By: Sarah Kyo
The start of a new year brings new possibilities, including goal setting for your organization, your employees, and yourself. You may have begun 2020 with company goal alignment, allowing everyone in the organization to create goals that were in sync from the top-down. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, chances are that many of those well-intentioned aspirations needed to be adjusted, re-written, or even thrown out.
As we reach this year’s halfway point and prepare to enter the second half, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the past few months: work has changed for good.
- Organizations have needed to adopt an agile mindset, quickly shifting priorities while responding to updated realities and regulations.
- Many workplaces have sat empty while employees adjusted to working remotely around the world.
- A more dispersed workforce has required a greater investment in digital transformation to account for new and enhanced tools, creating a connected enterprise.
- While some organizations intend to remain remote for the foreseeable future, others are considering the adjustments they’ll need to make to the employee experience when they return to work.
The after-effect of this pandemic may reverberate for many months or even years into the future. Because of these global-scale changes, goals for employees and employee expectations in the workplace need to dramatically shift as well.
5 Factors to Consider for Adjusting Employee Expectations and Goal Setting
Performance reviews should be conducted differently in this remote work environment where productivity and employee performance goals have been majorly disrupted. In this unprecedented situation, expectations from managers will need to adjust to allow for empathy and flexibility. By effectively communicating with your team, you can reset employee expectations and adjust their goals. That way they can adapt to the organization’s shifting priorities.
During this time of uncertainty, there are still opportunities for growth and change. Use these five tips for managers to help guide your employees when they adjust their expectations and goals:
1. Make Yourself Available – Within Reason
Perhaps your traditional office workspace had an open floorplan that encouraged in-person collaboration. Maybe you had an “open-door” policy for your team and colleagues. While a remote environment can create a feeling of separation, let your employees know that you’re available through your preferred channels: email, Slack, video chat, formally scheduling time on your calendar, and other methods. Since the lines between work hours and downtime can become blurry in a remote environment, remember to set boundaries for your schedule.
2. Share Expectations for Working Remotely
Make it clear how you’ll evaluate employees and review their performance. Then, hold team members accountable for their projects, whether it’s through an informal check-in over Slack or a one-on-one conversation via video chat. As a bonus, that communication can help your employees feel more connected to you and the organization, instead of potentially isolated in their home offices.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Discuss achievable goals and hold check-ins on an ongoing basis to see where adjustments may need to be made. For example, perhaps your employee’s goal of attending an industry conference and reporting back to the team is no longer attainable. However, perhaps there are some suitable alternatives such as an online conference or webinar. Your employee can present their findings via an online presentation in an upcoming team meeting.
4. Be Transparent
As we transition to returning to work, there may be plenty of factors outside of your control. It’s understandable that your employees would have questions about the company’s current situation and future. For any unknowns, continue to have open, transparent conversations with employees, letting them know when you don’t have the answer. Then, seek out guidance from appropriate sources and follow up with your team.
5. Use Change Communications
Whether it’s re-evaluating an individual’s performance goals or updating organizational goals at the top, they’re all examples of change. To drive the adoption of these transformations, a change communication software can provide employees with clarity in an actionable, strategic manner. Consider using software that contains communication journeys to guide employees through a series of content at their own pace, on relevant topics such as return to work, performance management, and the company’s mission, vision, and values.
COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s goals for the year. Instead of losing motivation, face the “new normal” head-on by setting an example for your employees. Goals can be adaptable and updated in the face of adversity. By re-evaluating goals for your workforce and re-setting their expectations, you can create better alignment and improve workforce productivity during this time of change.