For many firms, the transition to a work-from-home arrangement means gone are the days of a true ‘open door’ policy – where you could drop into your manager’s office, knock on the door, and speak for five minutes. Instead, the transition to a work-from-home environment means managers have to increasingly rely on an individual’s own responsibility and professionalism to thrive. But while more emphasis is placed on autonomy, certain tried-and-true attributes are still the key to advancement for a young professional (even in a remote environment).
The key for managers in fostering the growth and development of younger professionals is homing in on the fundamentals of what makes a productive and engaged employee. this means instilling values early in a young professional’s development that stand them in good stead for a lifetime of career progression.
Foster collaboration. In this new world where team members can become siloed by virtue of their desire to work hard, keep their head down, and get projects and tasks done, managers have to keep in mind that collaboration and teamwork are still the core drivers of a successful team and workflow. this means that managers may have to check in on their teams more often and call more meetings just to get everybody in the same room together, but this is OK if the end goal is to create a culture that fosters collaboration and teamwork.
“At our firm, our managers and executives make it a habit to call team members on a daily basis just to ensure that everyone feels supported and knows that their work is appreciated at all times,” says Kristen Fowler, practice lead at Clarke Caniff Strategic Search, a boutique executive search firm specializing in the retail, luxury, real estate, and services sectors. “While it may seem like more work on behalf of management to make these calls, the benefits far outweigh the time and energy it takes to get these calls done.”
Overcommunicate goals and achievements. Another tactic management can employ to foster growth the development for younger staff members in a work from home environment is to over-communicate the firm’s overall mission and goals. The hardest thing to fight against in a remote environment is the feeling that everyone is working on their own island. Therefore, managers have to over-communicate with their teams. A great way to communicate achievements and company culture is through the standing up of a company-wide newsletter. These can be distributed on a monthly basis, but are an excellent tool for communicating winds across the organization, both personal and professional, and enable the organization to talk about ideas for growth, celebrate employees and generally ensure that everyone is still contributing to a greater goal.
Employee recognition programs are also a great idea for firms looking to create a culture of appreciation and achievement. Digital tools like Bonusly give team members incentive to reward other team members who have done a great job on a particular project or task. Once again, these kinds of tools allow for managers to keep track of who is engaged and who needs to be checked in on for further support.
“Implementing our employee appreciation program has enabled our management team to really understand what drives performance at our organization,” says Dennis Theodorou, managing director at Employment BOOST. “Having visibility into which staff members are more proactive about encouraging their team members, and which team members are a little bit quieter, means that we are able to provide additional resources and support 2 our staff members in whatever capacity they need.”
“The reality is the younger professionals who are focused on achievement and career progression are typically the employees that raise their hand up for additional projects and are more motivated to be team players,” Theodorou adds. “Programs like Bonusly incentivize achievement, even if it means completing a small project for a little bit of extra recognition, which is great for the confidence of younger professionals.”