Following a long conversation recently with a fellow expat about the new employee experience, and after recently going through the onboarding process myself, I thought I would share some lessons.
Gone are the days when teams that work together needed to be in the same physical location. There are a multitude of ways to stay connected. But there is a difference between connected and cohesive. Being part of a team can be difficult in the best/easiest of circumstances but today’s increasingly dispersed (or so-called ‘wide’) working environment can make team building and cohesion tough.
When we think about a team at our workplace, we all have different expectations- some want backup for their ideas, some want sounding boards, and some want people to bond with over the “water cooler” (totally old-school, I know). But what everyone needs to have in a team are the same goals. Teams members with disparate goals are doomed to fail. This is where two important factors come into play- leadership and organisational culture.
Without a good leader, the team will not know where it should be going and will struggle with how to get there. And what underpins all of this is organisational culture. What kind of leadership is rewarded, what kind of influence will they have, are team members encouraged to take initiative or tow the line? And linked to all this is how important is employees satisfaction (since employees are internal customers, right)? The design of the employee experience is being increasingly recognized as a vital commitment to a successful company. Because happy employees lead to happy customers which leads to happy profit reports. And it will only become more important as companies continue to focus on differentiating themselves- as employers and as service providers. Some might even say that 'employee experience is the new customer experience'.
In the ‘new world’ of working you can see in many tech companies are sacrificing location for talent. In order to get the talent they want, they have to be willing to be flexible on the location of their employees- especially when the HQ is in less well-known location. So how do you build real teams that can be hundreds or thousands of kms from each other? You design them. Here are a few tips for onboarding dispersed teams:
There is a great video of a ball pit for strangers by SoulPancake. Finding common ground always to help develop a conversation and a shared mission. Humanity needs this, the workplace needs it…and those people who work from home far from their colleagues really need it. As we continue to be propelled forward by technology, new and diverse workplaces will be created but human nature rarely changes.
P.S. While trying to tag this post, I couldn't even get an "employee experience" tag- so I must be on the cutting edge, right?
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