New Work in times of social distancing

New Work in times of SocialDistancing

Since the beginning of this year, most companies have not only been confronted with economic challenges, but also with the term “new work” with increasing frequency. In times of physical distancing, terminologies such as home office, online meetings and teamwork are gaining new meaning. However, the long-term effects of this form of work, for both employees and companies, are not yet foreseeable, but their analysis is essential for the success of a company.

What is New Work?

The term “New Work” can be understood as a summarizing concept of work approaches. The overall goal is the creation  a “New World of Work”. The foundation on which this “new world of work” is based can be summarized by 6 principles:

1. Flexibility: Self-management and productivity management of the workforce is gaining importance. This is supported by the desire for more flexible working time models.

2. Flat hierarchies: Employees strive to promote independent thinking and want to be involved in decision-making. This can be achieved through situational levels of authority.

3. Agility: Flexible structures and processes are considered an important part of the New Work approach. For example, strategies and budgeting are reviewed at short and regular intervals and adjusted as necessary.

4. Digitalization: The digital networking of both companies and their employees is the enabler of all principles of the “New Work” approach. This  enables effective, collaborative and transparent cooperation between all employees across teams.

5. Individuality: Great importance is attached to the ability to adapt to the individual needs of employees.

6. New office concepts: Cross-departmental teams, an open-door policy and the possibility of home office hours are representative of a wide range of new office concepts.

What effects do new work approaches have on the HR department?

The new principles permeate all HR functions and serve as enablers in times of physical distancing:

  • Personnel development: Working on remote as well as digital training opportunities are fundamental components of the working world. Times of Covid19 promoted those components even further.
  • Compensation & Benefit: The increase in short-time working allowance, the possibility of special leave and the salary waiver for members of the Management Board are just a few of many possibilities. Those support employees both physically and mentally during the period dominated by Covid19.
  • Recruiting & Employer Branding: Virtual assessment centers, talent pooling and remote onboarding have emerged as new opportunities in the recruiting field.
  • HR services: Flexible working time models and a Digital Employee Care Center can help to support HR services.
  • Structure and process organization: Agile teams, new office concepts and the progress in digitalization enable and require the reduction of rigid hierarchical structures in companies.
  • BGM / Health & Safety: In times of the Covid-19 crisis, the company health care system plays an overriding role in ensuring employee health and safety.
  • Culture & Values: Transparent and open communication promotes the building of trust among team members, especially in times of physical distancing.

How can a new culture and new values be effectively anchored within an organization / team?

We have compiled a DIY-Guide to facilitate the implementation of a new culture and new values. The DIY-Guide includes the following points:

1. Influence the changed corporate culture: Interactive video conferencing, daily stand-up meetings and virtual happy hours can support the anchoring of the new culture.

2. Define a virtual meeting etiquette: Mood surveys at the beginning of each meeting as well as paying attention to a suitable background. Furthermore, lighting and seating position contribute to an open and more productive online session.

3. Influence changing everyday structures: Integrating sports, varied and creative activities into the daily work routine increases quality and productivity at work.

4. Adapt your management style: Transparent, emphatic and optimistic communication kept to reduce the stress level of employees. Furthermore, the creation of goals, fewer controls and trust in employees promote culture and value development within teams / organisations.

You can watch the video from our Community Call here: Video of the Call . Furthermore we have provided the slides of the call here.

If you want to get to know more about us or about what we do and what we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Leadership in times of social distancing

Leadership in times of physical distancing

Long before times of physical distancing, the goal-oriented and successful leadership of managers and teams was considered one of the most important success factors for an organization. Due to the daily changing conditions of today’s working world, not only the importance of leadership has increased, but also the challenges for managers.

Questions on topics such as planning, competence development of employees, communication and team culture are omnipresent. In this regard, there is a great demand for new solutions in times of uncertainty.

How can a leader, despite these hurdles, steer an organization in the right direction?

If one tries to illustrate the current mindset of the majority of German organisations, with the help of the Kübler-Ross curve, you could see the following: organizations have left the shock, negation, insight and acceptance phase and are now in the area of trial and error. Shortly, organisations will be right up to the integration of new approaches to solutions.

In this context, we were able to identify four rules of thumb which contribute significantly to successfully mastering the crisis:

1. Braking before curves: An early reduction of costs not only helps to mitigate risk, but can also help to build up a financial cushion from which the company can draw in times of crisis.

2. Becoming consequent: Defining a simple but action-oriented strategy, underpinned by strictly defined milestones, helps to achieve the future business model. Accelerate effectively out of the curve: Targeted investments in marketing, customers, customer experience and R & D pay off! Well thought-out personnel decisions and the recruitment of high potentials are also essential. The financial crisis in 2008 has already shown that companies that do not shy away from targeted investments even in times of crisis can emerge from difficult times as winners.

3. Development of a Growth Mindset: Not only the intensification of leadership but also the development of an agile Growth Mindset are of fundamental importance for the success of a company. Employees, who see themselves as co-creators and push their independent thinking, can represent a decisive competitive advantage.

How can Designed Alliances contribute to crisis management?

Explaining the psychological and implicit agreements within the organisation can lead to groundbreaking results in team performance. The essence of Designed Alliances lies in a “fearless cooperation” of team members. Aligning the expectations of managers, employees but also customers are essential parts of this concept.

How can an executive improve the performance of his team through effective communication?

Effective communication is embedded in four basic principles:

1. Transparency: Early and honest communication, supported by visual guidelines, contributes to the transparency of a leader.

2. Update: Regular communication across different channels and formats strengthens confidence in the leader.

3. Dialogue: Encouraging team members to engage in dialogue and incorporating the ideas and opinions of individual members strengthens the psychological security of a team.

4. Empathy: Leadership with compassion is crucial. Responding to the concerns and concerns of individual team members is as important as radiating optimism and realism to strengthen team performance.

Enclosed, we have provided the slides of the call here

If you want to get to know more about us or about what we do and what we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

How to ensure liquidity during times of COVID-19

Manage and ensure the liquidity of your organisation during Covid19

Imagine, just 10 days ago we were all confident that 2020 would be a very good year. Today, we have to face times of uncertainties. Not only from a medical point of view but also from an economic point of view. Many marketing budgets have already been paused or even cancelled.  Especially the Travel & Transportation, Hospitality and now OmniChannel Retail sectors are having hard times. The reason?  Who needs local marketing to increase sales in stores?  All retailers except supermarkets, drugstores, pet stores and DIY stores have been closed since Wednesday.

We work with many young companies that did not experience the first crisis in 2008. Most of the team-members were not even employed at that time. However, it is not easy to cope with these changes as managing directors and the mere fact that the whole team is working on-remote. Therefore we want to take the initiative and let you know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

We are all in the same boat! Especially for entrepreneurs it is even more important to stick together and evaluate together how we see further opportunities despite this crisis. True to the saying: When the wind of change blows, some are building walls and others are building windmills (from China). Following this saying, we want to invite you to  a dialogue and also give you practical tools on how to overcome this crisis. 

For us, the following 6 steps are important to manage your own liquidity and foresight both confidently and dynamically:

Establish an overview of your own situation

  1. Gain an overview of the client portfolio: Evaluate with your key account managers which industry is already affected and which industry will be affected in the next 4 weeks. Create a clear overview of which sales have already broken away and which sales will break away in the coming weeks.
  2. Financial Planning & Scenario Modeling: Based on the customer portfolio, financial controllers should primarily model scenarios. Those should  take into account: sales, loss of sales, wage costs, other costs and cash on hand.
  3. Seek discussion with employees: Now it is important to communicate this scenario planning transparently with employees, even if they are all currently working on-remote. Here it is important not to build up stress. Try to avoid to mention that employees can lose jobs. Rather communicate to engage even tighter and to come out of the crisis together. This will be achieved by means of jointly agreed short-time working.
    Especially leadership is more than important in these times to keep the confidence in your company.

Proactively seek dialogues with your customers and ensure liquidity

  1. Proactively seek dialogue with customers: Your customers are also under enormous stress. Don’t wait until you get a call. Be proactive and seek dialogue about how you could support your customers. If you are a Subject Matter Expert in an area such as Travel and Transportation, it would make sense to create a white paper on COVID-19 and the travel industry. Furthermore,  invite them to join in the dialogue.
  2. Ensure liquidity: Don’t wait until your own cash reserves are depleted. When applying for short-time work, you don’t have to go into the red (as it was previously the case) to apply for short-time work. Anyone who has lost more than 20% of their turnover can apply for short-time work immediately. Also talk to your bank and make sure that your liquidity is sufficient.
  3. Seek the exchange with like-minded people: The first wave of stress is over and many appointments have already been taken off the agenda. Use this opportunity and seek exchange with other entrepreneurs. We will start a COVID-19 LinkedIn group and hope that you will be part of it.

We will all come out of this crisis stronger! Keep your chin up!

If you want to get to know more about us or about  what we do and what we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.