Episode 2: The dog is my homework – Balancing the increasing demands for individual freedoms and ongoing business needs
The cultural norms and expectations people have from their employer are changing. As more organisations adopt hybrid working models, the challenge of balancing individual expectations with business needs while maintaining a healthy and culture has become even more complex. Things that weren’t acceptable before the pandemic are now becoming mainstream and are causing tensions.
If leaders do not effectively manage this tension, they risk a decrease in motivation, a sense of detachment from the organisation and increased levels of ‘quiet quitting’. The ones who recognise this challenge and proactively take action to find a better balance between the increasing individual demands and ongoing business needs will realise the benefits of improved communication, collaboration, productivity, fairness and transparency, accelerating a healthier workplace culture.
This working environment requires leaders to develop hybrid working strategies that are flexible in its approach and serve employees, stakeholders, and customers. This will enable organisations to take advantage of latest trends, as well as attract and retain talent in a highly competitive labour market.
From our experience, by embracing these principles, leaders can create a culture that supports individual freedoms while still meeting business needs:
- Align people to the company’s purpose. Build new hybrid working rituals that reinforce the common purpose and desired culture, empowering individuals to work towards a common goal regardless of their location or working patterns. Better alignment helps everyone to see how they add value and contribute to the purpose collectively, beyond their individual needs.
- Clarify and communicate expectations consistently. It’s important for leaders to set clear expectations for their people and to develop strategies to overcommunicate these messages consistently using multiple formal and informal channels. To minimise confusion and tensions, they need to be as transparent as possible and provide rational behind why certain decisions are being made. Clarity on expectations backed up with objective reasoning and consistent execution is a key contributor to a culture of high engagement and fairness.
- Focus on building trust and having open conversations. Create a culture where people feel comfortable expressing their needs, concerns and ideas, without fear of negative consequences. Equip your people with the right skills and tools to have a healthy debate, effectively manage conflict, hold constructive conversations, actively listen, empathise and work together on achieving the best possible outcome.
- Measure impact over outputs or time. Empower people to take accountability for their ways of working by measuring outcomes and impact. Promoting an adult-to-adult relationship and self-leadership amongst employees helps leaders to meet business needs while accommodating for individual work preferences.
If this topic is of interest or you are facing a similar challenge in your organisation. We would love to chat!
Head of Culture