The following blog was written and contributed by TMG COO Joe Sapp, MBA, CAE
Feedback is Patriotic and for any association, business, company, employee, or supervisor, it’s essential for success.
The past year has been a turbulent ride for most organizations. Not to brag, but as a company, Talley Management Group’s shift to work-from-home (WFH) was seamless. Our initial approach during the shift was further utilizing the technology that we already had before COVID and toilet-paper-hoarding were even “things.” We continued to make adjustments, used new tech options when it made sense and implemented policies to address the evolving work environment.
During that time, we made considerable efforts to stay connected with our team. We did this through weekly all-company Zoom calls, ranging from just saying “hey” and “how are you surviving” to invited guest speakers. We had Zoom Happy Hours and socially distanced outdoor events when possible. All of our efforts were focused on finding the balance between our culture and the impact of the pandemic.
Over the last few months, as vaccines have rolled out and a glimpse of normalcy were in view, we moved to determining what the long-term normal would be. How do we retain our culture, the efficiencies we learned through the WFH period, and what were established as best practices all along? While we long settled on shifting to a hybrid structure — we still needed to find what was best for us and what other changes were required to get there.
Finding answers to these questions required listening to our team. We spent time talking with our teams about their experiences over the last year and even before WFH. We did this in focus group formats, all staff meetings, one-on-ones, and even surveys. Tops of mind for all of us throughout the process was that we are doing this for and with staff. They are spending a considerable portion of their lives with us, and as part of our company, so we had to dive into what will make them most productive and happy during their work.
As we approach our return to the office date and a new hybrid schedule, we have implemented several new policies built around the feedback received. While that was a milestone in our books, we realized that the process was not over. Even with what we knew after speaking with our team, we quickly realized that adjustments were needed after some of the new policies were put in place and applied to real-world conditions. Just because we had sought input from our team during the drafting of the policies did not mean we got it right. We made sure to not just hear but also listen to our client partners, their feedback, and the impacts they were feeling.
Having both the reactions and trust of our staff and clients to share open and honest feedback was essential. It gave us a chance to make adjustments and improve the policies we had created. By listening, we have shown our team and clients that our focus is on doing the right thing and making positive adjustments whenever needed. Those adjustments made a real difference to our team’s work-life balance and reinforced our desire to find collaborative solutions to common problems.
Hearing the feedback from our team related to our willingness to continue listening and adjusting the policies that impact them has been remarkable. To me, it showed that we are doing something right during what has been a treacherous time for many.
We’ve most certainly declared our independence from doing what’s easy to doing what’s best for all.