The pandemic has shifted the world of work into a period of accelerated change. How can we navigate these changes to build stronger and more resilient organisations in the face of disruption.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, a common thread that carried through the WORKTECH APAC 21 Keynote presentation by Hardeep Matharu, Head of Business Growth, Asia and Senior Workstyle Consultant at Veldhoen + Company, and Natasha Wahap, Head of Employee Engagement and Inclusion at Grab, was the pivotal role of communications in today’s workplace. Good communication has the power to help maintain team connections, empower employees and build a strong culture of sharing.
1. Maintaining Team Connections for Better collaborations
Remember the days when you stopped by a colleague’s desk for a quick chat or a mini brainstorm? How about the casual conversations by the coffee machine? In a world where you can no longer rely on having these informal exchanges, we have to be more intentional in how we communicate and stay connected with our team.
This might entail going outside the regular, rigid Zoom agendas to create opportunities for collaborations and relationship building. For a distributed workforce, it might be worth forming agreements on how often the team should meet up either virtually or in-person to connect. Another important consideration for hybrid teams is to avoid creating rifts or alienations between the different teams and encourage more cross collaborations and partnerships between teams.
2. Paving the Way for Trust, Clarity and Empowerment
In a hybrid work environment where we are no longer in the same physical space all the time, it can be difficult to overcome distance without trust. Trust enables us to place greater reliance on and have a positive expectation of our colleagues and employees. On the other side of the coin, a lack of trust can lead to second-guessing and a lot of anxiety from the leaders’ perspectives. Trust is absolutely needed and crucial for successful hybrid teams.
You would find that clarity, in many ways, comes hand to hand with trust, but the point about clarity is that without it, you will face many complexities. For example, if you are unclear about the terms you will be measured in for your roles and responsibilities, it is difficult for you to perform and succeed. In a hybrid work environment, clarity needs to be built upon by leaders and organisations to set their teams up for success.
Hardeep Matharu, Head of Business Growth, Asia and Senior Workstyle Consultant at Veldhoen + Company, shared, “If things aren’t clear or set in terms of where you need to get to as a team member, it is very difficult for you to perform your role effectively. This is even more [important] in a hybrid environment where you could essentially go in many different directions to reach your goal. It is very important that you are clear and very tangible about what you need people to deliver for you to function in your business.”
Clarity and trust go hand in hand to empower individuals and teams to make the right decisions and bring their best selves to work. Where possible, teams should define the roles and responsibilities for themselves instead of it coming top-down. It sets the foundation for how the team will problem-solve, contribute and take on responsibilities that they had set together down the road. At Veldhoen + Company, we have seen this work extremely effectively when teams are empowered.
3. Incidental V.S. Intentional Knowledge Sharing
A large casualty of the shift towards hybrid working is ‘incidental’ knowledge sharing; there are few, if any, conversations in the hallway as compared to pre-pandemic. This leaves us plenty of room to experiment with intentional forms of knowledge sharing, facilitated by different technologies and methods to work in alternative spaces.
A great example of knowledge sharing is Grab’s coaching on-demand service. It was launched at the start of the pandemic to provide managers with support, and the opportunity to tap into an extensive network. To this day, coaching remains a huge part of Grab’s culture. There is now an internal bot that automatically connects grabbers to coaches and mentors on topics ranging from wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, through to Grab’s employee resource groups.
“In building trust, clarity and becoming super outcome-driven, it’s important to anchor on purpose. It’s important to show this every single day, in our everyday habits, in how we make decisions and in how we treat one another.” – Natasha Wahap, Head of Employee Engagement and Inclusion, Grab.
Keen to find out more? Catch up on WORKTECH APAC’21 Emerging Stronger from Disruption keynote presentation by Hardeep Matharu, Head of Asia, Business Growth and Senior Workstyle Consultant at Veldhoen + Company Singapore, and Natasha Wahap, Head of Employee Engagement and Inclusion at Grab here.