First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently is a book authored by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman that I have returned to over the years to foster a strong leadership culture at Asset Living. In summary, the book suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to management, but one similarity all managers share is the readiness to break every rule. The current pandemic introduces unfamiliar and unexpected challenges for businesses across the world; employees are asked to adapt to new ways of working as companies redefine roles and restructure daily operations. The rules have gone out the window.
I believe that this is the time to show up as a leader and offer creative solutions so we can successfully reach the other side of this together.
As a measure of workplace strength and employee satisfaction, the authors of the book raise the following 12 questions.
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
The idea is that in a healthy workplace, employees will have positive responses to these questions. At Asset Living, we believe employee satisfaction starts with effective onboarding. Our goal in onboarding a new employee is to integrate them into the company and ensure they feel supported from the start. Our team is putting extra emphasis on communication, expectations, and culture to prevent uncertainty, because, without proper training and follow-through, we risk low productivity, poor engagement, and low employee retention rates.
New hires are being onboarded virtually, and our managers are searching for ways to improve the training process in the absence of in-person meetings and company gatherings. Here are some of my suggestions to properly onboard new hires during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay committed to keeping the lines of communication open. As the leader of your company, practice transparency, so your employees are not left in the dark. Welcoming an employee is no longer a one-day process followed by an in-office adjustment period. The process should be spread out over several days, or weeks. Begin by giving the employee all relevant training, materials, and information to review before the formal process kicks off. Include a clear agenda of what they can expect and the technology they will need to do their job. Likely, they have never worked remotely before, so be sure to explain what that looks like for your company.
Consistent communication, whether it be one-on-one time with their manager or a company-wide meet-and-greet, is key for new employees. Help them feel like part of the team and create opportunities to maintain these relationships until you return to the office.
Clearly articulate your vision of success for each new employee. Get them up to speed on your expectations and explain that remote requirements may differ from in-office responsibilities. Then, let them know how they can achieve their goals. By meeting expectations early, new hires will build confidence and set the stage for future achievements.
Maintain a focus on company culture.
Company culture is an integral part of Asset Living and vital to the success of our employees. A strong company culture attracts talent that values their work and ultimately performs better. Employee satisfaction is higher at companies that put the wellbeing of their employees first — something Asset Living proudly does. Company culture is harder to maintain through computer screens, but leaders in your company must continue to build company culture that encourages connection.
Ask your employees to answer the questions posed by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently.
In a successful workplace, effective leadership helps navigate uncertain situations for better outputs and satisfied team members at every level.