I thought I would take a slightly different approach with this week’s blog. So here are a few news “snippets” which I trust you will find of interest.
1. Essential communication bites with your employees
Talking to your team and considering maintaining and advancing your culture at work is key to creating truly flexible work.
Eighteen months into this truly awful pandemic it remains massively important to have a really strong culture – this needs to be based on strong values of trust and confidence in firm leadership. One key essential is to ensure you have a really open team dialogue.” So, let’s look at the Big ‘R’.
2. Building the big ‘R’
In these ever challenging times it is essential to build the Big R – Relationship. Some partners openly admit that they realise that they have gone into a shell. They activate the computer about 7am and often leave this on until early evening – sometimes even beyond. Their contact with staff has been pretty much always work related – asking for this or that to be done NOW or ASAP. If that is you or you have a team that is still largely home based then spend time to build RELATIONSHIP. This takes time so plan this into your schedule. Focusing on communication could never be more important, especially as the recruiters have endless instructions to go and recruit – and they will definitely be doing this with online meetings and their enticing offers that suggest that the grass is greener elsewhere. Then there is all the marketing that you see emanating from sites such as LinkedIN.
This all takes time, so planning ahead is essential. I strongly recommend that if you are not already doing this that you schedule a weekly ‘how are you’ meeting. Your staff are most likely working longer than the normal hours so consequently some ‘I care’ time is really important. Be prepared to invest your time in what I am sure is already a busy schedule to ensure you have a great relationship and bonding with your team. For many this is one component of the ‘new norm’ if you’re wondering how to implement flexible working into your firm, here are a few key pointers:
Some quick team meeting tips:
- Make sure you have an agenda
- Include any of the big rocks and big challenges that they/you face
- Be open and prepared to be personal sharing aspects of your challenges. This will encourage them to open up
- Make sure you also have outcomes – action items
- In doing this you are acknowledging Reality and helping everyone Relate as you Redefine what success and achievement looks like.
Ultimately, successful flexible work comes back to a strong foundation of leadership, management, dialogue, and being willing to review and reflect on what’s working for you.
3. Is your website ready for Google’s ‘page experience’ update?
Google has revealed on Twitter that it is now rolling out the page experience, Google said the rollout is happening very slowly and will take place until the end of August 2021.
Sites should not expect to see drastic changes as a result of this update, Google says, and any sudden drops or spikes should be mitigated by the gradual rollout process.
Google first announced back in November that the page experience update was scheduled to go live this year.
Since then, much information has come out regarding what will be included in the update. It may come as good news to site owners that Google hasn’t thrown in any surprises in the form of new features that weren’t previously revealed.
Key action: Websites are an essential component of most firm’s marketing essentials. Check with your webmaster to establish if any action is required on your website.
4. If you are giving your website a ‘spring clean’ here are a few more tips as you aim to make your clients lives easier:
- Embed chatbots in your website to answer simple questions or quickly connect clients and prospects with a knowledgeable and friendly member of your firm for more complex enquiries
- Leverage content and social media in your marketing strategy to position your firm as an authority on matters that are important to your clients
- Take advantage of technology that allows clients to answer questions, sign engagement letters, and send and receive documents securely using their mobile device
- Update your website to ensure the layout and content are attractive, the design is mobile-friendly, and potential clients can easily find your contact information, schedule an appointment, download free resources, etc.
By making the client’s life easier, you are then better able to respond to your requests, which makes your life simpler as well.
5. Working from home (WFH)
Capita has announced that they intend to permit their 30,000 staff to WFH even after the crisis ends. It was about listening to colleagues on the changes we wanted to make on a permanent basis,” said Will Serle, Capita’s Chief People Office. Incidentally, like Will’s job title? It is certainly a change from HR director, or staff partner.
Barclays bank frame their decision making process by taking into account three themes:
- How they can continue to be the bank of choice for clients and customers
- The role of technology, and
- What is important for their colleagues
These themes are underpinned by a belief that spending time together – be it in the office or branch – is still the foundation of how they will work in the future.
Deloitte has recently given its 20,000 UK employees the choice of when and where they work. Their recent staff survey revealed that 81 per cent of staff expect to work from a Deloitte office up to two days a week in the future. Ian Stewart their chief economist asked, “Could we find that, actually it is possible to sustain quite high levels of home working with quite high levels of employment and GDP growth?”
A few quickies on WFH:
- Is this for us? Explore whether flexible working would make your team flourish or flounder – seek feedback from your employees and take their opinions on board because each team member may have different preferences and needs.
- What might it look like? Have strategies in place prior to shifting to flexible work, to ensure you’re prepared for any future challenges.
- Where are we as a firm? Assess the qualities of your team – how strong is your management? And if any managers aren’t as skilled as others, how are you going to upskill them without putting too much pressure on them?