Organizational Transformation: Why it’s So Hard, Why it Matters, and Why You Should Start Now!

If there is one thing we’ve re-learned over the past few years, it’s that change is constant, whether we like it or not. The COVID-19 pandemic has often been credited for being the catalyst of changing the way we work, but it was only a reminder of how quickly people can adapt when they need to—and how resilient they can be.

Today, adaptability and resilience are required on a regular basis. Market volatility has made strategic transformations essential for some industries to survive. Critical and topical initiatives like equity and inclusion, digital transformation and building a future-proof workforce represent massive shifts, particularly for organizations where culture has remained unchanged in decades.

Here is where organizational transformation comes in. As organizations coast to coast in Canada and around the world face external pressure to innovate and remain relevant, as well as internal pressure to improve workplace culture and nurture talent, leaders now find themselves at a crossroads. There certainly isn’t a dull moment in the new, redefined roaring twenties we’re currently living in, where organizations are increasingly defined by their ability to identify changing market demands, redefine their vision and execute that transition.

Why it’s So Hard

Any type of change is hard—that’s a fact. Among organizations, approximately 70% of all change initiatives fail.[1] If you are having trouble, remember that you are not alone. Here are some examples of change scenarios illustrating why strategies may not progress past the implementation phase:

  • The transformation is mentioned once or twice at an all staff meeting and never mentioned by anyone ever again.
  • This the third leader the team/organization has had in three years. Teams are too focused on trying to keep their jobs to get excited about this new vision.
  • There’s a high degree of comfort in established processes and relationships and absolutely no compelling reason for staff to make any changes to that.
  • The organization has identified a strategic shift in one direction but every single structural component (unit business plans, operational goals, employee performance metrics, incentive structures) are focused in another direction.
  • Staff are exhausted and have no bandwidth to lead, implement or even entertain a change of any kind.

Why it Matters 

Every organization faces the need for change at some point.  However, transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Whether your organization is looking at a complete strategic shift or the implementation of a new procedure, change is a long game. It’s about the collective commitment, communication, and collaboration to see it through until it’s done.

Reasons for Organizational Transformation

A great cultural reset can be mission-critical if you’re facing a number of challenges. If you aren’t sure if change is on the horizon for your organization, ask yourself:

  • Are employee turnover rates at an all-time high?
  • Are your revenue outcomes consistently underperforming while competitors continue to eat into your market share?
  • Are you still using legacy technology that is no longer being updated, with workarounds costing twice as much as implementing a new system?
  • Are the values of employees and other stakeholders evolving but aren’t reflected anywhere in your current organizational structure?

When done right, organizational transformation has the power to redefine a sustainable future, encourage a culture that supports it and usher you to a new era of growth and industry leadership.

Benefits of Organizational Transformation

If your organization is at a critical juncture, it’s helpful to consider the critical outcomes that can be achieved and continuously leveraged directly through organizational transformation initiatives:

  1. Your organization will have the necessary infrastructure to enable seamless collaboration among stakeholders who have all bought into a renewed, shared vision. Employees are not simply working for you, but with you, and are continuously encouraged to adopt a collaborative mindset.
  2. Multi-faceted priority growth areas are met as a result of adopting new processes, tools, and strategic frameworks. A “transformed” organization is increasingly agile and responsive to evolving market or sector demands, with flexibility and adaptability being core collective competencies that enable teams to achieve various goals and bridge gaps in current delivery of value to stakeholders.
  3. The “future of work” is achieved through a productive people and culture reset. Through a commitment to well-being and ongoing professional development, organizational transformation empowers teams to become champions of change. A highly skilled and resilient workforce can lead the charge in operationalizing strategy through high-performance execution that yields crucial results.

Before undertaking this process, it’s important to establish a solid foundation for change. Initiating organizational transformation begins with bringing all stakeholders to the table—beginning with leaders who typically start the conversation to frontline staff who will be carrying out this new mission. This process requires a 360-degree view of the organization’s current vision, work structures and results generated in order to deliver on shared goals.

Why You Should Start Now

The lessons learned from the last few years have illustrated how organizations and entire industries are now at a critical period. To evolve means to survive in an increasingly competitive market, with the support of the people that work to make it possible. Transforming the way our organization works is the key to achieving this, setting up for a successful future.

As you’ve seen, organizational transformation goes beyond initiating a change management strategy when innovating one process that affects how certain teams work. Rather, it’s a complete reset of everything we know about doing business and leading in the age of disruptive innovation. Leaders who recognize this need today and take steps towards transformation will be rewarded with: (1) low employee turnover and increased commitment to a shared vision, (2) higher revenue and an expanded footprint, (3) innovative offerings, (4) agile processes and technologies (5) and an overall stronger future.

If your organization is facing pressures to innovate or challenges in boosting employee retention and nurturing talent, you need an organizational transformation strategy to navigate this changing landscape. The Queen’s IRC Organizational Transformation program at the can help you prepare and equip you with the necessary tools, frameworks and approaches for transforming the way you work.

About the Author

Carol KotackaCarol Kotacka is a results-oriented strategist, specializing in transformational change and strategy execution in local, national and international markets. Holding senior leadership positions in industry, healthcare and NGOs, her background reflects a deep understanding of the nuanced approach diverse cultures and stakeholder groups require, with proven results driving change time and again through work in North America, Europe, the Middle East and, most recently, South America.  During her career, Carol has had the privilege of co-creating strategic vision and system wide transformation with organizations, residents, employees, government entities as well as first responders. Carol’s undergraduate studies include Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Post graduate work includes Strategic Business Leadership from the Rotman School of Management and an EMBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Carol is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Organizational Transformation program.

 

[1]Nohria , N., & Beer, M. (2000). Cracking the code of change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from

https://hbr.org/2000/05/cracking-the-code-of-change

 

 

How Do You Determine the Best Work Model for Your Organization or Team?

Many organizations that implemented post-COVID-19 work models (remote, hybrid or in office) should be evaluating their choice regularly, to ensure that they retain their competitive advantage and continue to attract the right human resources. It is my recommendation that a review be conducted after the first six months to ensure that the model continues to support the strategic direction of the organization.

61% of Canadian organizations have moved to a hybrid work environment because this was the preferred model by many employees.[1] We know that a hybrid work environment assisted with employee engagement and made some jobs more appealing to individuals who preferred to work from home some of the time.

Fully remote work (or working from home) provides organizations with a greater geographical human resources pool to harness. Remote workers can live far away from the office, and as long as their IT systems are intact and they have high speed internet, they are productive. There is a very limited requirement to return to the office for work.[2]

When re-evaluating your model, organizations need to review several steps to determine the best model prior to making any changes. These steps must consider the organizational philosophy/ culture, rules of work including collective agreements and employee relations, and ongoing productivity.

Download PDF: How Do You Determine the Best Work Model for Your Organization or Team?

 

Footnotes

[1] Benefits Canada Staff. (2022, August 3). 61% of Canadian employers using Hybrid Work Model: Survey. Benefits Canada.com. Retrieved November 23, 2022, from https://www.benefitscanada.com/news/bencan/61-of-canadian-employers-using-hybrid-work-model-survey/

[2] Wigert, B. (2022, March 15). The future of hybrid work: 5 key questions answered with data. Gallup.com. Retrieved November 23, 2022, from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/390632/future-hybrid-work-key-questions-answered-data.aspx

COVID-19 Vaccinations and Workplace Rights: 2022 Case Law Update

Overview

Last year, there was much discussion on whether or not employers could legally implement mandatory vaccination policies in Canada. In the first part of 2021, COVID-19 vaccines were not readily available to all Canadians, and most employers had not implanted mandatory vaccination policies yet. By August 2021, most Canadian adults had been given the opportunity to become fully vaccinated. In this context, on August 13, 2021, the Federal Government of Canada announced the requirement for all federal public servants to be fully vaccinated by the end of September 2021. The Federal Government also instituted mandatory vaccination requirements for all employees in the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors by October 2021, while at the same time, requiring vaccination to travel by air or train effective November 2021. After the Federal government took the lead, many Canadian employers followed suit, and there was a rapid influx of mandatory vaccination policies implemented throughout the country in both public and private sectors (including unionized and non-unionized workforces).

There are now several Canadian labour arbitration decisions that consider whether or not mandatory vaccination policies in the unionized context are reasonable and justified. To date, most of these decisions have held that mandatory vaccination policies are reasonable and justified, illustrating an overwhelming consensus that employers can legally implement significant health and safety protections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not all policies have been upheld in arbitral law. For instance, in one circumstance a labour arbitrator found a mandatory policy to be unreasonable given that workers could perform work remotely, and other measures (such as testing) could be effective in the absence of vaccination. In all circumstances the context of the workplace, along with the alternative mechanisms in the related policy, will be considered when evaluating the reasonableness of a particular policy.

This article will provide a case law update regarding the legality of vaccination policies in Canadian workplaces, updating a previous article written prior to the emergence of these decisions. While these recent decisions are directly relevant for unionized workplaces, the principles set out are useful for all employers, as the courts may consider similar principles when evaluating mandatory vaccination policies in relevant matters (such as wrongful dismissal claims arising out of the implementation of such policies). The current case law suggests that employers can implement protections against COVID-19 in the workplace, but such protections must be reasonable, balanced and relevant to the particular workplace. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must continually consider the ongoing changes in public health direction as well as case law, as matters have continued to evolve and change quickly throughout the last two years, and so should each employers’ approach relating to health and safety measures (including mandatory vaccination policies).

download

Leaders and Change: Imperatives in the ‘New Normal’

Positioning the ‘Conversation’

The pandemic experience, while incredibly challenging for leaders and teams, also provided important learnings. We came to recognize the greater impact and influence of such attributes as resilience, agility, humility, curiosity, self-care, compassion and caring, and attention to growing self-awareness, as central to the leader role in guiding teams and ensuring that organization priorities are realized. These are foundational and increasingly expected of the most effective leaders.

Courage, however, stands out as it is a pre-requisite, a ‘non-negotiable’ way of behaving. If our learnings from the pandemic are to be applied in a way which has both positive impact and also yields essential results, then courage and courageous action has to be ‘front-and-centre’. I like Mark Kingwell’s phrase and I think it is quite apt as we think about courage. Through the experience of the pandemic, we see that the place of courage in the leader’s role as being “not so much new as more vivid”.[1]

The Ongoing Challenge of Leading Change

As I thought about the changing role of leaders, I was in the process of reading Professor James Conklin’s recent book on change entitled Balancing Acts: A Human Systems Approach to Organizational Change.[2] With his thoughtful model of change before me and my decision to use the courage ‘lens’ as my guide in writing this article, I set out to explore the leader’s role in navigating the uncertainties of the ‘new normal’ of organization life. That led to the generation of a number of ‘courageous questions’ which internal leaders might use in challenging organizations to marshal energy appropriately in making desired changes.

One important note, however, is that Conklin’s model is focused on external interveners, including consultants and related outside advisors. That said – and based on a short conversation with Professor Conklin – I believe that his model can be used effectively by leaders within organizations. The primary caution is that the leader and his/her organization must pay particular attention to areas in which an absence of complete objectivity can potentially detract from the full effectiveness of the change initiative.

(To address this obvious reality, I offer some ideas at the close of this article to mitigate, to the extent possible, the ‘downside’ associated with having an internal leader guiding the change).

Applying the Conklin Framework

As noted above, there is no doubt that it is often a daunting challenge to bring tough, sensitive and courageous questions to colleagues and more senior leaders when you are part of the organization; this is never more obvious than when the questions touch on sensitive ways of behaving. As tough as that might be, however, this is very much part of the role leaders are expected to take on in this new reality.

In essence, Conklin’s approach looks at the patterns of thought and behaviour in organizations and how they interact with structure or are influenced by it. Those elements summarize what constitutes a ‘human system’.[3]

The notion of paradox, or ‘seeming paradox’ is intriguing and part of understanding and applying Conklin’s change model. His framework speaks to four aspects of balancing in the process of leading change:

  1. An initial phase of ‘Confrontation and Compassion’, in which there is a tension between balance and push, and creation of safety;
  2. A ‘Planned and Emergent’ phase, where the balance is between staying the course and changing the course;
  3. A ‘Participate and Observe’ phase, in which the leader or intervener is in my words ‘in the system’ but not ‘of the system’; and
  4. A Fourth phase, referred to as ‘Assert and Inquire’, where the leader is not there to provide answers but rather to work with the organization to generate or discover answers and approaches.

In each case, the model also assumes that reflection, review, and two-way conversations inform any actions or change in direction.

The Approach

With that in mind I offer a set of questions which I believe might be helpful to teams, their leaders and the wider organization, even when they are accompanied by a necessary tension. For each, courage will be necessary to both pose the question and then work through it and any consequent discomfort. Intention is always to focus on developing clarity and generating options for action. For many, while this will be ‘new territory’ it has the potential to very rich ‘learning territory’! There will be days when the comment that ‘…now we know what doesn’t work so well’ becomes the beginning of wisdom.

Courageous Questions to Help Leaders Connect, Integrate and Coach at Each Phase of a Change Process

The implicit assumption around the most important change efforts is that the current situation is unwanted, unsustainable and/or unhelpful in the context of current and perhaps future organization priorities.

Guided by Conklin’s language let’s look at each phase and propose a few questions which will balance two essential elements: the need for respect at all times – for ideas, resistance and challenge – with the equally-important need to be clear and toughminded in order to help the organization move forward:

1.   The Confrontation & Compassion Phase:

  • Why is this change effort an imperative for you?
  • What are your underlying assumptions, beliefs and values which you bring to the initiative? Let’s talk about any biases, conscious or otherwise, which might impact the work, both yours and mine as you perceive them.
  • What is at risk for you personally in engaging actively in the change? What risks will you be willing to assume, and which will you not? What are the risks for me in taking on this role?
  • What needs to happen to make this challenge as ‘safe as possible’ for you and your colleagues (e.g. team, organization unit)? What do I need to do to help ensure that there is that level of safety? What should I not do?
  • What concrete actions will you look for that build trust in my leadership or facilitation of the change effort? Again, what will work against or erode that necessary trust?
  • To what degree do I have freedom in asking the difficult (but what I believe to be necessary) questions? What might be off limits?

2.  The Planned and Emergent Phase:

  • When we have the data, understand it, and identify major themes, are you willing to commit to an action plan which I draft, we discuss, revise, and finalize? Where will you anticipate the team being less open, less certain, or less comfortable? Where do you think I will need to be especially aware of concerns in the team or areas of potential disagreement and resistance arising?
  • Some of what I find will probably require that you and others will have ‘to suspend disbelief’ in order to understand countervailing opinions or perspectives clearly at odds with your understanding and view of the reality. What might I expect by way of behaviours in those instances? Will you be willing to declare them in order for us to see new options for moving forward positively?
  • What will you need from me if I see a need to ‘change course’ based on new information or emerging themes?
  • What are the key elements in creating and maintaining confidence in our ongoing communications?

3.  The Participate and Observe Phase:

  • In order to lead this change effort, I will need to be intimately involved with you and your colleagues in this change effort. We know each other well and we are part of the same organization. That said, my role is to participate fully but also maintain a distance to avoid colluding or losing any sense of objectivity. That is no small task, so what is going to be the key challenge for you and the change team? For me as a leader?
  • A key challenge is one that an external consultant would not face. In a sense, while I am ‘of the system’, for this work I need to behave as if I am only ‘in the system’ – a ‘visitor’ in a sense – but as much as possible without having our work derailed or overly-influenced by my obvious vested interest in the change outcome. While it may be ‘raggedy’ and imperfect, what do I need to do to achieve that balance to the extent possible? What can I count on you and your team to do to help with that ‘boundary’ issue?
  • On occasion, I will need you to push back, if you think I am mixing the ‘participate’ role with the ‘observe’ role. Will you be willing to do that in the interests of the critical need for integrity in our change process?

4.  The Assert and Inquire Phase:

  • If I am going to be truly helpful to the team in making the change, I will have to balance making statements with asking questions; the former must take second place to the latter if I am to lead effectively. Where do you think I will have the most difficulty in achieving that balance? How can you help me with that challenge(s)?
  • There may be occasions when you look to me for an answer and I will resist or choose not to provide one. (I may have ideas or even think I have the answer, but it will be my answer and not one that you have thought about and committed to). How will we have that important conversation?
  • My job is to enable the best answers. This may take time, be frustrating and obviously position me in a coach role, not ‘subject matter expert’ or ‘boss’. Where do you think you’ll need support in staying with that distinction in role and what will you look to me for as a coach-leader? Where do you think you will you be most stretched or challenged with learning new approaches (and perhaps letting older ones go)?
  • Where do you think that you might be in the best position to ‘coach’ me? Based on what you know of me, where do you think coaching will most benefit the change initiative and my growth? Can I count on you to be ‘straight’ with me when you think I need that clarity or feedback?

The Role of an Internal Change Leader: An Owner’s Manual

This article is and was a ‘work-in-progress’, in that it attempts to work with a model not originally designed for use by internal leaders of organizations. But more importantly, we have no complete certainty as to what the ‘new normal’ will ask of us as leaders in our organizations. That said, given the need to lead change and inspire others to join in the effort, leaders have no choice but to engage, consult, learn, act and coach.

While Professor Conklin’s ‘architecture’ is obviously a very strong model for making change, we must also recognize that by virtue of being part of the organization, there are limitations and challenges to how the leader goes about being the courageous change agent. In an exchange with Professor Conklin on this very point, he points out that the internal leader’s use of the model is “difficult, but not impossible”.

In order to take account of that caution and mitigate any unwanted impact when the change leader is an intrinsic part of the system, I suggest the following actions as potentially useful:

  • The choice of a leader for the change initiative is crucial. Demonstrated effectiveness, thoughtful listening skills, concern for the wellbeing of colleagues and a reputation for ‘honest dealing’ in achieving results can position the leader most effectively to lead the work;
  • A pre-requisite for launching the initiative includes positioning the work as a learning opportunity first and foremost. Convening a conversation which includes the designated leader and key stakeholders to talk about ‘learning’ and ‘un-learning’ and to define the nature of the risks which might arise, the likelihood of their occurrence and the potential impact on the initiative is a key step;
  • A supportive and skilled HR business partner can be a great assist to the leader in both understanding process, broader organization culture and dynamics while potentially serving as a coach to the leader;
  • Active involvement of executive and other senior leadership sends a strong signal of support and commitment both to the initiative and to the leader charged with being at its head; active support is what the organization will both see and therefore believe;
  • A commitment to ‘reflect and refine’ throughout is a further opportunity to ensure that unwanted outcomes or ‘stumbles’ do not detract from or compromise the impact of the change work in a lasting way; and
  • Finally, the extent to which the leader is self-aware in respect of such factors as his or her ‘blind spots’, any ‘unconscious bias’ and remains open to clear feedback throughout will contribute directly to the potential for a successful change process and a strengthening of the leader’s role and the trust others have in him or her.

On this last point – and incorporating an email exchange with Professor Conklin – the leader’s task is to ensure that he or she is deliberate in identifying any “hidden commitments” which might impact their attempts at balance and objectivity. As Professor Conklin reminded me, the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey developed in their enduring and thoughtful work entitled ‘Immunity to Change’ remains a very relevant reference for the self-aware leader.[4]

Concluding Thoughts

A clear implication and one which runs across each of the phases outlined above, is that ‘straight-talk’ and courage will be foundational in the leader’s role. In addition, there is an implicit assumption that leadership is going to be informed by and at times shared with stakeholders. The process requires time to ensure that common understanding and commitment are present throughout and that focused time for reflection on actions taken, results and adjustments to plan is built into the change initiative.

The leader remains in what some have described as the ‘conductor’ role. But what is new…or ‘more vivid’ as Kingwell writes… is that he or she becomes the primary and increasingly courageous voice in connecting relevant ideas with necessary actions, integrating these with larger organization priorities and coaching the behaviours in colleagues charged with executing and operationalizing the plans – a skilled ‘conductor’ certainly but also a ‘respectful provocateur’!

 

About the Author

Ross RoxburghRoss Roxburgh is a leadership coach and organization consultant with several decades of experience with a wide range of clients, both domestic and international across the private, public and para-public sectors. He has a strong interest in the effectiveness of individuals and teams in complex organization environments; in many cases he brings both coaching and consulting experience to client engagements. Ross holds the designation of Certified Management Consultant (CMC) as well as that of Master Corporate Executive Coach (MCEC). He has been certified in the use of the EQ-I 2.0 instrument as well as the LEA 360. He is a facilitator with Queen’s IRC on a range of programs related to Board effectiveness, Committee evolution and Performance Management. He has written a number of articles for Queen’s IRC on the topics of coaching and leadership.

 

References

Conklin, J. (2021). Balancing acts: A human systems approach to organizational change. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock potential in yourself and your organization. Harvard Business Press.

Kingwell, M. (2020). On Risk. Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis.

Recommended Reading

If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in others which the author has written for Queen’s IRC:

[1] Kingwell, M. (2020). On Risk. Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis

[2] Conklin, J. (2021). Balancing acts: A human systems approach to organizational change. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

[3] Ibid.

[4] Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock potential in yourself and your organization. Harvard Business Press.

Will They Stay or Will They Go?

The Great Resignation: will they stay or will they go?

The pandemic has provided time for people to reevaluate what they want from their work and personal lives. A resulting shift in perspectives on what fulfilling work looks like is now in play.

After the uncertainty and exhaustion of the past year, this new paradigm, along with a desire for a universal reset, has created the perfect storm for the Great Resignation[1], an unprecedented tidal wave of voluntary attrition. Some workers, frustrated with watching paychecks and advancement opportunities stagnate, are leaving their jobs to accelerate career growth and access more equitable compensation elsewhere. Others are making the switch to more meaningful careers, having used the time during lockdown to reflect on what type of work truly makes them happy and fulfilled. There are also those who have burnout from juggling the demands of work-life balance during the pandemic. To support their mental and physical health, these workers are moving to employers who are offering the promise of greater flexibility and work-life integration.

Can We Stop the Great Resignation?

A survey published by Microsoft predicts 41% of the global workforce are planning to leave their jobs by the end of 2021[2], resulting in talent shortages and staffing instability through 2022. While some of the highest rates of attrition are being experienced by the food service[3], technology[4] and healthcare sectors[5], all industries will be impacted to some extent in the next 3 to 6 months.

Is there anything that employers can do to reverse this trend? A refreshed retention strategy which reimagines the employee value proposition is a powerful first step in getting ahead of and stopping the Great Resignation. Organizations that are truly open and receptive to listening to and proactively accommodating the emerging needs of their workers through a new value proposition, will be well-positioned to survive (and even thrive) during this next period of workplace transformation.

Reimagining The Employee Value Proposition During the Great Resignation

While each organization’s employee value propositions will be different, here are some actions to consider as you move through the redesign process:

Identify Who Your Highest Turnover Risks Are
Collecting and analyzing a mix of predictive attrition data (third party employee surveys, people analytics platforms) and descriptive data (stay interviews, one-on-ones with current employees, manager insights, exit-interviews) will provide key insights about who is most at risk to leave and why. This information will tell the tale of what parts of the existing value proposition are working and what is falling short of employee expectations.

To ensure that the data is comprehensive and balanced, review collection processes and questions for inclusiveness, equity and relevance. Check in with employees too, actively engaging and listening to feedback, to ensure that their experience with these tools is positive and aligned with your culture. Asking external candidates who have declined recent offers why they did not join, can also provide insights about the market competitiveness of your value proposition. Once both internal and external data is collected and analyzed, ensure that employees are made aware of the findings and that any issues will be promptly addressed.

Make It Easier to Get Work Done
How work gets done in an organization, impacts an employee’s experience on a daily basis. When positive, it can reenergize an employee’s commitment to their employer; when negative, it can trigger a decision to leave, especially when more seamless experiences are available elsewhere.

Asking employees if there is anything in their work day that is causing frustration or delays will provide rich data on how to reimagine the value proposition. These frank conversations can be about knowledge transfer processes, communication channels, and work tools, but it can also be about toxic colleagues (martyrs, gossipers, complainers) and interdepartmental conflicts. Life has been hard enough during the pandemic, and getting work done shouldn’t be a contributing factor. Correcting any issues – and then communicating these changes out to employees in a timely manner, will be just as important, if not more important, than learning what the actual issues are.

Help Managers Become More Effective
Effective retention strategies require engaged managers who inspire and motivate their employees to perform at their best, display compassion, keep dialogue open, and give their teams a sense of purpose and connectivity. If employees aren’t experiencing good leadership as part of their employee value proposition, they are more likely to leave.

However, organizations need to also remember that managers are employees too. After over a year of managing flagging morale, hiring freezes, remote workforces and acting as the de facto messenger of difficult news, managers may be feeling burnout[6] and are themselves ready to quit. This group of employees will need a listening and supportive ear to hear their unique concerns, and opportunities to reenergize and realign. Targeted coaching and training will also be of value, to help them continue to be the leaders their teams need during this new period of turnover.

Reengage Employees with Mission, Vision and Values
Life during the pandemic has been isolating for many, with remote work furthering the disconnect. Often when there is less connection, it makes it easier for employees to say goodbye. To cultivate a greater sense of belonging during the Great Resignation, re-marketing and celebrating the Mission, Vision and Values will re-energize employees and remind them how their piece of the work puzzle is valued and fits in with the larger goals of the organization.

Leadership may also find that a refresh of the Mission, Vision and Values may be timely. Just as most of us are not the same person we were over a year ago, organizational identities have also likely evolved. It will be important to include employees in these discussions to ensure that their emerging needs are integrated.

Set Clear Performance Expectations
The fluidity of working remotely has meant that more than ever, employees need clarity on what they should be working on, and what is expected of them to demonstrate success in their roles. When not clear, it can be a source of conflict with their managers and colleagues, and create job dissatisfaction. Ultimately such conflicts and confusion can become a compelling reason to leave.

Reviewing performance evaluation systems to ensure relevance, consistency and equity can mitigate these issues. Most employees have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with performance reviews, so asking these key users for input during any redesign will be essential for buy-in and engagement. Good questions to ask include whether the tools are easy to understand, inclusive in design and accessible for both in office and remote employees.

Pay People What They Are Worth
Dissatisfaction with pay has been one of the most challenging drivers of the Great Resignation. Just as it was before the pandemic, compensation strategies that are perceived to not recognize an employee’s contribution and competitive market value will result in resignations from employees who feel frustrated and undervalued. Two emerging trends have further complicated this challenge. Many employees who were ready to move to a better paying job pre-pandemic chose to hold off in the face of economic uncertainty. Now feeling a sense of urgency to make up for lost time and income, these employees will not be patient with employers who do not recognize their accelerated timelines for more attractive compensation. Another trend is the emergence of salary inflation bubbles[7] in some sectors, such as hospitality and technology. In order to compensate for staffing shortages, candidates are receiving above market premiums with their offers, creating internal inequity between these new recruits and more tenured employees. It will be important to keep these new developments in mind as organizations revisit their total rewards strategies to ensure that no one is left behind.

Integrate Flexibility into Everything
Reimagining flexibility during the Great Resignation is about more than just about picking a side on the remote versus hybrid office debate. Employees are looking for a more holistic approach to organizational flexibility, where employers actively help them build a healthier work-life strategy, by considering the whole employee experience within the context of their work and personal lives. Would an employee who wants to balance commitments as they return to university, be interested in a job share? Do all roles need to be performed during the regular work day, or can parents with young children or those with increased eldercare responsibilities continue to contribute instead of leaving to focus on these life events? An employee value proposition that revisits how policies, practices and culture can better support an employee’s physical, social and mental health needs will go a long way to keeping employees happy, productive and with you, at least for a little while longer. An openness to revisiting job design, time off and shortened work week policies, while ensuring that employees are not at a career disadvantage for seeking these programs or have inequitable access to flexibility are some specific considerations to evolve this employee value proposition.

Accelerate Learning and Development Opportunities
Understanding employees needs around career growth and advancement, and perhaps even more importantly their timelines will be critical to understand during the Great Resignation. Employers that are active career coaches versus passive observers in their employee’s career development plans, will encourage retention. Too often, career growth seekers require context on how advancement happens in an organization, and without support and mentorship to connect the dots, they may unknowingly walk away from viable and attractive opportunities. For example, as products and service models pivot as a result of the pandemic, considering whether to offer employees opportunities to receive vocational training or in-house certification workshops to move into new careers, instead of hiring external candidates, could be a win-win when it aligns with an employee’s career plans.

Moving from the Great Resignation to the Great Retention?

Offering a refreshed and compelling employee value proposition that meets the emerging needs of workers during these unusual times, is a smart focus for retention strategies.

Any process to reimagine existing value propositions must be collaborative, inclusive, equitable and realistic. It must incorporate both a data-driven approach, to understand why people are leaving, but also encourage people to share their opinions and ideas, even if the commentary gets a little uncomfortable for the organization to hear. Building in transparency and time to listen will be key during this process of reinvention, so that employees understand why their opinions are being collected, and what outcomes are expected.

Ultimately, the question that the employee value proposition asks is: “What can we do to support you?” If the answer you give aligns with the current needs, wants and aspirations of employees, they will stay. Organizations who are committed not only in words but in deeds to evolving the employee value proposition will come out with an engaged workforce, one that may one day move the organization from the Great Resignation to that of the Great Retention.

About the Author

Mira PersaudMira Persaud is a human resources practitioner, facilitator and writer who is passionate about all things talent, people and culture. She has had the privilege of partnering with leadership teams on their journeys to build sustainable, strategic, and inclusive workplaces.

Mira has held roles in a variety of sectors, including telecommunications, manufacturing and healthcare. She has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Seneca College, where she was awarded President’s List honours. She been certified as a trainer through the Franklin Covey Institute, has been a guest lecturer at the DeGroote School of Business and York University, and is a member of the Human Resources Professionals Association. As a lifelong learner, data geek and avid reader, she is fascinated by the future of work.

References

Cook, I. (2021, September 15). Who Is Driving the Great Resignation? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2021/09/who-is-driving-the-great-resignation

Edmiston, J. (2021, September 27). ‘Something’s got to give’: Restaurants slash hours, trim menus as worst worker shortage ever cuts deep. Financial Post. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://financialpost.com/news/economy/somethings-got-to-give-restaurants-slash-hours-trim-menus-as-unprecedented-worker-shortage-cuts-deep

Klotz, A. (2021, May 30). The Covid Vaccine Means a Return to Work. And a Wave of Resignations. NBC News Think Newsletter. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-vaccine-means-return-work-wave-resignations-ncna1269018

MetLife, Inc. (2021) 2021 Employee Benefit Trends Study. Caught in the Middle: Managers in the Wake of COVID-19. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.metlife.com/employee-benefit-trends/ebts-managers-2021/

Microsoft Corporation. (2021). 2021 Work Trend Index: The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready? Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work

Rastello, S. (2021, July 21). Better pay and ‘micro offices’: Pandemic shakes up Canada’s tech industry. Bloomberg News. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/better-pay-and-micro-offices-vc-veteran-ponders-tech-s-future-1.1631511

Recommended Books for Further Reading

Conant, D. (2020). The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights. Wiley.

Kaye, B. & Jordan-Evans, S. (2021). Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 6th Edition.

Oake, K. (2021). Culture Renovation: 18 Leadership Actions to Build an Unshakeable Company.‎ McGraw-Hill Education.

Footnotes

[1] Klotz, A. (2021, May). The Covid Vaccine Means a Return to Work. And a Wave of Resignations. NBC News: Think Newsletter. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-vaccine-means-return-work-wave-resignations-ncna1269018

[2] Microsoft Corporation. (2021, March 22). 2021 Work Trend Index: The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready? Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work

[3] Edmiston, J. (2021, September 27). ‘Something’s got to give’: Restaurants slash hours, trim menus as worst worker shortage ever cuts deep. Financial Post. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from  https://financialpost.com/news/economy/somethings-got-to-give-restaurants-slash-hours-trim-menus-as-unprecedented-worker-shortage-cuts-deep

[4] Cook, I. (2021, September 15). Who Is Driving the Great Resignation? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2021/09/who-is-driving-the-great-resignation

[5] Ibid.

[6] MetLife, Inc. (2021). 2021 Employee Benefit Trends Study. Caught in the Middle: Managers in the Wake of COVID-19. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.metlife.com/employee-benefit-trends/ebts-managers-2021/

[7] Rastello, S. (2021, July 21). Better pay and ‘micro offices’: Pandemic shakes up Canada’s tech industry. Bloomberg News. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/better-pay-and-micro-offices-vc-veteran-ponders-tech-s-future-1.1631511

The Shifting Challenges for Leaders

In January 2020, when we had only vague and incomplete information on a new strain of virus, The Economist published a column entitled A Manager’s Manifesto for 2020: Eight Resolutions to Adopt in the New Year.[1]  It highlighted many wise practices and behaviours we knew about but which the authors thought we might pay special attention to, e.g. “give out some praise”, the “buck stops with you”, “listen to your staff” and similar important reminders.

And then along came a global pandemic and leaders found themselves in deeper and uncharted waters. The advice cited above from The Economist still remains sound and helpful. What changed, however, in my experience is best described as the need for some aspects of the leader’s role to become “more vivid”. [2]

Leaders realized that the need to balance both task and relationship was central to being consistently effective in their role. The task part of the equation was always central but now the need for attention to, and support of the safety, security and overall wellbeing of teams, was very much a central part of the work of leading others.

Nine months into the pandemic, I conducted a survey to see what changes teams were experiencing and how they continued to operate effectively. What emerged was a parallel series of changes, namely those which leaders of teams were also experiencing.  See Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic to Promise in the Learning Organization (Research Report)[3]

My continuing work with coaching clients, along with the ongoing literature around leadership skills and related topics, [4] prompted this further look at the role of leaders today and what might remain important over the next many months.

download

COVID-19 Vaccinations and Workplace Rights

Covid-19 vaccinations and Workplace RightsOverview

More than one year ago the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of the world. Such shutdowns gravely impacted many businesses, and otherwise shifted the landscape of working life for businesses that could legally remain open by providing working from home arrangements (when possible) or by requiring significant protective measures (for essential services). Although there is much speculation regarding how the pandemic might permanently shift working life for some sectors over the coming years (including more work from home positions), the reality is, many jobs can only be performed in person and some employers may prefer their staff attend the workplace for various reasons (such as increased productivity, improved morale, building relationships, and other reasons).

As the Canadian government attempts to ramp up its vaccination efforts, limited vaccine supplies, combined with vaccination hesitancy, have slowed the process. At the same time, Canadian public health officers have recently declared that we are in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently we are seeing an increase of younger patients hospitalized, gravely ill or even dying as a result of contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, many of these patients include essential workers (like teachers and factory workers) who may have contracted COVID-19 from workplace exposure.

In this context, Canadian employers must consider what measures can legally be taken to protect their workplace. Employers may be considering various measures such as: social distancing, personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and vaccination requirements. At the same time, some employees may have strong opinions or views on why they do not wish to get vaccinated. Other workers may have religious reasons or health related issues that preclude them from getting vaccinated. With all of these considerations, many employers and employees alike want to know their legal rights relating to the imposition of workplace vaccination rules. Balancing COVID-19 protections with workers’ rights is a difficult and unprecedented circumstance that many employers will face in the coming months. This article will discuss legal issues and considerations relating to implementing requirements or policies around COVID-19 vaccinations in Canadian workplaces and other related solutions to consider when trying to protect the workplace from a COVID-19 outbreak.

Please see the updated version of this article, published on Feb 10, 2022: COVID-19 Vaccinations and Workplace Rights: 2022 Case Law Update 

How to Strengthen Our WFH Reality: Flex Your Trust Muscle

The pandemic forced change in the way leaders interact with their employees, forcing many to adapt their approach in how they built trust and relationships with employees throughout the transition into working from home (WFH) practices. For many, this challenging year has actually provided them with a rare opportunity to lead stronger, with a new vision for their teams.

On the one-year anniversary of WFH, this is an ideal time for strong leaders to assess how they are at building trust, and to identify what needs to be strengthened next, as the “new normal” and time of unknowns is still being shaped.

Like a fitness plan full of workouts (like weightlifting repetitions, cardio activities, and daily walking), strengthening your trust muscle requires use Every. Single. Day. Some muscles aren’t used enough unless you intentionally aim to use them. It’s not always easy, and you often feel a bit sore after a good workout; however, because you care about your health, you follow your fitness plan again tomorrow. This is the same for building, rebuilding and strengthening trust with your team of employees. Let’s explore how each of these current WFH realities can be addressed by flexing your trust muscle.

WFH Reality #1 – How Do I Know?

It’s shocking how much information is available on this question for leaders: “how do I know my employees are actually working?” I believe the first question to ask yourself is “how did I know before the pandemic?”

You may still be using some of your past practices, however it is likely that you have had to create new practices for your employee interactions. WFH is felt heavily within organizations that didn’t have a robust culture of providing regular employee feedback on their work. Leaders now find themselves implementing totally new practices for employees to follow. In some cases, monitoring technology has been introduced, which is eroding trust and exhausting everyone involved.

Flex your Trust Muscle:

  • Pull on your empathy emotional intelligence: Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. Think about how you want to be asked to share what you accomplished today, and how you want your manager to interact with you about challenges and successes. This can put you in an effective mindset to seek input from each employee about what is working well for them and what is not as they perform their job duties.
  • Monitor with conversation not technology: If you find that you are not seeing the results from an employee that you did pre-pandemic, then use the same process you did before like goalsetting, feedback and consulting your HR advisor. Employees still want to know what the expectations are of them during WFH. They want to know what is different and what is the same, and how you will handle an achievement or lack of performance on their part – one way is to seek to understand what might have contributed to the situation. WFH for some employees is “working from home with my kids beside me doing online learning, the FedEx delivery truck ringing the doorbell, the dog not staying in the kennel, and aging parents needing help.” You do need to get at the heart of the issue – is it WFH challenges or performance challenges? These might not be the same.

WFH Reality #2 – Team Vision Has Changed

Regardless of how much time you spent recreating the team vision or not, know that is has organically changed, whether you intended it to or not. It changed. What a great opportunity to make it official!

Flex your Trust Muscle:

  • Lead an update of the team vision (One-year anniversary edition): Yes, mark it and be intentional with your employees about carving out dedicated time to revisit your team vision or team charter. Ask questions of your employees about what to keep doing, stop doing, or start doing for key components of:
    • communication
    • goalsetting
    • relationship building
    • conflict handling
    • supporting each other

For example, for relationship building some leaders have made the first team meeting agenda item “Coffee Chat” before any agenda item comes up for business – in an effort to fill the gap of not seeing each other down the hall or in the lunchroom; while in-person experiences truly can’t be replaced, new actions can help fill parts of that gap. For now. To begin, start with this exercise:

Team Vision Chart

WFH Reality #3 – You as a Changing Leader

You are a different leader now. Yes, you are. First, congratulations on transitioning your team to WFH during this once-in-a-lifetime career event. Secondly, plan for your next piece of growth and improvement

Flex Your Trust Muscle:

  • Always ask “What is the learning here, Linda?” My mentor used to ask me this all the time. Take honest stock of what you did well this year and what you did not. What did you learn about yourself?
  • Train your trust muscle for the next transition: WFH is likely not going away completely. Many people believe we will evolve to another “new normal”, and things will not go back to the way it was for all organizations. So, get ready to build more trust with your employees because you will be leading them and collaborating with them into the next transition. In their book “Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You”[1] authors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss explain trust is the input that makes the leadership equation work: “If leadership is about empowering others, in your presence and your absence, then trust is the emotional framework that allows that service to be freely exchanged. I’m willing to be led by you because I trust you”. Reflect on how well you may be trusted by others, by using their trust triangle of authenticity, logic, and empathy. People tend to trust you when they think they are:
    • interacting with the real you (authenticity)
    • when they have faith in your judgement and competence (logic)
    • when they believe that you care about them and where they are coming from (empathy)

When trust is lost, you can almost always trace it back to a breakdown to one of these drivers. Ask yourself: You want others to trust you, right? Which one, if you had to pick, do you think you should strengthen? Pay more attention to it.

In summary, as leaders you can improve how you can trust that your employees are working at home by intentionally taking action on your own leadership fitness as outlined in these “Flex Your Trust Muscle” tips.

  • Pull on your empathy emotional intelligence
  • Monitor with conversation not technology
  • Lead an update of the team vision (One-year anniversary edition)
  • Always ask “What is the learning here?”
  • Train your trust muscle for the next transition

WFH is still challenging everyone to keep learning new ways on how to work – and trust – virtually and effectively.

About the Author

Linda Allen-HardistyLinda Allen-Hardisty is an ICF-certified executive coach, a senior OD professional, a chair at The Executive Committee (TEC) Canada, and a contributing member of Forbes Coaches Council. She’s built a reputation as a vibrant, contemporary voice in the business world by blending her grounding in organizational development with a practical approach to addressing business challenges. Over her 20-year OD career, she has helped many leaders – from corporate executives to entrepreneurs – improve their personal and professional success. She is a sought-after facilitator for executive development, organizational change and culture, team effectiveness, and emotional intelligence. With a Masters of Education from the University of Regina and a certificate in Organizational Development from Queen’s IRC, Linda’s uniqueness is that, prior to private practice, she fulfilled corporate leadership roles including the Director of Organizational Development in a company listed on the Hewitt Top 50 Employers in Canada, and became the first Manager of Strategy and Performance for a municipal government undertaking cultural transformation.

Linda is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Building Trust in the Workplace program.

 

[1] Frei, F. & Morriss, M. (2020). Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. Retrieved March 15, 2021, from  https://www.amazon.ca/Unleashed-Unapologetic-Leaders-Empowering-Everyone/dp/1633697045.

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic to Promise in the Learning Organization (Executive Summary)

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic To Promise In The Learning Organization (Executive Summary)This research on the effectiveness of teams was conducted in the early fall of 2020. It is largely supportive of, and consistent with, much of the thinking of others who were paying close attention to the experience of teams and leaders in a virtual environment. And the focus on teams also highlights the important relationship between teams and organization leadership and their interdependencies.

The research also highlights a number of important insights and ‘learnings’ that will serve us well in the coming months; while it is difficult to predict with any certainty, it is possible that new habits will emerge as teams continue to focus on their overall effectiveness in support of organization priorities.

Chief among the findings were the following:

  • The recognition that there is always a balance between Task and Relationship in any work setting warranted increased and active attention. The wellbeing of the team and its members extended to not only having the tools and support necessary for the tasks assigned, but also to the whole question of safety and security as teams looked to leaders for assurances and ongoing clarity. (In her book entitled Teaming, Professor Amy Edmundson refers to this important area as “psychological safety”);[1]
  • Leaders became much more aware of the need to bring elements of emotional intelligence into their active support of teams and team members; this included empathy and appropriate ‘blends’ of compassion and communication as their colleagues coped with balancing personal responsibilities in addition to work expectations, all in a virtual world. Moreover, the longstanding concept of ‘shared leadership’ assumed heightened importance in a transparent virtual environment;
  • Collaboration and Communication are not new concepts as essential elements in support of team effectiveness. What has become much clearer however, is the need for both leaders and teams to actively pay ongoing attention to both in order to have a finger on the ‘pulse’ of the individuals who are engaged in furthering organization goals. Moreover, the notion of collaboration  increasingly links to shared leadership in such aspects as greater participation in decision-making and joint problem-solving; and
  • Throughout the responses, often implicit, was the theme of how critical ongoing learning was as we ‘navigated’ the uncertainties of a COVID-19 world.

Looking forward, we can probably expect the mutually-supportive relationship between leaders and teams to continue in a more active way.  Expectations of continuing shared participation are now more the norm and reverting to an earlier way of working is unlikely.

Further, the research emphasized the importance of dealing with relevant questions, many of which are at an exploratory stage, but all of which will impact both teams and leaders in the weeks and months ahead.  Among these are:

  • As we move to the new reality in which virtual work will be a preference for some organizations and employees, with others preferring the surroundings of a safe office environment, how will the organization ensure that it mitigates any risk of the emergence of an ‘A’ Team and a ‘B’ Team?;
  • Performance Management in all of its dimensions will of course remain a critical aspect of organization life.  The question, however, is how it will be managed and how it will be measured.  For instance, feedback for developmental purposes has already changed and may continue to do so.  As we move forward, what will be the critical areas in which active attention will determine how successful feedback conversations will be?;
  • As one recent book –‘Virtually Speaking’ from Changemakers Books (2020)[2] – highlights, we will cease speaking of ‘virtual communication’ and simply refer to ‘communication’.  That said, with the ongoing imperative to continue to explore the integration of digital technologies in enabling strong two-way communication— often in close to ‘real time’ conditions—- what will the new models look like and how will we measure their effectiveness?;
  • What will become central to ensuring that there is continuous and shared learning across the organization, both within and between teams but also at and among other levels of the organization?; and
  • What models of ‘shared leadership’ will emerge to recognize the speed of change, the multi-faceted issues which challenge organizations and the heightened expectations of positive outcomes in a ‘less-than-certain’ environment?

Finally, as leaders and teams continue to grow and adapt to changing realities, a number of topics will probably be central to the organization effectiveness  conversation. Such subjects as the following may become part of their ‘standing agenda’:

  • Building and fostering solid trust relationships;
  • Continuing to pay attention to the evolving and changing needs of teams
  • Making ‘resilience’ and emotional intelligence key organization priorities
  • Adapting a range of technologies to facilitate effective communications
  • Re-visiting the roles of leaders in areas of shared leadership, problem-solving and decision-making
  • Examining new approaches to managing change
  • Adapting organization design to be fully responsive to the need for collaboration and agile responses to current and emergent challenges

 

About the Author

Ross RoxburghRoss Roxburgh is a leadership coach and organization consultant with several decades of experience with a wide range of clients, both domestic and international across the private, public and para-public sectors. He has a strong interest in the effectiveness of individuals and teams in complex organization environments; in many cases he brings both coaching and consulting experience to client engagements.

Ross positions his client work in a deliberate way.  He works with his clients as opposed to adopting a prescriptive approach.  Initially he focuses on understanding where the organization is positioned today and what the key challenges are in realizing the preferred future.  Respectful challenge is central to his approach and he is committed to developing solutions with the client which meet current priorities and also position the organization for future challenges. He is a facilitator with Queen’s IRC on a range of programs related to Board effectiveness, Committee evolution and Performance Management. 

Ross holds the designation of Certified Management Consultant (CMC) as well as that of Master Corporate Executive Coach (MCEC).  He has been certified in the use of the EQ-I 2.0 instrument as well as the LEA 360. He has continued to deepen his learning through the globally-recognized graduate program in Organization and Systems Development developed by the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland as well as a number of related programs through the International Gestalt Centre in Wellfleet and the National Training Laboratories (NTL) offerings. Prior to his coaching and consulting career, Ross completed an interdisciplinary Masters Degree in Canadian Studies as well as an Honours BA, both from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

The full report can be downloaded at: https://irc.queensu.ca/team-effectiveness-from-pandemic-to-promise-in-the-learning-organization-research-report/ 

 


[1] Edmondson, A. C. (2012). Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate, and compete in the knowledge economy. Kbh.: Nota.

[2] Erickson, T & Ward, T. (2020). Resilience: Virtually Speaking. John Hunt Publishing.

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic to Promise in the Learning Organization (Research Report)

As we move from the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic into the next phase of organization life, learnings from the first few months of the pandemic will serve to highlight behaviours and approaches which will serve us well as we continue to build effective teams. In addition, the experience of a virtual world, one which is here to stay, will also point to areas where we will need to develop new habits, modify earlier ways of working, and examine approaches that served us well in the pre-pandemic reality, but now no longer support us as effectively in light of the new reality.
This research captures how organizations are re-thinking the role of teams, the work they do and how they approach and carry out that work. This report is based on a survey of team leaders, organization consultants and leadership coaches, as well as research in the field.
The survey on the effectiveness of teams was conducted in the fall of 2020 with a goal to examine the following:

  1. What we have learned at the team level of the organization from the experience and challenges of moving through a pandemic?
  2. What has taken on greater clarity for leaders, managers and supervisors in terms of priority areas as teams strive for sustained effectiveness over the next period of uncertainty?

download

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.