Monday 4th July 2022
Just after the pandemic took hold and everyone was thrust into the new world of remote and hybrid working, it became clear that the old ways of doing things were no longer fit for purpose.
The acceleration of workplace transformation
Leaders needed to swiftly learn a whole new set of skills to lead their teams effectively remotely. Being able to support each individual to do their job from afar, whilst also considering each individual employee’s mental health requirements, keeping engagement flowing across the business, and keeping morale high when there was deep uncertainty, all took a great deal of energy and inner resources. Suddenly, leaders were looked upon to find immediate solutions to problems and challenges they had never experienced or even considered before.
Employees were thrust into circumstances which forced them to juggle their worklife, household responsibilities, childcare and home schooling, all at the same time. Statistically, women bore the brunt of these challenges, and on top of this, most job losses were in industries that were predominantly female occupied. Women also statistically suffered from higher increases of domestic abuse, particularly women of colour, although statistics can sometimes hide the true extent of male domestic abuse, which is often far less likely to be reported.
Workplace culture and its importance
Those organisations which already had a high level of trust embedded within their culture were able to not only survive the challenges the pandemic threw at them, but many were also able to thrive. When leaders demonstrated trust in their employees, combined with the right levels of support, engagement and check-ins, and a sense of genuine curiosity for their welfare, trust became a firm foundation when all else was uncertain. In a remote and hybrid work environment, trust is essential for success.
“Trust in the workplace means your employees enjoy a culture of honesty, psychological safety, and mutual respect. They’re proud of where they work and are more willing to go above and beyond for your organization. Trust in the workplace also helps employees feel secure in their jobs and, in turn, reduces turnover.” – Kelly Wong, 9 Tips for Building Trust in the Workplace
At Greenacre, we felt lucky when we discovered that we had experienced our most successful year ever during the height of the pandemic. But we knew that it wasn’t down to sheer luck. We already trusted our teams to work remotely, in fact we’d been actively encouraging it for quite some time, as an agile workforce. We’d realised early on that when our people were able to work flexibly and adapt to personal commitments, they became more energised, more motivated and more productive. We had already developed a strong culture of trust within our organisation before lockdown hit, and we were able to adapt fast, becoming curious about each individual’s needs and challenges, and listening as their situations changed. We were honest about our own struggles, making talking about mental health a normal and expected process. Since that time, we have continued to adapt as a hybrid workforce, and each year has been more successful than the last.
A better understanding of effective leadership
We started up our CIH accredited Leading for Tomorrow programme during lockdown, a much-needed solution which helps leaders in the housing sector gain the confidence and skills to lead effectively in today’s challenging work environments. This year, we are also launching our Learning to Lead programme, aimed at helping those at the beginning of their leadership journey to gain the confidence and skills to lead in a safe and supported environment. Both programmes are built on the principles of Trust, Strength building and a Collaborative mindset, with a strong emphasis on developing applied knowledge and building a mutually supportive network from across the sector. If you’d like to find out more about our leadership programmes, feel free to get in touch.