In this episode, we’re discussing some of the continuing frustrations and points of friction that persist in many hybrid work models. More importantly, we’re going to uncover some of the secret ways to find success in virtual spaces.
And who better to help break down the current state of hybrid work than JC Campese, Vice President and Market Manager at CMG?
JC provides so many amazing insights, such as:
- If you’re asking employees to change their work cadence, you better have a good reason “why”
- How, if you’re a manager, doing just an inch more than what your salespeople expect, either positively or negatively, will feel like a mile.
- And, finally, the importance of your most talented people understanding the value of “their seat on the bus”
Give Your Employees a Valid “Why” for Altering Their Work Cadence
“So, even though we're nearly three years past the start of the pandemic, I think so many people are still adjusting to either hybrid work or remote or kind of trying to figure out their way forward,” Beth says, kicking off the conversation.
“What are some of the greatest points of friction that you think people are feeling these days?”
“Great question,” JC says. “You know, we're all creatures of habit, right? I can remember it like it was yesterday... March 12th, 2020, when I stood up in front of our team and said, ‘we're going home.’”
“That was a Thursday. And I said, ‘I hope I get to see you Monday.’ Having no idea. None of us did, the amount of time and how our world would be changed.”
“And those first few weeks, I was fighting off people that were desperate to come back to the office. They could not wrap their heads around the fact that they could do their job without an office. Right?”
“Now, you fast forward a few years and there's several of those same people that say, ‘I don't need an office to do my job.’ Right? These are the same exact people who two weeks after we sent them home said, ‘Can we please come back?’"
“So, wow, what a change it's been in those three years. And we've all learned so many new skills: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, working from home, and StreamYard, which we're on right now. You know, this world that has just changed and evolved and in a lot of ways made us better.”
“The friction comes with people, especially in the sales arena that are truly independent contractors in their mind, they feel they own their business, and they do in a lot of cases. And if they feel their business is progressing at the rate that they would expect and that gives them fulfillment, then why change their cadence? Why have them do something different?”
“My biggest thing on going hybrid is if you're asking them to change again in their cadence, you better give them a very valid ‘why.’ What is their ‘why?’”
“Why do I need them here at 8:30 am on this particular day, but on the next day, I don't? Tell me what's the difference between Monday and Tuesday besides I have to dress both on top and bottom and come into the office. You know, ‘You waited until the gas prices went up. Now you want us back?’ You know, those types of lines.”
“So, you have to give them a valid ‘why,’ because they have every right to ask that question. They have reshaped the way in which they do their job. And for them to come into the office, or like I said, just change their cadence at all, there has to be a valid ‘why.’"
“We've worked really hard, all of us, on making sure that there's a reason why they get more out of being here when it's their time to be here, and that we're doing everything we can for them when they're not right in front of our face.”
Hybrid Can Offer the Best of Both Worlds... When Managed Correctly
When asked about the benefits he sees from adopting a hybrid work model, JC doesn’t mince words, “If it's managed correctly, it just offers the advantages of both worlds, right? If it's mismanaged, it can easily become the negative parts of both worlds.”
“So, let's keep it simple for a second, Beth. I mean, seriously, there are pros to working from home for people. There were pros to being in the office. Let's extrapolate those pros on both sides and put them together.”
“It's not really hard if we just say, ‘What's the best part about working from home?’ And then we do as much as we can to nurture that.”
“Just like talent, you concentrate on their strengths. So, we got to concentrate on the strengths of their working environment. There are some positives to the work-from-home model. What are those? Make sure you understand them and maximize them.”
“And what are the positives of being in the building? Maximize them. The positives of being in the building are pretty obvious. If you have a good culture, it's the camaraderie, it's the idea sharing. It's ‘the best idea happens in the hallway, not in the meeting,’ right? I mean, that one great idea that happens because someone said, ‘Hey, man, how was your weekend?’ And someone said something, and then all of a sudden you started talking over coffee. And that doesn't happen, you know, in the Zoom/Teams world. It just doesn't.”
“But the flexibility that the home office offered people, how can we still maximize that? And so we let them enjoy that time.”
In both cases, if they're here, you know, it's an environment where it's very inclusive. We have a lot of voices. We're not talking to them. We're talking with them. We're sharing conversations. We're hearing from them.”
“I had one of our sales members who was my most against coming back to the office, and he told me his litany of reasons why he told me that while in the office. And, we sat in a sales meeting and someone brought up a challenge.”
“He said, ‘I have a point to make on that.’ And for a minute and a half, he shared a real-life experience that helped that other person, but it also helped the other 14 people or so that were in that room. And I was quick enough to record it.”
“At the end of the meeting, I called him over, I said, ‘Hey, man, let me show you this video.’ And he looked at it, I said, ‘You wouldn't have spoken up on Teams. They would not have learned from you. You would not have helped them. And you actually probably feel pretty good about helping them today, don't you?’"
“He said, ‘Yeah, it almost empowering to help somebody. It's been a while.’”
“I said, ‘That's why I need you here.’ We found his "why" - he can offer more to the team, and he gets that fuel when he does that. He couldn't have done that behind a screen. That's just not who he was. So it's finding those individual strengths, I think is super, super important.”
“And the benefits multiply on their own. It's really simple. Find the best part of each [model] just like talent. And maximize the heck out of it.”
Advice for Managers Resistant to Hybrid Work
“So, what would you say, what would you tell managers who are uncomfortable or resistant to letting their employees work from home most of the time?” Beth asks. “Or, what are your thoughts on this at all?”
“I would start with a simple question for that manager and ask them, how do you define success?” JC says. “What does success mean? Does it mean seeing your whole team every day? If that's success for you, then they need to be in every day.”
“I don't measure success by seeing people every day. I love seeing them. And I think we've created a lot of reasons for them to come in. We have people here every day. We're slowly, it feels like morphing a little bit out of hybrid because people are feeling the energy and enjoying being back in the flow."
“But I would start with, 'How do you define success?' And, you know, when it comes down to those results. Isn't that what it's about? I mean, isn't it about the results?
“If the only way you can have success is by seeing your team on a daily basis, as a manager, honestly, I'd question the management. Because I think we've proven the best rise when times get tough. So, we've all had to make some challenging decisions during the last three years. We should be set up with the best team, a team of all-stars by this point. And you work with them to help them get the success that they need out of their career, and therefore you'll get the success.”
“Now I need to see people, you know, face to face. I challenge them to see their clients face to face. Why? You get more from it. You get more ideas that are generated. There's more relationship-building that happens. The depth of that meeting is measurable compared to a video call, in my opinion."
"But, ultimately, define success. And if you are hitting your goals or over-achieving your goals and your team is happy, whatever that model is, makes sense. Look, we all remember the days that it used to be, especially in sales, ‘I don't want to see you in the office. I want to see you in the morning, and I want to see you at the end of the day, but why are you here during the day? You should be out making calls.’”
“And now it's like, ‘Come back to the office, we need to see you.’ But that's not what it was before. We didn't expect them at their desk all day.”
“So, it's just understanding, measuring success, and I challenge managers that say the 'only way to do it is if they're here and I see them first thing in the morning.' I mean, I don't believe that.”
Make Sure Your Employees Understand the Value of “Their Seat on the Bus”
“What would you recommend to teams who feel as though their company culture is lacking in a hybrid environment and that the hybrid environment is causing the culture to be less vibrant?” Beth asks.
“We did a meeting that was all only about culture. And it wasn't an hour-long meeting. I took them offsite. They thought it would be a 2023 planning meeting, a strategy meeting. And one of the books I had that I quoted from, and then gave them a copy of, it's called Soup. And it's all about the special ingredients it takes for a culture.”
“And we always say here that there's just something different at CMG, there's something different in Orlando. What's our special ingredient? And I would tell those that are struggling with it to literally take the time. They should work on it. It's amazing what happens if you actually concentrate on things, you know?
“And then once you make those decisions about what you can do to better your culture, you're going to get feedback. People love to talk about what they want at their job. You better do it, and you better stay consistent. Don't do one-offs. Don't say, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ on a Monday. And the next time you see them, walk right by them.”
“Care about them. Genuinely understand what their goals are. The Growth Guide, take the time to do that again. People have changed over the last three years, some minor, but some major. What you thought worked before might not work for that individual.”
“As a management team, be ultra-aligned. Outline what you're going to do. I could tell you right now what our town hall's going to be about in November of this year. Now, we are going to add things to it as the year goes on, but we know the theme already because we've spent the time to work on our culture.”
“Get feedback, create an environment where those that you see who are going to be the next leaders have a seat at the table and help them contribute to your culture. Trust that they're talking to you because it means something to them. And then, but if you still have a hybrid, don't be afraid as the manager, to see if it's okay the way those guys are doing it outside of the building.”
“I'll tell you a quick story. So, around Thanksgiving of 2020, we delivered pies to every employee face to face. And did we have a message? Yes. On top of the pie, it said, ‘Let's get a larger piece of the pie next year.’ It was to visit them. I wanted to see them. I wanted them to feel that we had their back, that we were doing even more than they could have thought of to help and support them.”
“You know, if you're their manager, if you do an inch more than what they expect, it feels like a mile to them. And if you do an inch less, it feels just as long. Like, another mile the wrong way. All you have to do is a little more than what they expect, and you can help build that culture.”
And to wrap up the conversation, Beth asks, “If you could wave a magic wand, you can fix one thing related to hybrid and remote work, what would that be?”
JC responds, “It's imperative that you have the right people in the ‘right seats on the bus,’ as they say. And it's just as important for them to understand the value of that seat.”
“Because if there are less seats in that bus, there's more value to each seat. So, it's not just getting the right people on the bus in the right seats, it's making sure they understand that value and make sure you're giving them that all the time. The best want to be surrounded by the best.”
“So if I have a magic wand, my magic wand brings out a sales team full of Michael Jordan's, and a team full of Magic Johnson's, and it makes my life easier where I'm walking around high-fiving and the best. But that can't happen. So I would say just make sure that you work hard every day to ensure that your most talented people understand their value on your bus and that they don't ever come to work wondering where they stand, what the goals are, and what the mission is.”
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