By listening actively and taking concrete actions to address their concerns, supervisors will be able to benefit from a motivated team which, in turn, drives organisational success, affirm experts from the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).
As we navigate the new normal of working from home and supervising teams remotely, communication is critical in managing work processes and supporting the wellbeing of employees.
One practical step that supervisors can take is to schedule regular one-on-one performance check-in via voice or video call with team members. Supervisors should state upfront that the purpose of these conversations is to maintain an open channel of communication to share progress updates and provide support on work issues.
Here are five recommended questions you can incorporate in your check-ins, to facilitate constructive conversations with your team members.
1. "Are there challenges you face working from home?"
There is likely to be an adjustment period as employees first transit to a flexible working arrangement. They may identify challenges such as finding a quiet workspace and striking a balance between time spent on online meetings and doing deeper work. These difficulties coupled with a desire to maintain their usual efficiency levels can be stressful.
As a supervisor, you can support your employees, by finding out how well they are adjusting to the arrangement and sharing anecdotes to address their problems.
2. "How can we work better as a team?"
As employees work outside of the traditional office space, they will be able to better identify and fine-tune essential work processes for the team to function well. It is therefore helpful to check-in with your employees to understand their needs and ascertain if the frequency of communication platforms is sufficient.
3. "Tell me about your work week/month. What went well/not so well?"
Online check-ins are also an opportunity to pause and evaluate performance on tasks. Supervisors can conduct a quick post-mortem on recently completed projects by asking what went well or what could have been done better. This serves as a good way to provide on-going feedback to the individual and sharpen their skills and aptitude.
4. "Are there areas of work that you are currently concerned about?"
Proactively asking this question can lead to an employee sharing openly about their work challenges and enable supervisors to support them in prioritising their workloads and refreshing their skillsets.
5. "How can I support you as you work from home?"
This question is a useful catchall that supervisors can use to conclude an online check-in. It provides a quick ‘temperature check’ on who requires immediate support and allows employees to surface any work challenges that did not surface earlier.
Asking the right questions is the first step towards having deeper conversations and building stronger relationships with your employees. By listening actively and taking concrete actions to address their concerns, supervisors will be able to benefit from a motivated team which, in turn, drives organisational success.
TAFEP provides information and resources to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit tafep.sg to find out more.
Photo / 123RF