benchmarks that matter. Before facing any problem head-on, you need to know its origin. If you have the answer to the ‘why’, you are almost there. As far as employee experience is concerned, one significant benchmark acknowledging the employee sentiment and analytics come in handy here.

Another significant benchmark is the business data. To gauge the overall organizational performance, you need to have a firm hold on the business data. Analysis of the same data will expose tons of issues in front of you, responsible for organizational inefficiency or low productivity. Those details will guide you in prioritizing problems and solving them in succession. The entire exercise will fetch your expertise and help in improving the employee experience. Unless you start at the root of the problem area, you will not reach the pinnacle of it.

The hybrid work innovations

COVID-19 pandemic has led to a quick paradigm shift in the working patterns and culture. Organizations all over the world were hell-bent on devising solutions to assist in building an excellent employee experience in today’s hybrid ecosphere too. The idea behind all of these efforts was to keep the workforce connected, irrespective of their locations.

Next is the employee experience toolset that has been a huge driving factor in this scenario. Professionals have designed all-inclusive portals besides chatbots via which employees accomplish every organizational operation in no time. Even with all the tools in possession, an organization cannot boast of radiating excellent employee experience if it lacks the right kind of leadership.

Future of employee experience

The main deal here is to achieve high employee productivity; without compromising on employee health and wellbeing, and the industry leaders are on it. They are making every possible effort to make the employee experience of their organizations impeccable. Employee experience in the age of hybrid working is not just a fancy; but a huge opportunity for the HRs to grow, be more functional, design-oriented, and analytical!

Courage is Destiny – Reimagining Leadership in the Hybrid Workspaces

Having all the necessary tools in possession yet not having the courage to use them is like not having them at all. Likewise, if you are a leader with all the skills and qualities to lead the new-age hybrid workforce effectively, but you are not courageous enough to implement them, then you’re not being true to yourself.

Leading with Courage

Leading an organization is no easy job and doing the same with utmost courage does not happen overnight.

You need to allow and persuade yourself to take some necessary risks that will push you forward. It works best if you build yourself a courage ladder, shrug off the fear of taking risks and start facing the risks courageously, one at a time.

You can start by taking small risks and gradually proceed to the bigger ones, continuously reskilling and upskilling yourself along your way. This way, by the time you reach a point where you need to make big organizational decisions or strategies amid high stress, you are perfectly ready for it.

So, you see, it is significant that you have an adequate understanding of the risks that you are willing to take, arrange them in an ascending hierarchy, and then start making your moves.

Climbing up the courage ladder is supposed to be a great learning experience too. With the less risky incidents, you get the chance to weigh your ideas, approaches, and check which of them work and avoid the ones that don’t. Again, as you climb up carrying all your successes and failures, you learn to enhance your flexibility and manage your team better.

Being Proactive

Again, as a courageous leader, you must be proactive. You must work towards enhancing your own proficiency, sensitivity, knowledge, and equity, and most importantly, ensure that your workforce has faith in your direction.

You need to align your actions properly for your people to understand that your intent is sincere. “Practice what you preach” is an old saying, but still holds true. This way, you will not only be a courageous leader but an inspirational one too.

Trust the Timing

If you can pick your battles wisely and focus on the timing, you are already a step ahead of being a courageous leader. Remember, not every fight is your fight. A leader needs to understand personal as well as organizational objectives well enough and negotiate accordingly or set up a new strategy.

Competent leaders do not make impulsive moves in the name of displaying courage. They pay attention to the timing, think the situation through, and finally, act. You must wait for the right time to set off because that is what successful practitioners do. Being courageous is all about right timing, every other time you’re merely irrationally aggressive.

Therefore, in order to be true to your skills and thrive as a courageous leader you should weigh your options before fighting every battle so that you can be the enabler of your success and that of your team, not an unwanted organizational naysayer!

Happy working!

‘Work-Life Negotiation’ – What is the buzz all about?

We have talked a lot about work-life balance and its significance, more since the COVID-19 pandemic had hit us. But how many times could we achieve that balance and not merely stress ourselves over how to reach there?

The concept was pertinent to a pre-pandemic world where we were supposed to work during the day and were free for personal engagements after that. But with Work From Anywhere becoming the new norm, the lines got blurred.

The new-normal digital workspace has become a little more favorable for the employers than the employees. They expect the employees to take care of work, at any given time now. It has led to exhaustion, which in turn has given birth to burnout. Recent reports suggest that burnout is on a scary upsurge since the middle of last year.

Even though organizations are trying to achieve that perfect and unreal work-life balance, it’s not working. It’s about time we think of a more practical and considerate approach that will make sense today and even tomorrow.

When it comes to balancing two priorities, stress and apprehension are evident because personal and professional lives have forever been at odds with each other. Work-life is either perfectly balanced or no; there is no grey zone. Hence, organizations need to disrupt this concept and replace it with ‘Work-Life Negotiation’.

The only way we can deal with two clashing priorities is by negotiating. Work-life negotiation eliminates the constant need to balance. One day work is a priority, and on some other day, the personal life beyond work is.

Nowadays work seems to demand our me-times, and even the balance seems to get disturbed. In critical times like this, negotiation ensures that you will have a personal life, either tomorrow or the day after, if you chose the work-life today.

Industry leaders need to disrupt the concept of work-life balance so that negotiation can step in. There will be obstacles in the way but overcoming them will lead us to a whole new professional world of immense possibilities.

Employers should further focus on the output instead of the hours the remote employees put in. If the employees fail in backing the organizational goals, leaders should step in, take charge, not only as mere professionals but also as human beings, and help the employees get back on track. And for the office goers, employers should consider leveraging technology at its best so that the employees are not unnecessarily burdened.

The pandemic has given us a golden opportunity to create a new history. Let us not waste such a chance, bid adieu to the old-normal work-life balance, and empower ourselves to negotiate. Doing so will lead us to the most constructive professional (and personal, to some extent) experience ever.

Happy working!