5 July 2021

Saying No To Normal: The Five Crucial Themes For The Future Of Work

Visit our dedicated Future of work web page for thought leadership and support to help you navigate the future of work.

Everyone is talking about the new normal. But the truth is, there is no normal and there never was, especially when it comes to your employees.

As we emerge from lockdown, many employers have a plan for their new hybrid office model and flexible working policies. But – while they’re busy talking logistics – they’re missing out on the opportunity to redefine the employee experience. We believe there are five integral areas that are crucial for the future of work.

From revitalising recognition, to empowering managers, to redesigning wellbeing and revising working environments, the one defining thread is that there is No Normal. 

Every colleague has always been unique but having navigated COVID-19 against a host of individual challenges, organisations can no longer afford to ignore this.

Your people have been confronted with the question ‘what really matters to me?’, and many are re-evaluating what their ideal workplace looks like. Every person’s new normal looks different and organisations need to be ready to embrace this uniqueness.  

Claire Rogerson, Strategy Lead here at McCann Synergy says: “We’ve been in constant touch with our clients during COVID-19 and these five areas – wellbeing, leadership, recognition, employee experience, and workplace environment – are the areas demanding the most attention. These are the areas where employees need to see you taking action. 

“This is not the time for staid and boring communications either; there are truly creative ways to engage with your employees and make sure your workforce is back stronger, refreshed, more united and more excited than ever before. And that’s definitely our area of expertise. Creatively communicating purpose, strategy and values, and bringing to life your people experience has never been more important.”

#Saynotonormal in these five areas

Across all five of these areas organisations need to foster conversation, collaboration and emotional connection. This can only be achieved by a blend of creative thinking, strategic planning, behavioural nudges and consistent communication (need some help? Check out our new No Normal packages).   

Wellbeing, support and inclusion

The UK is at a tipping point for mental health issues; and it’s more important than ever to show support for your employees’ wellbeing (physically, mentally, financially and emotionally). While many had wellbeing initiatives in place pre-pandemic, these need to be redefined and embedded across the entire employee experience.

Leadership connections

Compassionate, strong, articulate leaders – who make employees feel heard, secure and appreciated – are what’s needed right now. These leaders must also empower managers who need training, support and guidance to co-create and manage a successful hybrid environment for their colleagues.

Growth through recognition

Celebrating the wins – even the small ones – will help make colleagues feel supported and valued and start to reconnect people and their teams. Company-wide recognition, peer-to-peer acknowledgement and clear career development plans should all be on the table.  

Redefining the employee experience

The past 18 months have changed every aspect of people’s lives. What worked then, won’t work now. From the moment of hire to the moment an employee leaves (hopefully many years later!), every aspect should be assessed through the lens of ‘does this work for now.

Environment to thrive

The physical workplace of the pre-COVID world won’t necessarily work anymore. As people adopt more fluid office arrangements and flexible hours, collaborative spaces – including spaces for creativity and concentration – need to be re-thought. 

How to #saynotonormal

The organisations that succeed in this post-pandemic world are the ones prepared to embrace the uniqueness of each individual employee. The ones ready to #saynotonormal. 

Across all five of the above areas, they’re prepared to listen, have two-way conversations, agree and discuss a way forward, empower managers, trust colleagues and give clear expectations as to what’s expected.

  • Listening matters more than ever before. The days of employees needing to fit into the rigid HR policies and procedures of an organisation are gone. Employees expect their own individual needs to be appreciated and considered
  • Communication will be key to the success of companies in the post-pandemic world; employees must have a clear source of truth 
  • Purpose comes first and needs to be reinforced. The companies that can truly live their values and strive towards a common purpose – even in a world of uncertainty – are the ones that will hold on to their people as we navigate the new world together
  • Practical information like the logistics of a new hybrid working model (if this is what your organisation is adopting), health and safety, flexible working policies and so on need to be clearly communicated – even if it’s a work in progress. Saying nothing causes anxiety
  • Manager support is integral for success, as they’re the ones that will be in direct contact with your wider workforce. This support and guidance is crucial in building their confidence in what they’re doing to be able to manage teams consistently
  • It will take time and companies will need to test, trial, learn, and adapt. Take employees along on the journey with you and show that you’re working towards a better future  

Let us help you #saynotonormal 

There’s no more time to waste. Get started right now and book the first stage of our No Normal packages, providing immediate ideas and a clear roadmap on how to navigate employee communications and engagement in the new world of No Normal in your organisation.

Intrigued to see how you’re performing in each of these core areas? Download our traffic light checklist here.

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