Written by: Grete Vangsø, Country Manager Insights Nordic
Many consider the summer holidays as a form of intersection – a well needed break in the middle of the year, where one can finally relax, enjoy a sense of freedom, and recover from the busyness they have experienced throughout the first half of the year. But this is also the time when one begins to reflect on what the second half of the year may bring.
This year the summer holidays act as the most important intersection yet.
The majority of Denmark’s population will be fully vaccinated after the holidays, meaning that society will open up more and more, and many will return to the daily routine they had prior to the Covid-19 crisis.
Statens Serum Institute state that everyone who is currently working remotely will be able to return to their workplaces post summer holidays – although this will only occur if the institute regards this to still be safe post-holidays.
However, many oranisations will find that they’ll be in a situation that is quite out of the ordinary.
According to Dansk Industri (Danish Industry) the extent of remote working within danish organisations is expected to expand to double that of what it was before the Covid-19 crisis. In fact, many organisations have already incorporated new employee guidelines regarding remote working, to provide their employees with a hybrid work model.
New work models require new guidelines, both when it comes to the work environment and the allocation of resources for desks, office desk chairs, extra monitors etc. and they demand a completely different take on coordination when it comes to teamwork sessions and booking meetings, in comparison to the coordination applied before the crisis.
Yet, there is one element that surpasses the physical and practical elements just discussed, that is the most important element for the success of what we call the ‘future labour market’. And that element is our culture.
Therefore, the most important task at hand after the holidays is in fact found within management and HR.
And that is why, I want to provide you all with three themes, that I believe will be most important for you to focus on after the holidays. These themes will make a huge difference to your employees and fellow co-workers - especially on a personal level, which will allow you to successfully enter the second half of 2021.
I have already participated in implementing and executing these three steps as part of the reboarding process for our Insights Nordic team. I can therefore share and recommend these themes based on my personal experience and knowledge, in combination with my background and experience within coaching and psychology.
1. Make your employees look inward
During the last 16 months, the majority of employees have had their work and personal life divided by nothing more than a 30 cm wall. Some have felt extremely isolated, whereas others have enjoyed their newfound serenity and daily flexibility. Thus, even with this issue we cannot treat our employees as one in the same as they have had vastly different work-life experiences during the crisis.
This is why the first major milestone after the summer holidays will be to figure out how well your employees and colleagues have adjusted to their new work conditions.
To begin this process, it is wise to understand if you or your fellow employees have experienced a change in your preferences found within your Insights Discovery personal profile. This change will potentially provide new insight for the individual employee, colleagues, or management – which will undoubtedly allow for better and easier communication, collaboration, and management of employees.
Everyone on the Insights Nordic team were offered to retake the evaluator so they could receive an up-to-date Insights Discovery personal profile for management to be able to evaluate if the teams’ preferences had changed.
We compared the teams’ new profiles to their last profiles received prior to the Covid-19 crisis and it turned out that 37% of the Insights Nordic team had changed wheel position entirely. And more than 37% had a different preference flow, meaning a change had happened in the dynamic between their ‘conscious’ and ‘less conscious’ personas – a difference which is also noticeable in their general behaviour.
2. Share your newfound insight with colleagues and your direct line manager
The whole team is affected if their teammates experience a change in wheel position or preference flow. Therefore, it is vital that the employee who experiences this change looks inwards and figures out if they have changed position and perhaps why they have, thereafter they can go ahead and share this knowledge openly with the team and management.
Sharing new insight within management:
On a management level I would recommend that the line manager arranges a 1:1 meeting with each employee. The goal should be to support the employees understanding of the change between their past and current profile and to allow them to have a reaction to this information during the meeting. Some relevant questions you could ask as a manager would be:
- Do you recognize yourself in your new profile?
- What do you think is the reason for this change within yourself?
- How do you express this change?
- What should I as your manager be aware of in regard to this change?
Sharing new insight within a team:
On a team level there are several ways you can share this newly discovered knowledge. During the reboarding process of the Insights Nordic team, we generated two team wheels – the old and the new team wheel.
The team wheel demonstrates where each individual employee is placed on the wheel, which provides us with a better understanding of the dynamic within the team.
On a team level, we have tipped over into being more action and task focused (Fiery Red/Cool Blue energy). However, we still as a team have a strong preference for relationship-oriented energy (Sunshine Yellow/Earth Green).
- A rise in the level of (dominating) Fiery Red energy within the team: 25% to 31%
- A drop in the level of (dominating) Earth Green energy within the team: 44% to 31%
The big question now is: What does this mean for the dynamic of the team? And is this a permanent or a temporary change? So we decided to discuss these questions during a face-to-face team session in the office.
3. Rekindle the connection within the team
The first time our Insights Nordic team met in person since the pandemic was for a team session in the office. During this team session we utilised the knowledge provided in section 1 and 2 in this article.
The team session’s purpose was to present the employees with new strategic goals, but it also allowed time to re-connect as a team.
To re-connect the team, we facilitated a 2 hour re-connect séance by using several of our own resources and materials – such as the team wheel mat.
Group work on the Insights Discovery team wheel mat:
Explain to your employees that they should go into groups of approximately 2-3 people. In these groups they should take turns explaining their “old” and, if they have changed, “new” wheel position/or change in preference flow. They should also clearly mark this change by first placing themselves on their “old” position on the Insights Discovery Team wheel mat and then they should move to their “new” wheel position.
It may be a good idea to tell your employees that they should prepare for this team session by reflecting upon their change by writing a couple of notes that they can bring to the session.
There may be some employees who have not changed wheel position but have experienced a change in their preference flow. These changes must also be discussed thoroughly as they are also very important.
Estimated time: 1 hour
Gather the entire team and discuss as a group the results and knowledge found from doing the last exercise. What questions and insights did the groups touch upon? Both regarding themselves, but also regarding their colleagues.
Estimated time: 30-45 min
As a final exercise the entire team should stand on the team wheel mat. First, they should stand on their “old” wheel position and then afterwards their “new” wheel position.
By physically moving from one position to another, a clear visual awareness of the change is provided for the team. This allows all the employees within the team to understand the changes and the effects and how it might influence them on an individual level.
Estimated time: 15 min
I hope that my article has inspired you or maybe just provided you with some food for thought regarding how your organisation can become stronger after the holidays.
One thing is certain: nothing will be the way ‘it used to be’ and your employees well-being within the ‘future labour market’ (which is closer to us than ever) will be your most important resource when it comes to succeeding in this upcoming future.