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2022: what will your business be doing differently?

Mckinsey published an interesting article on Covid-19 and its implications for business last week.

Over the past 18 months we’ve watched businesses transform the way they operate and while digital first and remote working patterns dominate the headlines, they aren’t the only changes.

Here are some of the other areas I’ve been reading about.

How many people does it take to change a business?

As leaders steer their organisations out of the clutches of the pandemic towards recovery, most recognise the need for transformation.

Whether it’s adapting to use technology to help us do things differently or developing a purpose or where we work, Mckinsey has some interesting insight into how many people should be involved in a transformation for it to be effective.

McKinsey analyzed data from 60 organisations that are at least 2 years into their transformations. They discovered that as a minimum, at least 7 percent of employees should own some part of the change project.

This may not seem very much, but the average currently involves just 2 percent of its employees.

Looking at how to creatively activate the employee base to involve them in transformation could be a make or break for companies in 2022.

How to get workplaces flourishing again

If your business is one that is welcoming employees back to the office, as part of a hybrid model, 2 articles I read recently shared some great insights. 

Transitioning to a workplace that has been changed forever by Covid is at the heart of author and coach Carole Pemberton’s piece on Good Grief in Organisations.

You may ask what does grief have to do with organisational change? According to Pemberton, we have much to learn from grief and bereavement in the context of organisations.

In any major change in our lives there is loss, so looking to what we know about the grieving process can be helpful in the context of work as well as in our personal lives. Pemberton shares these highlights:

  • Acknowledge the changes that people are finding difficult.
  • Create new rituals – what needs to be acknowledged in returning to work? What rituals are needed?
  • Encourage people to do different and new things as this can help recovery.
  • Focus on helping people to see value in doing things differently.

Working life will be different, but within that there will be things that were not possible under the old ‘norms’. Helping people to experiment with the new is an important part of moving forward.

Why does happiness matter?

In his article on Why does happiness matter? executive Coach Matt Driver explores the lessons positive psychology can provide leaders in ensuring their people are happy and able to thrive as they return to a new normal at work.

‘Why does happiness matter? So often I meet people who are unfulfilled, bored, held down or bullied in their work. In none of these cases are they fulfilling their potential and there is thus a human, financial and performance loss.’

The learnings he gives include:

  • Putting happiness and wellbeing as high on the agenda in organisations as encouraging performance excellence rather than adequacy 
  • Create social initiatives to support colleagues to help each other – research shows acts of kindness have significant impact on psychological happiness and physiological wellbeing in the giver, not just the receiver
  • Ensure space for face to face interaction – while there’s been a lot of talk in light of the Delta variant this week of companies requesting employees working in offices message or zoom each other rather than talk in person, research by Sonya Lyubomirsky, expert on happiness, shows face to face interaction remains the most valued. 

Dismantling the jobs factory

Over at the Drum, the new Better Business interview series features Jellyfish CEO Rob Pierre talking about their acceleration over the past 2 years, and the workforce structure that underpins the business. 

Eschewing the hierarchical structure of traditional business, Pierre has created an approach that he believes underpins Jellyfish’s ability to scale ad infinitum. 

‘To Pierre’s mind, the old way of doing things turns every business into a ‘jobs factory’, where most of the workforce spend most of their days just managing people, gradually remaking the company’s purpose to focus solely on maintaining a structure of jobs. Escaping the jobs factory means freeing individuals to make the contributions they are able to make, and progress according to their own goals and achievements.’

With the shift away from the office and the ongoing debate about how young people can progress in their careers without relying on in-person networking, this move to a new type of flat structure could hold the answer.

One that doesn’t rely on line managers, people having to leave the business for someone else to be promoted and moving people into management positions they have little interest in.

What are your thoughts on the above? And what will your business be doing differently in 2022?

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