New Delhi, Sept 06 - ETHRWorld interacted with several HR leaders in the information technology sector to highlight their challenges and dig out key takeaways after implementing the solutions to foster teamwork amid Covid times.
Companies that promoted collaborative working were five times as likely to be high performing, said a joint study between the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and Rob Cross, Edward A Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College.
The team-building and collaboration process has been the major productivity booster in the physical workplace. However, several findings became epitaph once the pandemic hit us distancing the primary subjects of the activity: Teammates.
Experts say teamwork doesn’t truly work until the members of the team actively work together. Although it appears to be straightforward, successful teamwork is difficult to achieve in practice. But what are those?
“Trust is a crucial component of all relationships, but it is especially important in teams. Lack of trust can undermine productivity, produces a toxic atmosphere, and can shut off communication, eventually breaking a team,” said Shyam Verma, Global Head - Human Resources, JK Tech.
Verma believes it also demotivates team members, which harms the company's bottom line. “High-confidence situations assist people to experience better because they feel safe and connected to others,” he said.
Amy Edmondson's final research relates confidence with psychological security: The climate of teamwork is marked by interpersonal confidence and reciprocal respect in which persons are at ease.
Industry leaders say the IT industry, in particular, was in a way unintendedly prepared for this situation as they believe collaborating with people across locations and geographies was a common thing for several years. Vishwanath Shetty, Global Head of HR, Mastech Digital, thinks there were no issues in getting used to the "work-from-anywhere" culture.
However, he said, “The critical thing was to ensure that bonding with the employer brand continues and strengthens despite the remote working culture.”
According to a study titled ‘Work from Home & Productivity: Evidence from Personnel & Analytics Data on IT Professionals’, it is likely that WFH also resulted in a decline in intangibles that are valuable to the employee and the company.
“Working relationships, professional networks and corporate culture may have suffered. More subtly, when people work in the same location, they experience unplanned interactions. That can lead to new working relationships, and “productive accidents” that spur innovation,” it said.
The findings become significant in light of a McKinsey study which said remote work potential is concentrated in a few sectors: IT and telecommunications scoring 58-69 percent.
Today, Verma said teams and organizations come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
“Connection with coworkers is essential for the workplace social atmosphere to develop. This can take the form of a variety of talks and encounters, the majority of which take place in person,” he said, adding, “participants can experience the complete gamut of communication, including nonverbal clues, body language,” among others.
As per a Harvard Business Review (HBR) study, the distribution of collaborative work is often “extremely lopsided”. The research said that majorly 20 percent to 35 percent of value-added collaborations come from only 3 percent to 5 percent of employees.
“As people become known for being both capable and willing to help, they are drawn into projects and roles of growing importance. Their giving mindset and desire to help others quickly enhances their performance and reputation,” it added.
The researches imply that having a goal, willingness and that too on common ground help leaders build “productive” teams.
In 2020, Computacenter India delivered the majority of the AHEAD Digital Transformation programme and moved the management of its HR systems strategy and projects into the HR operating model. It's important to note that the company has been 100 percent remote working across its over 700 team members for the last 15 months.
Sambit Dash, Country Head, Computacenter India, said the programme has been crucial. It gave HR a more consistent global capability, provided the data to help the company be “highly” responsive to the continuous changes in the global situation during the pandemic, and helped to support planning and management of the response for its people and its business.
Apart from implementing the tested and improvised infrastructure and processes, Urmi Chatterjee, Senior Director - HR, Honeywell India, highlighted a way of using a different telescope.
Chatterjee believes the biggest enabler when it comes to working from home is the human factor. Empathy, trust, and support levels have been at an all-time high and “fostering a spirit of collaboration and ‘we can get through this together’ attitude has been instrumental for creating a better work-life balance in this remote working environment,” she said.
JK Tech has a motto: Connected team is essential for the organization’s growth. Since remote workers may frequently feel isolated and can hurt team cohesion, Verma suggested that by getting involved in how teams are organized, HR may directly encourage stronger teamwork.
“It is essential to include team members in goal setting since they will be investing more in goals that they helped construct. Team leaders should establish effective measurements and reporting,” he added.
No doubt there will be a mix of employees coming to the office and working from anywhere. But Shetty, Mastech Digital, highlighted that the core to all the changes will be accountability and the fabric of trust.
“Any new frameworks should have policies and methodologies that nurture these two critical ingredients for companies to succeed in the post-pandemic era,” he added.
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