A quick guide for managing, motivating, recruiting and onboarding teams during the current situation

Ashby Jenkins

We have all moved into an unprecedented way of working in the last few days and to have to adapt your approach to managing teams as well as adapting to the constantly changing information in the news, can seem daunting. I set up this business to genuinely support the charity sector so after a few days of speaking to my clients I wanted to bring together a few tips and bits of advice that can help you lead teams remotely.

Managing:

This part is essential and as such can be taken for granted, it’s during times of challenge that leaders can shine and you will build loyalty from your teams that can yield fantastic results.

  1. Don’t hide – yourself or changes, you need to be present on emails, phones and meetings but this also goes for not hiding changes that are happening, if an event or campaign is being cancelled keep people informed. Rumours cause panic and things always spread faster than expected
  2. Be mindful of the mental wellbeing of your staff, human contact is really important, so setting up “Cuppa breaks” where you all sit around just chatting for 15 minutes on non-work issues will minimise the feeling of isolation. Encourage staff to build daily routines, do exercise and to let you know if they are struggling emotionally
  3. Stick to 121s and BAU meetings, do this as much as possible, people need consistency
  4. Utilise modern technology, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and Microsoft teams are great for Video meetings. Use Yammer for quick interactions. Trello or Monday are great for monitoring workflow – all of these platforms have short, how-to, YouTube videos.

Motivating:

Day one, two and even three of working from home is great! Getting out of bed an hour later, working in pyjamas….it’s all wonderful. However, loneliness can kick in quickly and motivation can wain when you are only able to move from one room in your house to another.

  1. Be human – we are all anxious, no one knows what is happening one day to the next and uncertainty makes us all nervous. Be honest with your team, they don’t need someone stoic or someone who is only feeding them pure positivity they need to relate to you now more than ever
  2. Praise successes and adaptability – has someone come up with bold new ways of working? An event can be turned into a digital fundraiser? Make sure you aren’t too caught up in the negativity to take small or large wins and shout about it with your teams
  3. Communication – the larger you are the more people will feel the silence, daily updates are vital, make sure you have round-up emails at some point in the day across the organisation, individual teams should have their catch ups via video meeting daily, aim to respond promptly to internal messages so people know you are there
  4. Trust – make sure your teams know they are trusted, when people are a little nervous feeling like they are being micromanaged is only going to make them worse, also there are probably other more important ways you can spend your time

Recruiting:

Yes, the world does still tick over and roles need to be filled. Remember that many sectors only ever do Skype interviews and some people don’t meet their managers in person until a month or so into a role. Here are our top tips:

  1. Interviews – All interviews should be conducted via Skype until we are encouraged to get back into our offices
  2. Tests – You can still conduct timed written/excel tests. To do so schedule time in, send the test and tell the candidate what time they need to email it back.
  3. Rapport building – After your Skype interviews have a quick 15-minute phone call with the candidate you are keen on, use this time to build a more natural rapport that might be difficult if relying on an internet connection
  4. Presentations – You can still ask people to prepare presentations just be prepared to not have that person standing in front of you to deliver

Onboarding:

This element is really testing people’s creativity but here is what some of our clients are already doing for new starters or what we are suggesting:

1.   Before start – Not everyone has a scanner but everyone has a phone, take photos of documents and email so that paperwork is signed and shared properly

2.   Day 1 – start with a 121 with the line manager, outlining the induction plan etc. Then move into a broader team meeting and 121s with individual team members so that everyone gets comfortable with one another

3.   Day 1 and 2 – For the broader department use Skype/Zoom/Microsoft teams for introduction meetings with each team within the fundraising/comms/finance department as if everyone was in the office

4.   Ongoing – Setting up a Microsoft Sharepoint as a resource area so that people can access training activities, information about the charity and internal documents

5.   Ongoing – Remember that new starters might be shy about asking for people’s time so over-plan to video-meet with them so that they have space to ask questions

6.   Week 1 – Set KPIs of what you want learned and achieved in the first and second week and keep track of that using Trello so that you have visibility

Look, none of us can deny it, this situation is far from easy however hopefully the above tips from other charities can help you. I’m always happy to have a quick chat or facilitate introductions to other Directors, Heads or Managers across the sector if you are feeling isolated.

You can reach me on [email protected] or 02030 062787.