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Making WFH...actually work

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This is the first in a series of short blogs to help recruiters navigate this Covid-19 period whilst ‘working remotely together’. Follow our company page on LI for updates.

This week has seen the majority of our global customers shift to WFH operations.

So now that you’ve got remote recruiting operations sorted, what’s next?

Pretty much every Director or Owner we’ve spoken to is concerned about sustaining team morale in this ‘new normal’.

Cameron Brett, MD at Randstad Japan, told us “The companies who are scrambling at the moment are the ones who have a culture built on micro-management and top-down leadership. If your team knows what they need to do, have the ability to work without constant supervision and you trust them, it is a smooth transition. The 3 key success factors for effectively managing remote teams are: clear objectives, a team that can work autonomously and trust. ” Sounds simple...right?

As we go into week 2 of WFH, leading UK-based recruitment performance coach, Hannah Keep, offers some advice:

“The last week was about mitigating risk, disaster recovery and getting remote sorted. The next 2 weeks has to be about people and specifically how they feel. Once the excitement of remote working being ‘new and shiny’ has worn off and lockdown is in mid-flow, people will be in different stages of the ‘grief cycle/change curve’. Missing their freedom to go out, missing the impromptu team banter and missing their connection with you. Sure you can do video calls, team chat and everything else but now your focus needs to be on them and how they feel. Yes...feelings!!

On video it is easy to be the person that is expected because you only have to do it for 30 minutes. When you are in the office you get a better sense of how you are feeling because you see their body language and the non-verbal cues, and have a much better insight into what is really going on. So my top tips for the next 2 weeks:

  1. Have 1:1’s weekly with everyone where you don’t discuss activity/results – ask how they are, chat about what you know about them and watch their body language (are they REALLY ok?). Sometimes doing this on the phone can be better as you can really tune into their voice tonality and what they aren’t saying, whereas on the video there can be visual distractions.

  2. Make it ok for people to be down sometimes – and be the person they come to. Tell them this too. Usually we don’t have too much time for ‘moaning’ but giving people space to let it all out is ok and should be encouraged. They need to know it is ok to feel how they feel and that you will listen to them without trying to solve /reframe it/put a positive spin on it all of the time.

  3. You need to find out what motivates every single person NOW. Before it might have been the promotion, second home, lunch club, trip away. Now it will probably be very different. Hopefully these things (apart from lunch/trips) are still possible in your business and if they aren’t how else are you going to do this? You need to get creative. And ask them as a team – how do we keep the sales culture alive? How can we keep what we had alive during lock down? And individually, what do you need from me to be at your most motivated and ‘battle fit’?”

Hannah has developed COVID-19 battle-ready content over the last week and all of these resources will soon be live on her new platform . There is a 2 part programme - Managing and Motivating people through FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) which will go into this, as well as remote management, in more detail. We highly recommend connecting with Hannah for more information.

...and some advice from an Owner 2-months into Lockdown.

Andrew Hairs is Group MD of Monroe Consulting Group, with 7 global offices and a strong presence in the China market.

“Monroe Consulting Group has 7 international offices, all of which will be remote working, except for China. Yes, that’s right. Our Shanghai office has been back since the start of March and the country is very close to being business as usual.

My experience has been the feeling of absolute fear being quickly replaced with an amazing sense of pride and admiration in my team. I am sure many of us are seeing people go above and beyond to ensure their colleagues are healthy and that productivity remains as high as possible.

Monroe moved to a combination of Microsoft 365 and Vincere some years ago, which allows us to keep in contact with our entire team and get an oversight on activity through Vincere analytics, especially the Engagement and KPI Goals dashboards. We have strived to keep people routine as normal as possible and added a quick check in and check out call for each day.

I think the key to success is to maintain motivation during this period. People are bound to have external concerns about family and friends and as time progresses it will be more and more difficult to find the energy needed to perform as a recruiter. So my advice is when you spot somebody who has low activity numbers, a quick call to check on their personal situation and coach them in the things they can do throughout the day to stay energized will get results.”