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Ep05 Hybrid Workplaces - Do they work? cover image

Ep05 Hybrid Workplaces - Do they work?

Hosted by Leanne & Al Elliott

Released on July 25, 2022


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In these post-pandemic times, it seems everyone wants to work remotely - but that's not actually the case.

A recent survey revealed that most people just want some flexibility to work remotely sometimes.

In this episode, Business Psychologist (and lead consultant at Oblong), Leanne Elliott digs into the why, when & how of implementing a Hybrid Workplace.

You'll hear her draw on both her decade of experience managing remote teams, as well as explaining the science behind it all.

Don't be put off by the idea of flexible/remote work - when done right you'll usually see a huge improvement in productivity and employee happiness, and a reduction in staff turnover.


Want a chat with Leanne about how you can build an amazing workplace culture? Email us: [email protected] or book a free call.

Want to build an amazing culture at your workplace? Have a peek at our Culture Roadmap

Got feedback, questions or future guest suggestions? Email us: [email protected].


The Transcript

Al Elliott 0:00
What happens if the team wants to work remotely, but the managers and leaders want everyone in the office?

Hello, and welcome to episode five of the truth lies and workplace culture podcast. It's a podcast for business owners who want to build high performing teams that genuinely care about the business you've built. Let's do some introductions if this is your first time listening. Over opposite me is Leanne Elliott. Hello, Leanne.

Leanne Elliott 0:31
Hello. Alastair,

Al Elliott 0:32
that's very formal, wasn't it? The reason why that sounds a bit funny is because Leanne is my wife. I'm Al Elliott. We're cofounders of Oblong, which is a consultancy, which is dedicated to helping business owners build high performing teams that genuinely care about the business that they have built. So little bit of background. Why? Why am I why am I asking you questions rather than you asking me questions?

Leanne Elliott 0:53
Frankly, I know what I'm talking about. You barely know what date it is. That's not true!!! I'm a Business psychologist, that's what I do is what I've done for almost 15 years. I have worked in business, I've consulted with businesses, all the things people and culture, so I like to think I have some knowledge. I don't know all the answers... don't get me wrong. How can one person know all the answers? They can't? They can't. But I know some of the answers that might help.

Al Elliott 1:22
Maybe Confucius and Gary Vee, are the only two people in the world.

Leanne Elliott 1:27
Maybe Barack Obama as well.

Al Elliott 1:28
Yeah, he seemed to... he seemed to know what he's talking about. However, in terms of remote work, which is our subject for today, he may not know much about it. Cool as he was, he may not know much about it, but the lady opposite me absolutely does. So the question we're asking today is, is this remote work revolution, actually a hoax? And we're going to find out a little bit more about that. So let's just start. Lea, can you give us a definition of remote work for anyone who's not quite sure?

Leanne Elliott 1:55
Of course, I think I think after the last two and a half years of bullshit, let's be frank, people are fairly familiar with the concept of remote work - it is somebody who, who works for a business, not neccesarily on site, or may be part of a team that collectively assembles every day at one specific location, but they will attend remotely.

Al Elliott 2:16
And so why is that? So? Hybrid working is a slightly different term. So how does that differ?

Leanne Elliott 2:22
Yeah, so hybrid working is something that's really gained popularity - it's a term from the pandemic, or post pandemic, or the early life post pandemic, where organisations have found themselves with a workforce who have a preference to work sometime in the office, and sometimes remotely. That structure of being on site or remote is called hybrid working.

Al Elliott 2:47
Brilliant. So we were talking before we pressed record, and you were explaining the remote working isn't actually a new thing. Although it might be new to a lot of people, it's not a new thing. Tell us what's the history of the remote working?

Leanne Elliott 2:59
Yes, I mean, remote work in some capacity has been around since the 1980s. But it really gained momentum during the naughties and tennies..., as we call it.. the teenies?. It sounds weird that

Al Elliott 3:10
Teens...? The Tweenies...? Nope. that sounds wrong.

Leanne Elliott 3:13
Anyway, since 2000, since the millennium, purely because technology facilitates this much more easily than it ever has before. So yeah, remote work is not new. What's new is the scale on which people are now able or have worked remotely.

Al Elliott 3:31
And so you're the lady has got all the stats, have you got any kind of statistics around this that demonstrate or backup, what you just said?

Leanne Elliott 3:39
I do. I mean, I have my own personal experience. I've been a remote worker in some capacity since 2013. I've managed static on-site teams as a remote manager. And also as well bear in mind, people who are in national management roles. They're not on-site with their team every day, even if they're team is together. So it's really not a new concept for managers, especially to not necessarily on site with their teams. Beyond that, I've also worked for fully remote companies. I've recruited teams that have spanned continents, and I continue to work with organisations who are either adjusting to remote work or hybrid structure.

Al Elliott 4:18
I think what's interesting, some of the clients who you have worked with, recently, there are people on the team who've never met each other, like the owner has never in person met any of these people.

Leanne Elliott 4:28
Absolutely, yeah, I'm currently doing some training and coaching with a member of staff that I've never met. He is based in Canada, and I probably never will meet him unless all paths cross somewhere in the world. One of my main clients in Australia who I've worked with since 2015, I met for the first time in 2019. So it's really not an unusual thing and particularly thinking in the technology space or the services space where, you know, being on site isn't as critical to the function of job that you're doing. It's not uncommon, but you asked me for some statistics. So I went back to 2019, the last kind of major data points that we had pre pandemic. And I found some interesting things. So there's a survey by buffer.com, it is a fully remote company. So we need to be, I always think whenever you look at statistics or, or any kind of claim, you really have to dig down into where that's come from and what might influence it. But let's just take it at face value for now. So buffer.com did a survey in 2019. They asked that their participants, would you like to work remotely, at least some of the time for the rest of your career? Do you gamble? A guess it? How what percentage said yes,

Al Elliott 5:41
I'm gonna go with Yes. Is it on the board? Yes,

Leanne Elliott 5:45
is on the board. And for a bonus point, can you tell me what percentage of people said yes,

Al Elliott 5:50
I'm gonna guess it was around about 40-50%

Unknown Speaker 5:54
Higher...

Leanne Elliott 5:59
99% of the respondents said they liked to work remotely, at least some of the time for the rest of their career. Some of the times you're not even talking about fully remote work, you're talking about hybrid. Interesting. Now, I question that, because buffer is a fully remote company, therefore, might be way they've asked the questions how they've gathered, gathered, their sample of people, type of people who might be willing to respond to this type of survey might already be working remotely or have an invested interest in remote work. So 99% might be a little bit inflated. However, it is more developer researcher. So what I found is some general stats. So global workplace analytics, they say said in 2019, the remote work increased by 140%. Since 2005. Huge, so already on that really strong growth trajectory. Gallup, who is a real thought leader in anything management, leadership, culture, state of organisations, they've been gathering data for 80 years now, they report in 2019, that 43% of employees worked remotely, at least some of the time. That is in America, there was actually other research based in Switzerland that suggests that 70% of workers worked remotely at least one day a week, and 53% worked remotely, at least half the week, I could go on for the stats is somewhere between 50 and 80%, of professional work remotely in some capacity in 2019.

Al Elliott 7:36
So tell me, why do you think as a business psychologist, as a scientist, why do you think we were already headed that way towards a, at least a hybrid if not a fully remote workplace?

Leanne Elliott 7:49
The reality is that working remotely not having to be in a set place at a set time brings a level of freedom that really appeals to us as just human beings, having control is something that we're really into. So having that that ability to choose your working time be flexible in that way, in terms of family commitments, in terms of where you live, and the cost of that, in terms of wellness. You know, there's a lot of research that shows the work life balance is easy to have if you have remote work in some capacity. there are downsides to that though, of course, always two sides the argument. But yeah, there are a lot of benefits to to employees who who see remote work as a way of better managing the balance between their working life and the home life.

Al Elliott 8:36
So I think what's interesting is... well, I'm fascinated by making money and not necessarily the actual act of making money, but why people want to make money... back in my 20s. I was like, I want to be the youngest millionaire in the UK and then realised I couldn't be, so I wanted to be the youngest millionaire in Manchester, then I realised I couldn't be, so I wanted to be youngest millionaire who made money from delivering beer, which is what my first business did, which was not a good idea listener. But what's interesting is that people seem to want money. And actually, they don't, most people don't necessarily want the money, they want the money, they want the freedom that the money will give them. So what we're saying here is that this is not necessarily a threat to manage, this is an opportunity to give people what they want, which is total freedom of well restricted freedom to a certain extent, but they're giving you the freedom to live where they want work when they want, without necessarily have to be a millionaire to do it. So So tell me, I want to ask you about recruitment, the impact on recruitment and impact on engagement, how managers deal with it. Before we move into that, is there anything else that you think is important for our listeners to know about the whole work? Transition, the remote work revolution?

Leanne Elliott 9:41
Yeah, I think what, what we have experienced and I think perhaps, business owners or leaders are in, in still somewhat in a state of shock, from the significant shift in our working patterns that has happened over the last few years. And then the fact that it was it was during a pandemic And I think there is a there is I can't remember who it was. But it was a psychologists that I follow who said something like to organisations struggling with remote work, or employees tripping from at work. Remember that you are not working remotely, you are working remotely during a global pandemic, we worked remotely for, what, seven years before the pandemic hit. And it was a massive adjustment and shift for us. And it was a trauma, it was something we've gone through that was caused a lot of anxiety, a lot of disruption, a lot of change. And that is difficult. That said, we also showed in the pandemic, how amazingly resilient and adaptable we are, as humans, we transition to a state of work and accelerated shift in work and unprecedented shift and work probably since the second world war. Yet we did it in a way where the majority of organisations did it effectively, the majority of employees were as productive performed as well, we've proven that we can do it. Therefore, trying to wind that clock back, when employees have had a taste of this freedom, a taste of this different way of working is very difficult.

Al Elliott 11:17
Just listening to what you said there, it does sound I mean, in most people's careers, which usually spanned 40 to 50 years in most people's careers. There's been over the last 50 years, there's been nothing like the pandemic that has given a such a shift. Any kind of shift or trend has happened slowly over time. Whereas this was just like almost like 90% of the workforce or 80%. I don't know the stats, I'm sure you do. We're suddenly going: "Right.. Life isn't the same. And as in next week, you're not allowed to leave your house." I mean, that's it's trauma to start off with. But also, it's something which managers and leaders have never had to deal with in their career so far.

Leanne Elliott 11:59
I think you're right. And I think it's that it's the speed at which leaders, managers, businesses have to adjust. And I think it's also the blanket impact it had, it's not so much that there hasn't been disruption or challenges. Over the past 50 years, there have been you know, we've got the crash in the 80s. You've got the global financial crisis in 2008. Lots of businesses and industries suffered and had to pivot. I myself was in HR consultancy when the global crisis hit in 2009, and then pivoted into Welfare to Work simply because the employment unemployment rates were going through the roof. So many people had to pivot to, to various economic challenges that have happened. But what was unique about the pandemic is the speed at which happened, and the scale at which it happened. So every single one of us on this planet, were impacted by the pandemic, whether that be in terms of our freedoms, and what we could do, and for the majority of us how and why we work.

Al Elliott 12:58
So I want to break down the remainder of this episode into three sort of silos. So we want to talk about what impact does remote work have on recruiting? What impact does remote work have on ensuring that your employees are engaged? And then and then what what impact does it have for leaders and management in terms of sort of a slightly higher level a more strategic level? So where do you want to start?

Leanne Elliott 13:23
Should we start with recruitment? So I think recruitment probably had the fewest changes. In terms of how people recruit people have been doing it online for a long time, they used to advertising roles online, they used to screening resumes remotely, they might even be used to doing telephone interviews as a first point of screening or you know, video interviews that are more popular now. So in terms of the process itself, it shifted the medium but not necessarily the method. So rather than bringing people into your organisation for an assessment centre, for example, where you give them lots of different activities, you do them may be staggered and enrollment basis to the process didn't change so much as the medium in which it was delivered does in terms of recruitment, as well, if you are a fully remote organisation, or an organisation that will support fully remote workers, you just massively increased your talent pool. You're no longer just looking at people who can travel into central Manchester or get to London. You're now talking about people who it's not even even UK wide. But globally, you can now the dip into the talent pools of people in North America, in Asia, in Africa across Europe, your talent pool has just significantly increased.

Al Elliott 14:46
That's such a good point, which I hadn't really considered. I think I mentioned on my previous podcast that I haven't really had a job since about 1999. And that was the time when if I but I went from my job. I was pub manager and I was like okay, So I got to meet one person, then I go from assessment centre, like you said, and then I go and meet the manager and see if we see if I like them to work with them. And it was all very face to face. And that just seems so archaic even before the pandemic, it seems so archaic to do it that way. So are there any downsides to this way of recruiting now?

Leanne Elliott 15:19
I think the obvious downside is that now because so many organisations have some kind of remote working policy or hybrid structure, is it all of your competitors to have access to this broader talent pool. So it's not a case of ... I work for organisations that were familiar with our pre pandemic, and we've seen the, you know, the level of talent, we're able to engage, reduce the volume significantly reduced, because now there are so many more roles out there that offer this way of working. So you are committed, as before competing directly with other organisations. I think the upside there is, is it's there are so many organisations that are still trying to figure out where they stand on remote work, where they stand on hybrid working, if you have a really clear idea of what your commitment is, what your promises are, what your structure is, how people are supported, you're going to have an advantage over because so many people haven't figured it out yet, figure it out, and you're already going to be a step ahead of your competitors. The only other difficulty with recruitment in a remote setting is the onboarding process that can be more difficult. How do you onboard somebody when you're, you know, they might not meet that team? Or, or how do you show them through processes and new things virtually, it's more challenging, but again, many organisations onboard staff during the pandemic we've shown it can work remote organisation have been onboarding people virtually for years, there are ways of doing it, it just probably needs a bit more organisation, a bit more structure, and a sprinkle of innovation.

Al Elliott 16:58
I love that the apps that have really grown from this zoom has got some amazing new features on it, Google Meet, I think if I'm right in thinking they're rolling out something which they can test the emotion of the person on the other end of the of the longer end of the call, so you can see if they're engaged or not, et cetera, et cetera. And so something that the tech is just playing a bigger, bigger part.

Leanne Elliott 17:20
It's amazing eras, I've been doing some work with a client whose word I don't think I'm allowed to say, but a very large social media organisation. And they really quickly rolled out virtual reality and a virtual reality app for like collaboration hudles, and it's just cool the things that have accelerated, and that is now being sold to many other other app developers, which is brilliant. I think the reality is, yes, the technology is a is evolving, it is maturing, and bear in mind as well. The majority of you know, the vast proportion of people you're recruiting into your business, like you saying, their average working ages, etc, etc, you're probably looking at people who are under 50, as the majority people you recruit in your business? Well, a large proportion of them are digital natives, or in the shoulder generations where, you know, these technologies have been around since we were in our early 20s. So people are much more adept and have more skills in terms of using communication and also communicating virtually.

Al Elliott 18:28
I love it. Right? So we've gone through the recruitment. By the way, if you want some context on this, if you go to oblonghq.com/roadmap, you're gonna see our culture roadmap, which essentially breaks down into three strands, it starts off with it with recruitment, then goes to engagement, and then goes to management. And so we've just covered off essentially the step one of that there's much more stuff to it, they'll go to oblonghq.com/roadmap, totally free not even asking for your email. So let's go on to the next stage. Not we're not nope, is totally free. Anyone can anyone can look at it, no opt in required. So let's go back into the second stage, which was engagement. So you've recruited someone? Well, actually, let's not let's not take that same person because as you said, there's an onboarding process. So you have existing employees, they're working remotely or hybrid in some way. Things must be different from from the water cooler moment. I hate that phrase, but the water cooler moments, the making cups of tea, the, you know, that they go into the pub after the office after after office hours, what what's changed there, and how can we, as leaders and managers, how can we mitigate against those kinds of problems?

Leanne Elliott 19:35
I think you're right. And I think this is the probably one of the key challenges that managers and leaders feel you know, when they don't have those accidental or impromptu moments where they can speak to their staff, engage with them, maybe see the person who walks in that's a bit more slumped over or didn't look as well presented as they were a few days ago. You know, those signs of somebody struggling? Yeah, that is difficult, but I think that's the thing. These are non intentional non planned interruptions that leaders or managers use to make have conversations or make judgments about how their team are feeling. The emphasis being on unplanned or unintentional? Can you give an example. So like you said, a water cooler moment making a cup of tea, you know, having a chat about how's your weekend, Oh God, this happened or my dog died, and I'm feeling really shit. And just these conversations that are gonna give you kind of glimpses into how somebody is doing, whether it be work specific or life specific, but these accidental unplanned encounters, but the reality is, you can still have those encounters, they just need to be planned, or they need to be mindful and need to be thought about remote working, has no room for a lazy manager.

Al Elliott 20:44
We're gonna go into managers in a second. But I have a couple of questions for you. What happens if the team wants to work remotely, but the managers and leaders want everyone in the office,

Leanne Elliott 20:56
I'd like to have a water slide out of my bedroom window, but it's just not practical. The reality is, if all if your team wants to work remotely, and you're the only person left trying to drag people in the office, hello, civil service, then it's not gonna go down well, and you're probably going to attract some negative tension and negative feedback. But likewise, if you're a leader that is embracing remote work, and you don't want hybrid, you see the benefits cost alone in terms of not having a fixed office space. Yet you have members of your team that do want to come into the office, you have to you know, be mindful of that and you may end up whatever path you choose, potentially disengaging. So employees who want a different way of working, but this is this is the you know, we're in the midst of this the very early stages of this disruption. People will find their path, they'll find what works best for them, businesses will do the same. I think it's it's having the clarity as a business owner, what do you want? Why is that important? How does that structure, facilitate your culture, your performance, your customers, everything that you do as a business. This isn't a unique problem. Business leaders make decisions like this every day, whether it be about launching a new service, or pivoting into a new sector to find customers. Change is risk. And it needs to be done with intent. And it needs to be done mindful of what these risks and opportunities are, is no different to any other decision that businesses make on a daily basis.

Al Elliott 22:30
So let me ask you then, the there's a story I read about when Steve Jobs took over Pixar, or he didn't, he only managed to buy into the current board. Anyway, he took a management role in it & a significant stake in it. One of the first things he did was move all of the I mean, we Brits call it pigeonholes, but you know, like the little letter boxes for each member of staff, but they were little letterbox, and they moved in moved all of those into the big atrium. Because his thought his thinking was that then people from different departments are going to run into each other whilst they're getting letters and it's going to help to promote engagement, it's going to help to promote cross pollination of ideas, etc, etc. If we can't do that anymore, even on a smaller scale, like the kettle in a particularly for us northerners, they view the kettle is the sort of like the place where everyone congregates to make a cup of tea. You mentioned before that we can do that we can didn't use the word force you used a deliberate in you. How do you do that online deliberately?

Leanne Elliott 23:30
is a good question. And I think there is an element of the kind of the the informality of it can be lost. If it isn't planned, you're asking somebody to join a video call. But I think is looking for the first step I would suggest if you are shifting to remote, full time or permanently long term or hybrid is looking at back at the things have worked well for you both pre pandemic and during pandemic. What were employees engaging in? Was it team meetings? Was it they used to have been chats around the castle? Was it that you had drinks on a Friday after work? What was it about that interaction that either facilitates your relationships or facilitated some kind of collaboration that was beneficial for the business? There are types of activities can still be done virtually? I mean, how did how many people attended a pop quiz during the pandemic hands up? Yeah, everyone. And you know, things like that. It's you can still have these these more informal conversations and interactions with people. Or you know, you look at if you say think you look back and you go, you know what, we have so many good ideas over a brew, then introduce like brew Tuesdays. Nine till 1030 We come with no agenda, nothing about work. We're just having a chat, or you split people off into huddles and do the same thing. There's so many different ways to do it. But I think again, it's understanding the intent behind that that communication, is it to foster relationships? Is it to just find out about how your staff are doing? Is it to try and collaborate or innovate? Is it to try and solve a very specific problem? Or the thing that remote teams as well as actually have like co working virtual co working? So you'll have like the Zoom chat or slack or wherever it is. And you'll have your do the Pomodoro method. Is that good? Yeah. Where you have kind of 25 minutes on five minutes off. But y'all do that together, you have 25 minutes? Well, a lot of people might want to have a little chat about have a question, you come back after five minutes, just you know, if you've made a cup of tea, it can feel a bit more contrived at first. But the reality is, as I said before, and we've proven it through the pandemic, is we are hugely adaptable. We underestimate our abilities as humans so much in terms of how we communicate and how we build relationships, we can do this. And the reality as well is if you've got an organisation of people, the majority of people who want to work remotely or in hybrid, they're motivated to make this work.

Al Elliott 26:06
I think it's interesting that 37 signals that people who created Basecamp, they've been big fans of what they called asynchronous communication, in that you weren't if you had your headphones on you, when no one was allowed to come anywhere near you. They didn't have meetings, they have standup meetings at best, but most of them were just using Slack or their own proprietary software. So do you think that that the asynchronous idea gives me there's obviously good for introverts who want to think about it? What about extroverts like me who have an idea, and I look up at you over the other side of their desk, and I go, I want to talk you about this thing right now, Leanne, how did they cope?

Leanne Elliott 26:44
Again, technology is is evolving to enable these impromptu conversations to happen. There's a new function now on Slack called huddles, I'm not sure if you've come across it, where you basically want to pick the people you want to have a quick huddle with it's voice only, it's no video. And it's intended for these kinds of shorter questions or, or conversations or ideas, sharing knowledge sharing, that is a bit more important and prompt you and then, you know, the reality is like you say you haven't you have status markers on these things as well, whether you're busy, you don't want to be interrupted, whether you you know, whether you're available, I think it's the same. It's the same thing, like you say, if you've got your your, your kind of ZZZ on in Slack, that's the same as you have in your headphones. And if you agree in little bubbles sharing, and then that's you kind of walk into the coffee room and going Hi, everyone, how's your day? It's the context. And that is a shift. And we've, you know, our entire lives up until 2020, were very much based around face to face physical interactions. It's a shift, but it's one that we've already proved that we can do, we just need to practice it a bit more.

Al Elliott 27:53
Okay, so back in the 80s and 90s, the Tom Peters of the world, were talking about this open door management technique where anyone can walk in etcetera, etcetera, have been lots of different management fads. Since then, however, how how do managers and leaders deal with this problem of not being able to see people not being able to just look over and see if they're happy, see if they're engaged, if you know, that kind of thing? How do they cope with that?

Leanne Elliott 28:19
Insights!!!! I think it's what you were talking about there is gaining physical insights. But even then, people on a second tell you everything that's on their mind, you might not be able to tell by looking at somebody that they're having a bad day, or they're stressed. It's all about insights. And this is where I'm playing engagement and employee engagement surveys in particular are so important, even more so in organisations that work remotely or on a hybrid structure. But getting those honest feedback, providing a safe environment, anonymous, anonymous feedback, and a good engagement. So we will ask about these things. It will ask about relationships between staff who ask about relationships with staff and their managers, it will ask questions about this any toxicity or any challenges or, you know, mismatched expectations, it's going to give you those insights. And the great thing about engagement is that unless there's a significant change in your business, it's a fairly stable phenomenon. So doing an annual survey and a six month post check is enough, provided there isn't a significant change, for you to get a general gauge of how relationships are within the business. Beyond that, it comes back down to just being a good manager and having genuine empathy and interest in the people that you are responsible for. There used to be, you know, a big shift of all we have monthly one to ones and huddles on a Monday and etc, etc. And there seems to be a bit of a shift in the literature but certainly in terms of practice as well during the pandemic and as we're coming out of it to more frequent informal catch ups. So say for example, you're working If you have a member of staff and they're in a new role within the business, and they have some areas for development, you've given them a project is really going to stretch them and really push them to use all their skills and develop their skills and, and you know, really dig into their strengths, saying to that person, right, we talked about the project, you know what you're doing cool, great yet see in four weeks, I feel I feel panicked for them. Whereas if you say to that member of staff look, right, why don't we just put in a meeting every week, half an hour, on a Wednesday afternoon. As we need it, we'll use it. If we don't, and you're fine. That's great. That's just we have some in the diary. But of course, you need anything, you give me a call, you give me a zoom chat, whatever else I'm here to support you. And then balance that as well with an impromptu call, do you remember them member of staff on a Monday morning, how you doing, how's your weekend, hey, get on a project, any worries, anything, I can help you with how you feeling about it, it's just opening up these communication channels, it's making sure you're approachable, you're being authentic in your interest in your support that member of staff that builds trust. So that means that if that member of staff starts to experience some difficulty, but you're not in the office to see them kind of pulling their hair out, then you've already got these kind of check points in place, where you should be able to gauge if something is going off.

Al Elliott 31:24
So it sounds like it's gonna shake out a lot of the people who aren't good managers who've just been promoted, because there's nowhere else for them to go.

Leanne Elliott 31:32
Absolutely. I think that's a thing, isn't it, that traditionally, people have been promoted into management roles, because they're good at their job. Therefore, they're promoted to manage other people that do the job that they're good at. And the reality is great management takes a completely different skill set. It's not a technical role in terms of necessarily having a, you know, a very specific profession, and you're technically capable at that some of the best people leaders I've worked with, have have managed very technical teams, whether it be in finance, or, or technology, and don't have a finance or technology background, because they don't need that their job is not to have the expertise and expertise within their team. Their job is to, to coordinate to make sure people got the right resources, the right support. They've got clear objectives, clear goals, and given people the recognition that's going to get as fit, make them feel motivated, engaged people. Leadership is a fundamental skill in itself. It doesn't rely necessarily on a technical capability within a profession.

Al Elliott 32:31
I love that. I love that. So any kind of closing thoughts on this, I know you've been doing developing some content with an insurance company around this with remote work. Any other thoughts? Anything that people can sort of, like hang their hang these ideas on?

Leanne Elliott 32:46
Yeah, and I think when you you know, if you if you try and Google what it takes to be a good manager, then good luck trying to find some kind of consensus on that. Because there's different different schools of thought that different types of management, different types of leaders. But when you kind of boil it all down to just what the main fundamental points of great management are this three, one, give your people the reason, does everyone know exactly why they're doing their job, how their job is in line with the broader goals and objectives of the organisation? Do they feel a value in what they do and contributing to something bigger. And that can be the smallest or the most mundane of tasks, we've talked again and again, about the janitor in NASA, same thing, give your people a reason. Secondly, given the resources, and not just the, you know, the workplace materials that they need, or that is a really important consideration with remote teams, you know, it's important to consider what the work environment for that member of staff that's working on, it looks like, do they have space within their home to have this setup? Do they have the right technology available to them? It's almost like taking it back to you know, used to like the health and safety risk assessments type things when people return to work or reasonable adjustments is a similar concept. It's making sure people have got the right environment. To that is important. But in terms of resources, well, it's the role clarity, do people know what's expected of them? Do they know what they have to do in a day and what their role is? And also utilisation? Are employees given the opportunity to use their strengths and abilities and that could even be in terms of their day job, in terms of stretch projects that's helping with our development, or just you know, making sure that you understand as a manager as a leader, the other strengths and skills that your people have, for example, you might have Johnny who has a podcast on the weekend. So actually, he knows quite a lot about mic equipment should you have a media project to do? People have all sorts of skills that can be used and utilised. So it's understanding your staff, and third recognition. And it's not about what a great day what a good job well done. The problem with empathy recognition is that you're just thanking somebody for doing their job. So it doesn't really mean a lot. It's like, well, yeah, I did my job. Thanks. Cheers. Recognition is more about kind of saying, John, what you did with that, I saw that email you sent to that client, you copied me into it, thanks for that. That phrase that you used in the end, that closing that call to action was shit hot, that was incredible. I love that once you get that idea from engage in the feedback in the recognition. And similarly, even if the work isn't quite as expected, recognise the effort that was put into that few people go into work every day with the intention of doing a bad job, they might be disengaged, and they might have kind of lost the, the kind of the passion that they want to have, perhaps, but people don't typically go into work to do a bad days work. So recognise the effort, try and understand why that asset didn't land because that's as frustrating for the person as it is for you as a leader, and then help steer your employee back on course, and again, this is where there's more regular catch ups can be a really valuable way to do this.

Al Elliott 36:03
This is brilliant. So reason, resources and recognition. I think that's, that's a really good framework for any manager. So where can people go to learn a little bit more about this?

Leanne Elliott 36:14
Yeah, there are a few resources, I can recommend one, biased, the oblongHQ.com website, if you head over to our blog, you'll find this a number of articles on management, remote work leadership. There's a couple in particular relevant. So we'll link those in the show notes. For people who are HR practitioners, people and culture practitioners, or business leaders who just really want to get more into the kinda science and data behind management. There is a book called, It's The Manager by Jim Clifton, and Jim Harter from Gallup, which I recommend hugely, it's based on 80 years of data gathering from Gallup. It is the Bible of everything management. And it's not a dry, heavy chapter by chapter book. It's split into really short like 500 word chapters, which are some really kind of key theory points and practical points as well in terms of being a great manager. And then finally, we run. We run workshops for people who are adjusting to remote work or managing remote teams, people who are new to management roles. So if you want to jump onto one of those, just get in touch [email protected]

Al Elliott 37:24
Perfect. Right then, we'll leave it there then. So let's see you next time where we've got a potential secret guest which if we can get them organised for next time, then we'll get them on. Otherwise, we will be talking about the number one reason why your business isn't scaling. And by the way, it isn't clients or cash. So let's look forward to that one. Bye. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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