April 21st 2020

Prohibition of contact does not mean prohibition of leadership!

How to manage your employees from the home office.

Digitalization was due before Corona

The world is changing. Basically, it was only a matter of time before digitalization fully spread to our social structures. The education sector is currently experiencing a digital update. Classes or lectures now take place live via online streams. What was unthinkable in the past is now commonplace.

At the beginning of all change is the work of rethinking and the uncertainty of letting go of the familiar. Moving everyday business from the office to your own living room can seem idle at first for entrepreneurs.

Personally, I've been preaching for years that digitizing the enterprise is essential in today's world. I had disruptive market conditions rather than a global pandemic in mind, but well.

I've already explained how to continue your day-to-day business successfully and efficiently in your home office (go to the post here). Today, I'd like to explain what you should urgently consider when it comes to employee management.

See you online!

We're all in the same boat. And by that I really mean ALL of us. Just because we're spatially dispersed and stuck in home office doesn't mean we can't see each other and share ideas. I, for example, have instituted Weekly Online Meetings with my coworkers. Fixed structures are the best antidote for motivation crises in the home office!

At these meetings, we discuss how work is going, what successes or failures we've had, what new projects are coming up, and what problems or changes we've noticed. This not only strengthens team spirit, but also helps us to stay on the ball entrepreneurially. But I also inquire about the well-being of my employees in personal conversations during individual meetings to make sure that everyone is doing well and to be able to tackle creeping crises or problems directly.

Especially the social fabric should be strengthened during isolation. We have a special meeting for this: the joint virtual after-work beer at the end of every other week that we have mastered despite the difficult changes. That feels good. We all long to get back to normal, to meet our friends and go out again. And the well-deserved weekend has always been a reason to celebrate. If not in the local pub, then at least virtually!

At the latest in the home office, everyone is their own boss anyway.

Not only professionally, but also privately we have to change. I think we all feel pretty much the same way. The desire for the usual everyday life, social contacts and the end of isolation. As I said before, we're all in the same boat.

When it comes to personnel management, I am an opponent of strict hierarchies - always have been.

I think hierarchical leadership styles and micro-management no longer work in today's world anyway. What counts for me is: Helping instead of controlling! As a boss, I see it as my job to support my employees so that they can achieve their work goals, strengthen their skills and come closer to their professional self-realization. The motto: support instead of control! This strengthens independence, self-confidence, professional competence and (above all) satisfaction. On this basis, I also give my employees the opportunity to make independent decisions. In my opinion, one thing in particular characterizes a good employee relationship: Trust.

We don't have anything like time recording, for example. I like to work with people I can trust and whose opinions I value highly. That's why our employees are encouraged to work independently and organize themselves. This not only promotes creativity and sovereignty, but also strengthens the innovative power of a company in the direction of agility and anticipated action. An independent, motivated and above all satisfied employee is half the battle. If not the whole thing.

How are you actually doing?

One of the central requirements of qualitative employee management is the duty of care.

As part of this corporate culture, I attach great importance to communication with my employees. I like to converse at eye level. Honest feedback is a result of sincere appreciation. "How are you actually doing?" is a sentence that should never be short-changed - especially not now. Maybe it helps just to be able to talk things out. But maybe you also have some advice ready to improve the situation of individual employees. Communication is and remains the be-all and end-all. It strengthens solidarity, morale and, above all, the satisfaction of everyone involved. Control is bad, trust is better!

A satisfied employee is loyal, self-initiated and productive. And it is your job as the boss to ensure that the framework conditions are set accordingly. Set a good example and be the boss you would like to have!

Herbert Höckel

Herbert Höckel is a managing partner here at moweb research GmbH. He has been a market researcher for more than 25 years. In 2004 he founded moweb GmbH, which he is still the owner today. moweb from Düsseldorf operates internationally and is one of the first German market research institutes specializing in digital processes.

You are welcome to purchase his book "Customer Centricity Mindset ® - Really Understand Customers, Master Disruption Successfully" here.

Your success, our goal!