By Kim Marie Branch Pettid, Owner and CEO of LeTip International
Cultivating a workplace culture that prioritizes respect, equity, and employee satisfaction is essential to succeeding as an entrepreneur in 2023. Amidst the volatile markets, rising inflation, and looming recession, the best way to combat the unpredictable challenges is to invest in your workplace’s culture. When your employees are happy, your customers and clients will notice. The major trends that will shape the business landscape moving into the new year are the embracing hybrid and remote work, flexibility in scheduling, and giving quality feedback. Here is key insight into these emerging organizational trends:
Work-from-home, hybrid and in-person work environments
After the widespread transition from in-person to remote working environments brought on by the pandemic, more and more workplaces are embracing telecommuting. This increase is expected to continue into 2023, and remote work or at least the hybrid model of partly in-office partly remote work is becoming the new normal.
There are many advantages to adopting the remote work model. Giving employees the opportunity to work remotely builds trust between business leaders and their employees. Employees do not feel micromanaged by their leadership team, increasing their sense of freedom and their overall satisfaction with their work environment. Working remotely enables employees to experience a better work-life balance and save a significant amount of time by eliminating travel from home to the office.
After all, most working circumstances do not require all employees to be physically present in the office at the same time, and most employees’ primary means of communication is through email, texting and video calls. Employers that are willing to adapt to telecommuting are likely to see higher retention rates, because employees are more likely to feel a sense of personal recognition between themselves and their leadership team.
On the other hand, hybrid and in-person work environments do have their advantages. When implementing and enforcing these formats it is important to set clear expectations for why a meeting is happening fully in-person or hybrid is being offered as an option. Is it to boost collaboration or facilitate high quality brainstorming? Are you allowing certain individuals to join remotely because their presence is a-must but they are unable to attend in-person? Is the subject matter serious or celebratory and requires everyone be fully present and distraction free? Being intentional about the workplace setting will be something smart entrepreneurs and leaders do in the new year.
Employer flexibility with employee scheduling and preferences is a-must
The workday is evolving past the typical 9 to 5 in order to prioritize the scheduling needs of individual employees, allowing more and more entrepreneurs to implement a flex schedule. The introduction of remote work frees employees from the confines of stiff predetermined office hours, and employees can now build their schedules around what is the best fit for their respective styles of work when they can find the most focus.
This shift comes at no cost to the business, and even has the potential to cut costs for businesses in the long run by enabling them to save money on office resources. Employees also have more freedom to their responsibilities outside of work including attending doctor appointments, caring for their children, or attending classes to further their education. With more independence, employees are more likely to have positive feelings towards their leadership teams which leads to higher productivity because these positive feelings translate into higher engagement in their work.
Leading mindfully by giving feedback the right way
No matter your workplace’s format and scheduling flexibility, feedback is one of the greatest ways we can help our employee’s grow in their roles. Actively listening to evaluations from employees and giving them good feedback are the essence of entrepreneurial success in 2023. Business operations cannot be improved without open channels for feedback, and business leaders won’t know what works and what doesn’t if they don’t listen to their employees. The practice of giving honest feedback without coming across too harsh promotes a positive and productive organizational culture, bolstering productivity and overall productivity.
There are a few guiding principles that business leaders can follow to properly give feedback. First, never point the finger at an individual team member. Phrase your feedback in a way that encompasses everyone in the company, using generalizations to soften the blow. Also, be mindful of your tonality whether talking or writing, so feedback is uplifting and not demoralizing. Be firm but encouraging, because reprimanding gets nothing accomplished.
Different methods of communication call for different approaches to giving feedback. For example, it is more difficult to provide feedback to remote workers via email because so much is misconstrued in the written word. It is very important to engage in this dialogue on a video call, where you can communicate in real time and an increased amount of verbal and nonverbal signals such as the tone of voice can be interpreted. When it comes to feedback, only use email to make an appointment for a meeting to discuss the matter further.
Above all, ensure that your employees know that your door is open, and they are free to come to you if they have any questions. Make them feel included so they’re a part of not just the problem but the solution. Most importantly, express your gratitude and thank employees for their diligent work. Whatever you’re thankful for in their personalities or actions, make sure they know it.
Investing in your workplace culture is the best way to invest in the future of your business. A healthy culture strengthens employee engagement, boosts employee retention, and improves overall performance. Looking ahead to 2023, take inventory of your workplace’s culture, especially in the ways it relates to remote work, employee flexibility, and giving feedback.
Kim Marie Branch Pettid is the owner and CEO of LeTip International. She has over thirty years of organizational leadership experience and is currently the driving force behind the world’s largest privately-owned professional networking group. Kim Marie helps small business owners reach their personal and professional goals with advanced technology and proven relationship-building techniques.