How to Lead Transformation Amidst Rapid Workplace Change: Strategies to Engage Teams and Build the Future Today

 How to Lead Transformation Amidst Rapid Workplace Change: Strategies to Engage Teams and Build the Future Today

How to Lead Transformation Amidst Rapid Workplace Change

“It’s really important for leadership and organizations to understand that change is inevitable, especially in today’s time — if you don’t embrace it, start to practice it prior to that change coming, otherwise you’re going to have a tough time in making a transition and succeeding in today’s climate.” — Tanner Morris, Head of People, Ocient

According to the 2021 Global Employee Survey, 56 percent of employees reported their perception of their company leaders stayed the same or worsened since the outset of the pandemic. How can the leaders of today develop strategies to engage teams and build a bright future for 2022 and beyond? 

That was the topic of discussion at the PANGEO panel, “How to Lead Transformation Amidst Rapid Workplace Change: Strategies to Engage Teams and Build the Future Today,” moderated by Diane Albano, Chief Revenue Officer at Globalization Partners, with speakers Chuck Mollor, Founder, CEO, Advisor & Executive Coach at MCG Partners, Jacqueline Breslin, Director, HR and Compliance Services at TriNet, and Tanner Morris, Head of People at Ocient. 

The three business leaders shared expert insights from their HR careers thus far, and key learnings on how to lead transformation amidst rapid workplace change. 

Agility and adaptability — at the root of successful leadership in uncertain times

What does it really take to lead in times of uncertainty? If the last 20 months have proven anything, it’s how important the ability to be an agile leader acceptable of change really is. 

One of the key things to note is how, undoubtedly, the COVID-19 crisis tremendously accelerated change in leadership styles; however, this change was coming with or without the pandemic. “When you think about the cycle of innovation, the intensity of change, the constant shift of consumers and their demands, the new generations of employees and what they are looking for from employers — there has been just a massive amount of change,” said Moller. 

Companies today are really at an inflection point of what it means to be a successful leader in times of great change. The true success of a leader will be determined through the employer and employee relationship, particularly by how leaders are empowering and supporting their teams.  

“There’s a real shift now from leaders focusing on the employee experience, to now leaders focusing on the life experience of their employees.” —  Chuck Mollor, Founder, CEO, Advisor & Executive Coach, MCG Partners

Embrace challenges and turn obstacles into opportunities — the epitome of a fruitful company culture

The number one priority a company needs to start with is a clearly defined mission, they need to understand why and how they are doing what they are doing. This is the only way that current teams and potential new hires will comprehend and relate to the company’s values and mission. Challenges and changes are ever present, regardless of the setting. Once leaders understand and present this to their teams, only then will companies create a culture that can easily adapt to the world around them. 

“It’s really important for leadership and organizations to understand that change is inevitable, especially in today’s time — if you don’t embrace it, start to practice it prior to that change coming, otherwise you’re going to have a tough time in making a transition and succeeding in today’s climate,” explained Morris. 

For example, prior to the pandemic, companies were struggling with the concept of allowing their teams to work from home. However, 20 months into the pandemic, most employees don’t even remember what the inside of their office looks like or if new hires have seen it at all.

For some companies, managing and creating remote global teams can prove challenging, but once leaders turn obstacles into opportunities, team experience improves. For example, at Ocient, HR check-ins are important — checking in with leaders on a regular basis ensures employees don’t feel disconnected from the company.

“Help your leaders assess the talent. Consider having performance roundtables where you bring managers together to talk about their teams where they can give input on individual contributors — that can be a really interesting way to make sure that managers are aligned on the talent within the organization.” —  Jacqueline Breslin, Director, HR and Compliance Services, TriNet

Hiring plans and employee communication strategies for 2022 and beyond

It’s always important to look at what’s coming next, and create effective long-term strategies alongside achievable goals. There are three top factors that can help leaders to develop hiring plans and employee communication strategies for 2022 and beyond: 

  1. Lead with curiosity: HR leaders are one of the few members within the company that really understand the good, the bad, and the ugly within the organization structure. However, following a major change like the pandemic, how much do you really know? It’s time for leaders to go “into their workplaces with really open eyes and challenge other leaders to do the same,” explained Breslin. He elaborated by saying that he “would suggest you begin by getting to know your organization’s current state.”
  2. Measure success: Apart from looking at areas for improvement, it’s also integral to understand and celebrate why some teams are more successful than others. It’s really about digging in and analyzing why they are more productive — are there certain strategies these teams can share with the company and, as a result, improve hiring and employee communication strategies for 2022? 
  3. Assess your current talent: The war for hiring the best talent in the world is very competitive at the moment, thus, it’s very important to assess your current talent and how you can retain them in your company for the long run. Apart from this, also consider what talent is worth holding onto — following your performance and productivity reports, it should be easy to identify what talent has a bright future at your company. 

“Today, Ocient has seen over 180% growth since the start of the pandemic. We have had more employees hired since the start of the lockdown than we had prior. We only had two employees outside of the Chicago area — and now we’re in 20 states and 5 countries thanks to partners like Globalization Partners.” —  Tanner Morris, Head of People, Ocient

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