Mary Lou Joseph
2 minute read
By Mary Lou Joseph
Posted in Customer Engagement
As people are adapting to the rapid switch to work from home, most organizations have been focused on the physical and technical aspects of getting employees up and running from home. This is understandable.
However, in a panel discussion at last year’s Engage conference, the topic of work-from-home employees came up during a conversation on the expectations of the “new” workforce—Millennials and Gen Z.
While the panelists all agreed that organizations need to modernize their technology to support a work-from-home program, they said there’s a greater need to address the cultural and generational differences of the workforce.
The Director at the life insurer discussed how leadership within his organization needed to change. The Generation Xers and Boomers who have been with the company for a long time are used to face-to-face interactions with their employees. But now employees are spread across the world, working from home. This changes how they lead, when they lead, and the tools used to lead. “Ten years ago, nobody worked from home and you didn’t have instant messaging and cameras on your desktops.” He said you have to realign your training, communication and hiring practices for the new reality.
In the recent webinar, “Thinking Outside the Cubicle: A Work from Home Success Story with U-Haul”, Joel White, Strategic Planning Manager and Verint WFO Admin at U-Haul advised that front-line mangers need to be trained on how to handle the numerous daily issues that arise with a work-from-home workforce, such as sudden connectivity issues. He also cautioned that organizations need to be careful with team size to maintain the correct control ratio for manager to employees, allowing daily check-ins and more coaching.
And the Director at a mail-order pharmacy concurred about the need to teach or retrain leaders, both new and existing, on how to operate and manage in today’s world and how to do it effectively. He also pointed out that it’s not just the technology that needs to change—the people management approaches do too. The actual work performed needs to adapt to younger generations. Millennials, he said, want the work to have value and impact. They aren’t particularly tolerant of repetitive, rules-based work like data entry. Fortunately, new solutions such as Robotic Process Automation can offload those tedious, rules-based tasks to software robots.
A Director at a large business process outsourcer said that scheduling flexibility and work-from-home options were not just the expectations of millennials. They found that many of their older, more tenured workers want to work from home to avoid wasting an hour each way commuting. Or they simply have the need to work non-traditional hours, perhaps to care for a loved one. Key to enabling a flexible workforce is to empower them to manage their schedules, request shift changes or swaps in real-time to enable them to balance work and home life.
So when you are transitioning a large portion of your workforce to work-from-home, make sure you are considering the cultural, generational, and leadership needs, as well as the technology needed to make a work-from-home program successful.
Join this week's Adapt and Respond Educational Webinar, Effective Leadership through the COVID Crisis, on Tuesday, March 31 (tomorrow!) at 1 p.m. ET to hear Verint's Lori Britt, vice president and practitioner of organizational psychology, share clear, tactical (and practical) advice that leaders will need to navigate this unprecedented situation.
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