Speed Read: Tips on Transformation when WFH

Since lockdown in March, many organisations have gone through the mobilise and stabilise phases and are now looking to implement some form of normality for day to day working. Alongside this, significant programmes of change which were put on hold have been rescoped and restarted, taking account of new platform and technology changes.

The most significant shift from 12 months ago to the current day is the change to remote working, and the challenges of managing teams in the middle of unprecedented personal upheaval. This requires a new way of thinking and engaging across several traditional areas. In this article we outline some of the key areas around the Target Operating Model, together with some ideas and suggestions on how to maximise team performance.

People.

Ensure you know the people in the team, and any challenges they may be facing. Focus on the team dynamic (“we are all truly in this together”). Allow for everyone to get engaged on remote calls and keep an eye out for those getting left behind. In addition to setting direction and helping employees work effectively, managers should focus on energizing the team and providing reassurance. Encourage formal and informal methods of engagement and ensure everyone understands the goals ahead.

Remember, this is a stressful time. Communicate to colleagues authentically and from a human perspective. Ensure this is hard wired into the culture of your communication.

Process.

In times of difficulty, process can become a rock for people to lean on. Setting up regular progress meetings, regular one-to-ones, and establishing frameworks and expectations can assist the team through some of the ambiguity of the wider situation. Leaders must hold themselves accountable for ensuring this is not a ‘flash in the pan’, but the new way of working. Consistency of process will help those less experienced members of team feel more secure in their role.

Review support processes such as communication and training to ensure they are fit for purpose, and to provide more information and support to employees, so they are better equipped to adopt new ways of working.

Technology.

By this stage, mobilising the technology to get colleagues effectively working from home has probably been achieved. However, development of the remote working experience needs to continue through the pandemic and beyond, as the chances of returning to a pre-COVID physical working model are minimal. As you stabilize your collaboration and technical tools, incorporate organisational change into the planning, always from the perspective of the employee experience.

Technology also plays a major part in project delivery. Complete transparency on project milestones and around the PMO ensures the team are all pulling in the right direction. Utilising file sharing and other software tools ensures that all interested stakeholders are involved in collaboration and decision making.

Structure.

Setting teams up to succeed is an imperative. A great deal of thought needs to go into the structure of programme teams. In addition, we have all seen how zoom calls with 20+ people on can be ineffective and sometimes even counterproductive. Managers should consider setting up smaller, more focussed mandated teams with which have wider responsibilities. Consider if Agile working is effective in your organisation given the new remote working constraints – is change control adversely effected? Ultimately, clarity and positive engagement rather than uncontrolled Teams calls will pay significant dividends.

In summary, a considered approach and time taken at the start of the programme is time well spent. Ensuring you are getting the best out of your team in these challenging times is essential, as not only will you deliver your programmes successfully, but also retain the engagement and loyalty of your team.

If you would like to discuss this article further, learn more about The Norman Broadbent Group, or discuss specific people or organisational challenges, please do not hesitate to contact Mike Davies via mike.davies@normanbroadbent.com for an initial confidential discussion.