Transcript From Remote Management Bootcamp:

Establishing Trust and a Regular Cadence

To watch the full Bootcamp session video, please access here.

Ben

Good morning Ben Thompson here and welcome to our first of four weeks’ worth of boot camps looking at how to become a remote-ready workforce. I’m the CEO and founder of Employment Hero. We’ve been working from home since the 10th of March so coming up to our sixth week. In that time we’ve had to go through a lot and refine a lot and I think that we’ve learnt a lot. I know that there are many people on the call and many tens of thousands of businesses around the country who are trying to figure out how to work from home effectively and so we wanted to look at whether or not we can really guide people through the approach of working from home effectively and managing more effectively.

We really want your feedback and guidance on how we can do this best. We’ve put together this four-week schedule and really what we’re trying to do here is move people up our productivity pyramid. Something that we’ve been playing with for a while and getting you to the point where you have as many superstars in your business as possible. These are people who are performing at the peak of their productivity. We thought we would start with the foundations of trust and communication and regular cadence of communication and then on Thursday, so we’ll run a webinar on a Tuesday and then on a Thursday we’ll run a practical workshop with an Employment Hero superuser and just help people look at we’re practically doing the things we spoke about on the Tuesday. So in the second week, we’d be looking at strategic alignment goal-setting and coaching and the third week reward and recognition and motivation and then the fourth-week learning and development coaching and feedback.

Please take this opportunity to provide feedback on what we’ve framed up here. Happy to amend it to deliver a better quality outcome and I’m very keen to hear from you as to how we can improve it. So that’s the general sort of design of this course and with that I’ll move into to week one establishing trust and regular cadence and our welcome to the call Alex Hattingh, our Head of People and Culture or Chief People Officer, actually who’s come to Employment Hero with decades of experience developed at Yahoo And Google and prior to Employment Hero – working for a business they used Employment Hero and she liked it so much she joined the company.

 

Alex

Ben mentioned we’ve been working from home since March the 10th so we adopted the work from home model pretty rapidly and we’ve iterated and learned a lot and listened to our employees about what’s working and what’s not. We felt that starting today with establishing trust and regular cadence is one of the things that we’ve really learned from and that has been very successful for all of our employees.

So look there’s no denying our world has changed. It’s pretty uncharted territory. Gone are the days of in-person meetings and you know what you used to take for granted – running to people in the kitchen, the body language you’re missing that if you don’t have your video on when you’re doing zoom or you’re doing calls. We have teams that were once connected in person are now dispersed. How do we deal with this?

How do we manage a remote workforce? How do we navigate this new work from home environment and how can we trust that everyone isn’t just watching Netflix? How do you have tools in place to show your employees that you trust them and that you’re very much focused on the outcomes of what employees are doing rather than making them feel like you’re clock-watching as managers? For those who are on the call that oversee people and culture or HR, how do you support and coach your leadership team through making sure that you have that underlying trust there?

 

Ben

I think that’s a really good question and I would also throw into this that we have a lot of people on the call, but they’re coming from a lot of different backgrounds and a lot of different industries and how Employment Hero have adapted to this situation may be very different to how other companies have to adapt, so very keen to hear from participants about how they’re seeing this apply within their own business and acknowledging that you’ve got as much to teach us about what you’ve done differently because of your particular circumstances. We are not all the same in this but moving forward, I think there’s a general sort of basis for developing trust and getting people to perform at their best and it’s related to this quote which is “he who does not trust enough will not be trusted”.

We’ve been receiving lots and lots of questions through the social communities on slack and Facebook that we’ve set up. We’ve also received literally thousands upon thousands of questions from businesses in response to the webinar we’ve been running the last few weeks and I’m surprised sometimes by the questions and the lack of trust that a small minority of businesses are experiencing. Questions about you know implementing timesheet systems and screen capture systems.

I mean this there’s I’ve seen plenty of businesses who think that the right to manage employment and to manage remote working is to put a system onto their employees computers which regularly caches what’s on their screen once every five minutes and feeds that back to management so they know what they’re working on. To me, that’s the completely wrong direction to be going. You need to trust people and guide people and give them things that are worthy of working on that make them excited, but then trust that they have the drive to deliver on that. But you can’t just sort of get there immediately. You do have to work towards it over time and I guess that’s what we’re looking at. What are those basic elements of trust that are necessary to build upon?

 

Alex

So this here is what we call the employee productivity pyramid. We’ve worked on it and iterated on overtime and it really aligns very well for those of you that know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that’s where compliance and Trust is at the very bottom of that pyramid. If you don’t have trust, and that starts with compliance and the basics of things like employee contracts, you’re never going to start to move your employees up this pyramid to where you’re getting engagement and purpose alignment of effort.

Here at Employment Hero, we use OKRs, continued development that’s professional development personal development and coaching and finally getting to the top of that pyramid where you have your employees as absolute Superstars. They are completely motivated and self-driven. They’re autonomous, they know what they’re doing and they’re purposeful – what they’re doing and what they’re working on they completely understand how it aligns to your purpose as a company. You’ll notice there’s an arrow on the side around communication which we’ll get into a little bit later.

 

Ben

Yeah, I think Alex there’s a question that’s just in the Q&A which I think is a fair question. Is it really a lack of trust or is it fear of losing control? It might be worth just sort of examining that for a moment. What do you think?

 

Alex

Yeah, I think certainly from my perspective, it’s all about trust however I think as a business leader it is about losing control. You’re not in the office every day to see your employees showing up sitting at their computers, interacting in team meetings. You’re not necessarily having the WIPs or the readouts that you might be having in person, so there’s definitely a sense of lack of control for business owners and for leaders out there. So absolutely it’s a great point it really is a combination of the two.

 

Ben

Yeah and there’s a degree of you know I can’t remember who actually created the saying but management by walking around just spending time at the coalface with your employees you know sitting at their desk and understanding what they’re working on and how you can help them do it better. I mean it’s just so much harder to do that when you’re physically dislocated from those employees. But there are ways to get there which i think is what we’re really trying to get at here. So moving forward I think this is you know this image is the foundations of of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco to go up and create the highest towering and arguably one of the highest performing businesses on the plane, you have to develop incredibly strong foundations, you have to dig as deeper and go as far down it is necessary to put a really tall structure on top of and really that’s what some of these boring elements of human resources and people management are all about is building a foundation upon which you can develop something amazing and you know the outcomes and the benefits of doing that speak for themselves.

 

Alex

Yeah, and talking about high trust Gallup is certainly one of the researchers that have been around for years and years. They have millions upon millions of employees and managers and leadership on their survey database and you’ll see here that high trust shows that employees say that they’re twice as likely to stay with your company for more than a year from now, however, another shocking statistic from Gallup is that only one in three employees globally actually trust their leadership. I think this work from home

phenomenon that we’re currently in is a really great opportunity to improve the trust in your employees. It’s the foundation of motivating them and getting them to that next level of the pyramid. The question is how do you do that and how do you gain that trust and also Gallup does have research that says if you have engaged employees you can be up to 21 percent more profitable, so those links are absolutely there.

Here’s another statistic just to help you understand trust ninety-one percent of employees think that their leaders lack communication skills. What’s more, almost one in three of us don’t trust their employers and now this is a statistic that was put together when we were in an office altogether.

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Ben

So with that, we might launch the first poll. Julia is going to do this magically in the background pulse check – how would you rate the trust within your organization when working remotely? I can see now so 19 percent of people believe that their trust level is excellent, 49 percent of people believe that it is good, 27 that is average and 6percent of people believe it is bad or terrible. So thankfully it looks like on this call the vote is close to half of the participants and well over 50% of participants think it is either good or excellent which is fantastic to see. So where do you start, I mean how do you improve yourself to getting from that good to excellent in terms of showing your employees that you do trust them and that you trust that they’re working and they’re getting their work done and that they’re managing their own time?

So you know based on outputs yeah I guess for me you know has been a business operator and owner and manager for decades as well as an employment lawyer, I think this is just my opinion and again please throw into chat or into the Q&A section any thoughts that you have, but to me employees want to know or need to know these bases they need these basic questions answered and we’re going to get paid correctly and we’re going to work in reasonably good conditions and will I be treated with respect?

There’s a lot more that comes beyond that in terms of purpose and opportunity but just at the very bottom of that pyramid they need to know those three things before they would even consider trusting an employer from the employer’s side they want to know can I trust my employees to be positively engaged and deliver what the business needs from them? They just want to have that confidence that left to their own devices their employees will deliver what’s needed and it’s a fairly basic requirement. Alex might hand to you.

 

Alex

Yes so I’m talking about the foundations of trust – how do you get this in place? You really need to start by going through a little bit of a checklist around compliance have you got your employment contracts in place, certifications, payroll and making sure your employees have access to that compensation? Are you aligned and within the guidelines of your modern awards and classifications? Clear policies and again making sure your employees know where to find them is really important especially as we’re working from home. Work Health And Safety – making sure that that still is important even though your employees are working from home. Security so reassuring employees where you can and being completely transparent where you can as well and communication which will come back to that.

I can’t emphasize communication enough during this time so just to highlight having employees gain access to all of those policies, documents and having the basics there again not knowing exactly who’s on the call, but to me, Employment Hero has always wanted to ensure that the average Australian Business has very easy access to the absolute essentials for establishing trust and compliance in their business and this is just a screenshot of the documents the templates the employment contracts that are loaded into Employment Hero for every business to access. These are also updated and amended and added to on a on a constant basis. We just firmly believe that everyone should have access to so at least the basics and that’s why we’ve put them into the platform and continue to add to them and update them.

 

Ben

I think just making sure if you put yourself into the shoes of a new employee, you can imagine for a moment that you’re onboarding somebody and just review the contracts that they’ll receive, the policies that they’ll receive, the processes that are used to manage them, and the systems that they’re given access to perform their role. Is there anything missing from that workflow, is there anything missing from the documentation, the basic documentation that there should be provided so it’s all in place if you review the workflow for a new employee, particularly one that’s coming into the business. If you imagine onboarding somebody remotely would they with that would you feel confident in their shoes that you’ve received everything you’re supposed to receive and that you have easy access to it as an employee so there’s no question mark in your mind? Something’s going on that you’re not aware of or it hasn’t been done correctly and then maybe Alex if you talk about what the HR calendar can look like in how you can deliver to employees in that way.

 

Alex

Yeah so by having that in place you’re really showing your employees that not only have you thought ahead but you’re taking away any anxiety or questions they have about what’s coming up next and so that might include performance reviews or check-ins which is the trend now moving more to quarterly and special events are you celebrating. Things like are you okay day and raising money for charities, that means something to your employees and you can still do that virtually and run those things training making sure career development it is key to what your managers are going through. A monthly or quarterly cadence with your employees and if you have an LMS system that’s a really good way remotely to be able to be supporting that as well as supplying employee assistance programs to your employees who might be going through some kind of mental health issues. Perhaps they’re feeling isolated. Your managers aren’t really equipped to deal with that, they’re not professionals – so having an EAP in place really allows you to provide that support for your employees to get access to a psychologist or someone professional that will help guide them through tools to deal with what they might be dealing with on a personal level.

 

Ben

Okay so beyond just having you know practical work in place how else do you build trust? It’s with communication and when working remotely the communication becomes even more difficult. This is a representation of how we communicate from human to human and when in front of people fifty-five percent of the way we communicate is delivered through your body language. When we are working remotely and not using video we’re relying on only half or less than half of the cues that we use to communicate. We really have to figure out how do we get the message across to people when we effectively have our hands tied behind our backs and can’t communicate in the most effective way. Would you add anything there Alex?

 

Alex

No, just think that’s an incredible 55 percent body language so again making sure you turn videos on and you’re looking out for facial cues so in a team meeting if someone’s not responding or not looking as though they are in fully present mode it’s definitely worth reaching out to them after the call just to check in and make sure they’re doing okay. Certainly personally from our business we have quite a number of expats and they’re really feeling the isolation because they’ve got families in countries that are really hard hit by COVID-19 and so making sure we’re checking in on those people is really really important.

 

Ben

I guess some so we might magically launch a poll – would you rate communication within your organization when working remotely and just when those results are coming in I think this has been my approaches the CEO of Employment Hero and I’m not sure that I’m doing it particularly well but I think and then something I frequently tell those people who are in our leadership team you know don’t feel as though you’ve communicated anything enough unless somebody has told you that you’ve over-communicated it and that you just need to basically shut up. I feel like that’s the one point where you really do know that you have communicated.

So most of those results are in I’ll end that and share it and you should be able to see on your screen. 34 percent of businesses on the call or people in the call believe that their communication is average and in fact and thankfully 46% of people believe that it is good so but very few believe it is excellent so definitely one of those areas that we know we have to work on anything you would add to them?

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Alex

No, but we’ve had a great question coming from Maria – have you got any tips on how to increase trust through communication if video capability is not there? Maria one of the fantastic things even though we do have Zoom and video, but one of the fantastic things that they started to do as the CEO when we pivoted was sending out a weekly video which you can do on your own iPhone as a business owner or you can use QuickTime on your computer and just that in-person communication rather than being an email – the feedback we got from employees was just overwhelming they absolutely loved the personal feel to it they loved the fact that Ben was vulnerable about the situation. That was going on that there was a lot of uncertainty and it just really really made a difference. I’d also urge you there are tools out there that you might not know you have. If you’re not on Google and you don’t have hangouts for example or you’re not on Slack and you aren’t able to do a video that way Microsoft has something called teams. I would implore you to look at that because you can also over-rely on emails if you’re working from home and teams, will allow you to engage in threaded conversations similar to Slack through the Microsoft Platform.

 

Ben

Okay cool there’s just a couple of questions here that that might be worth watching on as well have you got any tips on how to increase trust through communication if video capability is not there –  Maria asked that question and I guess one of the things that have come up for us is not that I’d be interested if you can raise your hand we can actually let you speak but we were looking at our products Employment Here and thinking how can we help people use that all better during these times and do we need to add video chat and it just it was pretty much obvious to most of us that there are so many avenues for using video chat I’ll find I have one meeting in Google Hangouts, I’ll have another call on Apple FaceTime I’ll.

I try to avoid typing because I find it takes too long to get my point across and so through slack I’m far more likely just to start a video call and then obviously Zoom is is almost ever-present, so there are at least four evident and also Whatsapp video chats as well as I would add so that I’m Probably using five live video chat platforms constantly throughout the day. We don’t really find that there’s any lack of resources freely or cheaply available resources to facilitate video chat, so Maria I’m just wondering why are there issues with communicating in the video in your organization? If you can tell us that I’d be interested to understand.

Another question is what are some tips to encourage people to turn on their video in meetings. We have several introverts that don’t like video calls and I think Bronwyn that’s a good point. We just directly ask them, people, to have their videos turned on I understand when you know in some places where you’re working with colleagues or flatmates or whatever in a small environment having the video one might be somewhat confronting or embarrassing but generally I think we get most people willing to turn the videos on. Alex, would you add anything to those two?

 

Alex

It’s a great question and you know we deal with the same with a lot of introverts in engineering and you’ve just got to ask them to turn their videos on and say to them I understand if you’re uncomfortable, you’re getting used to it over time and people do get used to it over time it’s just that adjustment of moving from phone calls to videos – but it’s a great question. We have another question here Ben which is from someone anonymous. My experience has been that the team is communicative however management always seems to say how little time they have they need to step up and make time without the excuses. It’s an important part of their role so my answer to that would be to take some of the stats from this presentation which will send out afterward and that’s around establishing trust and that you can’t over-communicate enough to Ben’s point earlier communicate until someone actually says to you shut up I get the message that would be my recommendation to make sure that management do. Even if you’re having to put it in their calendars to remind them to send out a video or if you’re still not on video then an email yeah.

 

Ben

I think whoever who made that comment you know it’s I’m not sure of your role in the business either but if you’re they have human resources or people in culture or even if you’re just a manager on the leadership team or whatever, if you can help leadership understand that they do need to take more time for that and you can help them develop a company rhythm which is what what we’ve been practicing alright we’ve been sort of using foreclosed to 20 years is this consistent rhythm through the group of companies that that just makes sure that there is no question over what’s being communicated and when and it’s on the screen there basically this is what we do on a constant basis you know.

We don’t really need to revise our purpose or vision or values or our BHAG frequently – that’s kind of set about once the decade –  once every five years it’s probably reviewed. Values we’d like to keep up to date a little bit more but generally were those things I sort of set and forget and just keep on reinforcing them annually really taking the time to with the whole company to look at our annual goals and our annual objectives and revising those quarterly. But sort of setting them and communicating them in a major way at least annually and then every 90 days without fail. We take the time to revise our objectives and our clear results for the quarter and launch a theme that is pervasive throughout the whole organization.

For this quarter is golden eagle taking turning a black swan into a golden eagle and we communicate and talk about those key metrics at least once a week but they are you know they were set at the start of the quarter and will be our number one focus for the next remaining days of the quarter monthly. We have our reviews our surveys our reporting that’s provided you know through from the leadership team all the way through to every employee in the organization and then on a weekly basis our managers are expected to have a one-on-one coaching call with their direct reports. There also we have a weekly All Hands on a Friday afternoon and facilitate that through Zoom with 180 people.

On a daily basis, every team has a daily cuddle. We have a number of teams that have daily targets and then we also have a social a regular social event every afternoon at 5 and another morning social event as well just a coffee on zoom’ or slack and then almost hourly where we’re making company announcements recognizing any achievements, anything that’s particularly funny or things that are going on around the organization. We’re just sort of keeping people across those and then minute by minute it’s just constant video chat and through slack communication. It’s you know very much a constant thing taking the time out to communicate. It doesn’t even sort of register because all we’re doing is it feels like all we’re doing is constantly communicating but I’m sure we could do more. Alex any comments on that?

 

Alex

Yeah, I think under reward and recognition and celebration we’ve really done a great job at Employment Hero of shifting to work from home and making sure that we are celebrating milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries as well as people hitting targets whether it’s implementations or our support team or our sales team. Making sure we’re just constantly communicating and recognizing those employees and reinforcing our values as well I think is really really important and something that I think we’ve done a great job of. That involves everyone kind of leaning into making a conscious effort to do that.

 

Ben

Lets just jump forward and maybe Alex you can talk through this three by four by three communication cadence sort of the way that we’ve approached putting all of that together

 

Alex

Yeah so we with leadership we do check-ins three days a week – Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday, but then we also have our weekly leadership team meeting on a Friday. Video messages from Ben come through once a week. In terms of company level communication, we have an All Hands every Friday, we have various slack channels at the company level so social chit chat is a really great one where someone will put in a funny YouTube video or a funny meme and people can just check that throughout the day when they want. We do Friday night zoom drinks after our All Hands and again that’s voluntary people can just dip into when they want to and when they feel like it gives especially people who might be in the difficult situation of sharing a house with a number of roommates who are all working from home. At a team level we do WIPs once a week or daily now – if daily keep it short you don’t want employees to feel like they’re being micromanaged so that’s just a short five-minute and here’s what I’m up to today. Cross-team catch-ups are also really important once a week for teams such as sales and marketing that might be working really closely with one another and very very reliant on each other and in terms of individuals for managers we have one-on-ones with their team members once a week and performance management quarterly. Check-ins are definitely best practices.

 

Ben

We had a question there from Chris who was keen to understand this between people using teams Google and Slack, so I’ve thrown that into another poll which I’ll launch now so Chris your wish has been granted. There’s a new poll up – which meeting software does your team use and I guess it’s the most interested to see how that comes back. While we’re waiting for that poll Ben, I’d love you to answer this question from an anonymous attending “what do you think the impact of working from home during coronavirus will have on the workforce going forward? Will remote working become more widespread?

Yeah it’s a great question and something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and I definitely think it will it will become more widespread. We’ve proven ourselves through this that you know working from home is doable and that you don’t have to sacrifice productivity to do it, in fact, you know our organization would I would argue that many parts of the organization, the majority of the organization is more productive or at least as productive working from home so why wouldn’t we lean in and let people do it as much as they can and we’ve now gone through this process of establishing a proper way of working from home. I do think that for us there will be a lot more working from home. On the other hand, you know I look forward to going back into the office and I know a lot of people who are looking forward to going back into the office and particularly the extroverts. I think a lot of us will we’ll get into the office and enjoy it as soon as we can but there will be overall there’ll be more flexibility on the other side of it is.

You know if people can work from home effectively and we know that they can, does that open up a massive opportunity to recruit more broadly recruit more widely and you know all of a sudden we’ve gone from a war from talent to an abundance of talent because you know the world is your oyster we can recruit from anywhere so I think it’ll be definitely interesting to see how it all plays out. I doubt we’ll all just go back the way we were. I think there will be a big increase and the amount of working from home once this thing is over. Anything else there Alex?

 

Alex

No no, I think that’s great we have another question from Stuart. Do you have any strategies on how to conduct one-on-one discussions with employees to check how they are going or coping without being intrusive? After this we will send out a one-on-one template. It’s really great to ask your employees on a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are they or are they performing at the top of their game at work and then also say to them you knowhow are you doing that’s not intrusive but be prepared to get an answer where someone might not be doing well and know that leaders and managers, we’re not professionals.

We’re Not psychologists and we might not have the tools to help those people so for people that aren’t doing well definitely suggesting that they join social chit-chats or virtual lunches and just start to get that social connection. I don’t like the word social distancing, it’s much better described as physical distancing because we do still need to make sure that we are making sure our people, especially in smaller teams, are reaching out and getting that social connection and it’s not intrusive to us to ask someone how they’re doing, especially if you’re picking up some of those are either verbal or facial cues where they might not be doing well or you might be seeing a shift in their level of energy for example.

 

Ben

Great question and the survey results are back. You would have already seen that Chris forty-five percent of people on the call are using Microsoft teams to communicate which is really interesting because I would have expected to see a lot more and on Slack, but it looks like Microsoft is still about that market share. I’ll stop sharing that and there’s a system before we come back to the slides there’s a couple of other interesting questions. One is easy to answer which we’ll come to in just a second which is – what are the all-hands? Basically an all hands is a weekly meeting where all of the company get together because we have teams offshore, we video conference in whether we were in the office, anyway but with you know basically covering a CEO update on how the company is going, what’s going on at a higher 10,000-foot level and then updates from individual teams. Welcomes and celebrations for new people and people celebrating achievements in the organization which is you know definitely the most fun part of the of the All Hands and just any other company announcements on. I think that’s some that’s a fair description of what our All Hands looks like.

The other way of just on that question that Alex Answered before around an easy way to check-in with people and understand how they’re doing the other way is through a survey and we launched our first survey last week and got some fantastic results the thing for me and it’s in the platform as a template survey that you can share within seconds with your entire company. It’s it really gave me some great insights to how people were feeling and one of them was that even though I felt like I had communicated that Employment Hero as a company is is going to get through this and people don’t need to fear.

There was a very particularly high level of anxiety around how people felt about the business and just weren’t feeling as confident as I felt that they should have so he gave me that feedback and the ability just to address that CEO level that you know we will get through this and the company you’ll be ok and I’m sure you know eight hundred and eighty thousand businesses have now applied for the jobkeeper payments so that’s you know that’s close to every there are any a million employers in Australia. Pretty close to eighty percent of all businesses in the country are applying for jobkeeper which means that almost every employee must be feeling fairly scared about how it’s going to affect them so communicating where the company stands and what the future looks like is definitely important.

Did you want to come back to the slide about the things that we’re doing because there are a few other questions how you get people more engaged and more motivated and I think some of these points address that.

Alex

Absolutely.

So again turning video cameras on back to Bronwen’s question earlier. Yes we have introverts, yes it can be hard to adjust to video but you just have to ask people to turn their cameras on. We use OKRs which are objectives and key results and what that does is align what someone’s working on to the company purpose and they’re able to check-in and go into our system and actually update them. Now if you don’t have Employment Hero – oh part of this boot camp is going to be us taking you through what OKRs look like and you do have the ability to set those up on your own. I mentioned before reward recognition and celebrations is really important to be doing that on whatever platform you’re using survey is listening to your employees is just vital. That COVID-19 survey was really quite eye-opening for us when the results came through and we saw how many employees were feeling really uncertain about the future. If you don’t have Employment Hero, you could just use Survey Monkey or Google templates to send out one of those surveys yourself.

We also have one-on-one templates which really help employees throughout the week take notes for what they might want to be asking you during a one-on-one and again asking that question how are you doing and making sure you’re asking that we’ve introduced themed All Hands which just shakes up your All Hands a little bit and makes it a bit fun whether it’s a dress-up headwear, wear your favorite sports teams outfit. We’ve found out that that’s been great and the daily virtual chit chat channel, so if people are in smaller teams and they’re not having that daily morning huddle it’s a really great way for people to just check in with each other sometimes people just drop in for literally five minutes to say hi and then they drop out because they’ve got another meeting. It’s just really important to have it there in the calendar so that people can have a laugh and a chat about their day or their weekend. We also have social sharing channels on Slack and you can use any medium to do this it just keeps things a little bit fun. We don’t have that camaraderie in the office anymore or that joking so it’s really important that you do have those fun and social pieces still happening.

 

Ben

That’s good thank you Alex. I’m just gonna really enjoy coming back to these questions somebody an anonymous attendee had said in a small company it made it seem invasive to have something like an all-hands. You know I can’t disagree more with that I actually think you’ve got this amazing opportunity as a small company to bring people together and have an all-hands more frequently more easily than any large company can and you don’t want to waste the opportunity of and the benefit of being small which is that you can communicate more easily and more frequently with every employee the business.

You can see their eyes, you can see the way they respond to what you’re saying and it’s yeah it’s one of the reasons that we started. I think one of the reasons we’ve been successful – there’s a group of companies with Employment Innovations and Power2Motivate and other businesses there that we’ve found it is is we started these processes really when we were really small and we maintained them consistently for 17 years and if we hadn’t started them when we were small, we wouldn’t be starting them now. So yeah take that opportunity to communicate more while you’re small. it’s your little secret advantage.

What level of increased management time has Employment Hero seen as a result of the changing in the working model to accommodate working from home? Personally, it would only be maybe an hour a week that I’m spending on management. I mean I always do my one-on-ones with my direct reports every week anyway so that’s not changed, but just providing more time to put together weekly video which is an overview of where the companies at and how people are doing. Taking the time to literally check in with people I know are dealing with particular issues from home or expats and just seeing how they’re doing that takes no time or very little time just to check in with people so I’d say it’s for me I’m not sure about you Alex but for me it would be less than an hour a week.

 

Alex

Yeah absolutely and for some of our team members with our bigger teams like support and implementations they most certainly have seen an increased level in time spent on managing the team and engaging with the team which is fine because what we’re actually seeing is that they’re able to think a little bit more strategically and start to delegate some more and really having a focus on how important their role as a manager is so it’s been a really interesting shift for those managers and they’re just doing absolutely amazing.

 

Ben

We’re building a platform that makes Employment Hero the best possible company it can be and so pretty much everything that we bring to the platform is designed to help people like you but also to help ourselves and this screen gives you an example of you know what we’re seeing on a frequent basis. You can see on the left-hand side there that has made two shoutouts to her team with just five minutes between them that is pretty consistent through our business all day long, not just John but every single person in the company capable of calling out and/or shouting out the assistance and the interaction that they’ve had with another team member and we’re encouraging that to happen on a you know minute-by-minute basis and it’s really engaging and exciting when you see those shoutouts coming through. We’re adding on we’re adding threaded chats to these as well so at the moment you’re limited to just you know doing a hand clap or something in response but very shortly you’ll be able to comment and keep the conversation flowing off the back of that you can see that the surveys up in the top right-hand corner once you launch survey and every person on the call who is a customer has access to the survey now.

We’ve upgraded all accounts to platinum features for the next three months so please take advantage of those and under that wellness, we’ve created this wellness center which has just been updated again today with another five articles around working from home mental wellness and financial wellness so we’re keeping that really fresh. This next screen is probably something we’ll spend more time on next week if with your input, if you think it’s a viable thing to be talking about but this is a new report in the platform that helps us understand what people are working on and how well aligned they are to their company’s major objectives.

So in the top left there you can see the number of employees that have set goals for this quarter that are related so okay as objectives basically and if you click on those colors you can actually see a list of the people who don’t have goals and follow up with them and they managed to ensure that they they do set them you can also see progress whether there’s been an update because it’s only the first couple of weeks the quarter most of our quarterly objectives haven’t been updated and then when they are updated you can see if they’re on track making progress or behind and then lastly, how well they align down the bottom left there how well they align to a company.

You could also because all of our goals in our business like a waterfall from top-down and bottom-up we can easily see with the people that were working on calls that align where the company wants to be going this type of reporting and that type of goal management process makes it a lot easier to trust people and a lot easier to communicate on the right things. So, Alex back to you.

 

Alex

Yeah, so I’m in terms of building a company rhythm just to make sure that again you’re checking in on this and the more frequently you get this cadence going the easier your leaders and your managers and your employees will find it. So review your communication systems can you communicate by a video effectively and frequently. A really good example is I think a lot of people don’t know how effective teams are if you’re on Microsoft so definitely get into that. You can also set up free Zoom account for up to 40 minutes and there was a question earlier around remote workers not having access if you set up a free Zoom account and they have an iPhone or Android it’s really easy for those people to log in to that zoom video meeting so you’re still effectively getting that up and running. There’s also the old-fashioned FaceTime.

We’ll send this deck out,  just going back to the the4x3 communication how often in your communicating and making sure it’s regular – please know when and what to expect and review your management check-in and goals so how frequently do managers actually check in with their employees on their goals is it part of their weekly one-on-one conversation and again we’ll send out a template and how do they coach and how do they sit and track goals so checking in with them and there’s some great free online courses through LinkedIn at the moment around working from home and coaching. We can probably send a link out after this to those free resources as well.

 

Ben

That’s great and I just while you were talking through that I was looking at some of these questions which are really relevant so we might we’ll come back to some of those questions. I just want to remind everybody but there are some like one of these questions here from anonymous attending is goal setting and reporting – do you have any examples of goal setting for teams and how you record and update these in meetings with employees.

Yeah, we use OKRs and next week’s session, if we get feedback to that supports this approach would be to really focus on how to use those OKRs, how to set goals, how to report on goals and how to how to keep people aligned. So we wanted to sort of dig into that next week but for the moment we use Employment Hero to do that and I just want to emphasize that Employment Hero is available to any business with less than 20 employees for free for the next three months. We’re also happy to offer it to businesses with more than 20 employees – you’re automatically upgraded for the first 12 months your first month is free if you’re a larger business if you are undergoing financial difficulty and you’re eligible for jobkeeper. Let us know, we’re more than happy to work with you and find a solution for your business.

Just mentioned that it’s the remote ready workforce offer if you do engage with us and would like access to the platform, so Alex I was just going to go to Isabel Roach ask the question where you can’t see the survey it’s actually moved so if you go to employment engagement down your navigation bar and click on that you’ll get to the happiness survey and then underneath that will be custom surveys and that’s where you’ll find the code as well as some other employee engagement customer surveys. There was a question about are you concerned about employees getting survey fatigue and an over surveying and I think that’s a fair question.

What we were doing and I gonna talk from personal experiences. We were running a single monthly happiness survey and that I felt was a little not frequent enough in this environment so we updated that to fortnightly I think. I started it was weekly but we went back to fortnightly and then we’ll we will run a another survey around just working from home and mental wellness etc once a month but I’ve been doing a fair bit of research and I think Alex has too over the last few weeks around the frequency of surveys and the best approach and I guess best practice and what we’re finding is that the more frequent the better, but the better as well so short sharp frequent questions that are easy to answer and they give you meaningful insight into how people are feeling and doing. It’s better to do that frequently in on the response then to do the traditional sport of enterprise approach of maybe an annual engagement survey with 150 questions that really you cannot address all of those questions.

This is something we are working on and you’ll continue to see come into the product but at the moment we would say probably once a fortnight for a surveys is I’d say appropriate would you agree, Alex?

 

Alex

Yes absolutely and it gives you time to action as well you can’t really action something in a week in terms of feedback that you might get,

 

Ben

Yeah, this is another slightly different topic here but really relevant questions I think we work on around literally around the clock, so the question is – do you know when you will have the job type of software ready for use in Employment Hero? We’re hoping for updates but we’re hoping to have that in that product by the end of this week – we can do it to build a new module that allows you to send out the form and receive it back within seconds but it is just taking us a little bit of time to finalize the development – so oh certainly by Friday but hopefully before. Any other questions there? Hi Ben Alex could you share some tips on how we could ensure that things are not over-communicated for example employers are keen to get every employee engaged thus they tend to involve employees in all cross-department settings? I noticed the trend that my peers tend to give feedback on the lack of communication across their teams however our team feedback is on over-communication as they are exhausted. For example they’re up to 7 video calls a day from that perspective.

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Alex

I would recommend that you have just one representative from a team joint across department meetings so one person from marketing might attend product for example and then they can read out to the rest of the team that way you’re not having your entire team attend every cross-departmental meeting.

 

Ben

Yeah, I agree. A good question here from somebody who’s dealing with you know as I mentioned upfront everyone’s in a slightly different scenario I mean most people most companies were dealing with a common scenario of having some people working from home but because of the way, this is sort of unfolded. Some companies have people working fewer hours and on rosters, so it’s harder to get people together in this case the Monika said – how do you keep your team engaged when you basically when you have a roster so it’s difficult to catch everyone at the same time and to that I would say, if communicating with the whole team is important to you then there are two things that do – number one is just recording a video update from the CEO or somebody who can put that together I’m just using your phone it takes a couple of minutes just to record a message that you want everybody to see and then sending that out through whatever the right communication channel is and then also just rostering a all-hands. I’m getting everybody together at the same time once a week or once a fortnight. If you can rustle them for an hour at the same time then do it it’s going to be well-received.

 

Alex

It’s also a really nice time to do it on a Friday afternoon even if someone has their day scheduled off. To Ben’s point record it or encourage them just to dial and it’s a really really nice way to finish the week and get you in that kind of mindset for the weekend and for clicking off. There was also a question in there regarding how to keep morale up when you’re standing employees down. You know that’s a really really tough one and that’s about encouraging your leaders to be vulnerable and transparent and that’s around acknowledging the fact that people are being stood down, give the rationale as to why and make sure you’re appreciating and thanking those employees who are being stood down and I’m sure that the business is also looking into jobkeeper and how perhaps they can get some form of income to those employees that are being stood down.

 

Ben

Yeah good point, so I’m just seeing a couple of fairly funny questions here which is why we were thinking of doing a sort of ‘why’ session on a Tuesday like we’re doing – why focus on trust, why focus on communication and then Thursday, how to use Employment Hero or some other mechanism to implement the why.

I’ve just in that one anonymous in attendee has accidentally the happiness survey with their entire company and can I reverse this?

No I don’t think you can. You’re gonna find out how happy or unhappy people are and I would encourage you to sort of turn that into something positive and then somebody else who can’t find the COVID-19 survey it’s not under my employee engagement section. Alex where would I find it?

 

Alex

It should be under there. That’s what we’ll be doing on Thursday is a really practical step-by-step guide to rolling out all of the things we’re talking about and just think showing how to do that through the platform so that we can help everyone on a one-to-many basis.

 

Ben

Any other questions that you wanted to address Alex or anyone on the call is there anything else you’d like answered?

There’s a great question that I’m sure you can answer. The question is regarding your comment on having a wider reach in recruitment we have been starting to do video interviews within recruitment. What is your opinion on whether you would hire someone just based on a video interview? Our approach so far is a video interview is more of a first-round interview, but still would like to a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager. Alex that’s common to us.

 

Alex

We’ve been doing video to hire people based on just video interviews. If you are absolutely determined to do a face-to-face I would recommend that you get permission from the candidate coming in that they feel comfortable coming in with social distancing and making sure that you have a disinfectant clean room and that you have your hiring manager and your distance. Though we’ve found the interviewing to be fantastic. Charlotte our Head of Talent Acquisition has been doing an absolutely incredible job and we’ve onboarded three people remotely since we’ve all been working from home and so far all feedback has been great both from our new employees as well as those managers that have taken them onto their team.

 

Ben

I think there’s also some great technology starting to be developed around testing remotely so before it was just the verbal and video interview but there’s some great products out there which I can share afterward that are starting to introduce much more effective real-time tests so that you can validate what people are saying.

 

Alex

We’ve got a question here from Cassie- Any tips on getting introverts to join the social side of working from home? It is a bit of a challenge and I just would urge you to nudge those employees – give them an example of you joining and how much you gained out of it and maybe examples as well of people that you’ve gotten to know over those virtual lunches that you may not have even engaged with in the office and that might really help them to join and understand that they don’t have to be particularly verbal during the lunch – they can just be there to join and hear from other people I think you know giving introverts that reassurance that they’re not going to be on stage and have to be out there entertaining everyone helps to give them a comfort level to join those kinds of social virtual things that we’re all trying to implement.

 

Ben

There’s a good question here from which are going I know is something that a lot of people are dealing with its – how do you keep people engaged when there’s nothing for them to do? From firsthand experience we’ve got some of those scenarios going on within the business and we’ve really moved people outside of their normal job scope to start working on things that they can actually help deliver so taking an assistant office manager and moving her into support just made sense. Alex any other things?

 

Alex

Have an open conversation with them give them the psychological safety to say I have the bandwidth, I can be put somewhere else and then have a chat to them around where are their skills are and where do they think they could align elsewhere in the company to make sure they are contributing? It seems like we’ve pretty much taken up most the time we had and we’re not getting any additional questions. Alex anything else before we finish up?

 

Ben

Well everybody thank you for joining us again today. We will continue to try and improve on the content and make it as helpful as we can for you so please let us know how we can help you otherwise. We will see you soon and we’re all in this together and it’s out pleasure to be finding new ways to help all of you survive and thrive during these difficult times.

 

Alex

Thanks everyone. I hope you found it really useful. We look forward to getting your feedback.

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