Put your People first – Trust and Flexibility
This week’s show contributes to the current debate about employees returning to the office. With trust and flexibility being at the forefront, as we come out of lockdown, and why a growing majority would like to remain working remotely. Our guest, Dawn Ward, opens the show by telling us, “fundamentally, without any of the people in your business, and without looking after those people, you don’t have a business”.
In light of this, it raises the question, what does it take for companies to go from a largely in-office culture to an increased remote working culture?. Dawn tells us, “for me, it’s all about having that people-first approach and going out and listening to your people”. In short, you need to understand what your people now require from you as an employer.
With this in mind, we expand on this opening point. In addition, Dawn added, “the pandemic has opened so many doors for people in terms of opportunities that they might not have seen before. Speaking to friends, family, and colleagues, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work from home”.
Listen to your People
Meanwhile, specifically addressing the show title. She says, “trust and flexibility go hand-in-hand. Firstly, if you do them in isolation, it’s not going to work. Secondly, if you are a flexible business and you have got no trust that’s going to fall down. Lastly, if you trust your people but you are not flexible, they are going to leave”.
We go on, to discuss the scenario where a company offers flexible working options. However, it’s incumbent on the Leader or Manager to extend that option to the employee. What does HR do in that scenario?. Dawn says, “if people don’t feel comfortable asking the question because they know it’s going to be a ‘No’. Then what else aren’t they (your employees) telling you?”
We then asked Dawn, what is likely to happen if the business wants employees to return to the office and they wish to remain working from home?. She advises, “fundamentally we need to listen to our people, that’s a first. You can’t make these decisions unilaterally, people won’t think there will be a mass exodus, but there is definitely strength in numbers”, and “now that everyone has had that opportunity you are going to have much larger proportions of people saying I want to do this differently”
If that wasn’t enough, you’ll hear Dawn talk about:
- The positive outcomes of forced flexibility
- How HR can facilitate conversations across the business
- Recognising the productivity gains of remote working
- Consider the cultural impact of the changing world of work
- Going back to basics from an HR perspective to support the business
- How HR can become the value-add function
Watch the YouTube replay
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Thank you to our fabulous sponsor EnterpriseAlumni