Reflections of an Investors in People Practitioner during Covid-19

Investors in People practitioners are expert consultants with a passion for driving positive business outcomes through effective people management. When we work with an organisation to gain or maintain their accreditation, it’s the practitioner that analyses the outputs of the survey and spends time talking to people across the organisation, to produce an action plan for the business to work with.

Here’s an insight in their own words on how their work has changed during Covid-19…

Going virtual

Back in March 2020, in common with the general working population, Investors in People Practitioners were faced with the need to adapt very quickly to an unprecedented set of circumstances. Up until that time the assessment process was firmly grounded in us being able to come into your workplace to collect insights and evidence.  Face to face meetings with senior leaders, one to one interviews with your people and planned observations to capture real, live practices were what we knew and loved. Almost overnight this was no longer an option. We had to practice what we preach i.e. be agile, go virtual, up skill, set new targets and expectations, communicate better, look after our wellbeing, stay optimistic and embrace the positives. Oh yes, and stay solvent! Here’s what we learnt from this…

What changed most?

  • Forming the personal connections virtually that had previously been made through face to face interactions. These are something we highly value as Practitioners
  • We had to find new ways to pick up the informal, yet insightful opportunities that give us a better sense of who you are and what your people feel about working for your organisation – for example walking around your workplaces, reading noticeboards, observing behaviours during team meetings and picking up on the natural buzz
  • Good coffee. Our clients often have great coffee machines!

What have we gained?

  • Improved IT skills and mastering zoom in particular!
  • Privileged access to your peoples’ homes and personal work situations. This has, in many ways, provided us with deeper and more meaningful insights about how they feel about your organisation
  • A sense that we are seeing humanity in the workplace at its very best right now
  • The unique timing of assessments undertaken during this period has told us a lot about how well their organisation has adapted to change and uncertainty
  • The chance to test out how relevant and accessible the Investors in People Frameworks and assessment process are in these most challenging of times. Great news; it is even more relevant and impactful!
  • A whole new wardrobe of ‘loungewear’.

What have we learnt?

  • Our clients are exceptionally agile and have responded remarkably quickly and effectively to new ways of working
  • It is has been heart-warming to hear how our clients have put the safety and wellbeing of their people on the top of the organisational agenda. You have been truly awesome!!
  • Compassion, empathy and understanding go a long way in driving engagement, maintaining commitment and gaining the loyalty of people. There is no doubt that organisations will be judged by how well they have ‘behaved’ as well as what they have achieved during this period
  • Most people at work do not want to revert back to previous ways of working
  • People have proved that they don’t need to be micromanaged, trust is a powerful thing. We should judge outputs/results and not time spent on tasks or ‘in the office’
  • That it may be time for a ‘reset’ in terms of organisational purpose, values and behaviours

Some recommendations for organisations based on our experience…

For your people;

  • Leaders are people too and also need compassion and support, particularly during these times of uncertainty. Reach out to them and let them know when they are getting things right for you
  • You need to take full advantage of the many resources your employer is offering you i.e. learning and development, wellbeing etc. It’s a joint responsibility and definitely in your short and long term interest to make time for accessing what is on offer
  • Provide constructive feedback and thoughts to your leaders about what you think your organisation needs to do to survive and thrive. Communication is a two way process
  • Be thankful for how your organisation has supported you in so many ways during Covid and the difference this has made to your life.

 

For senior leaders;

  • It’s OK to show vulnerability. These are exceptionally scary times. You don’t have to have all the answers although asking the right questions is important
  • Being a compassionate leader is probably one of the most important things you can do right now. You have a unique opportunity to connect with all your people in a much more personal and meaningful way during this pandemic. Capitalise on this unwelcome but precious opportunity
  • Reflect on what lessons you have learnt from this imposed period of change; what do you plan to let go of, amplify, start, and continue as a result of this period?
  • What new capabilities do you and your people need to start developing to feel ready for what’s ahead and how are you planning to do this?
  • Are your organisational values still fit for purpose? Would be useful to revisit these to make sure they reflect who/what you are/aspire to be as a business.
  • Consider further how to provide opportunities for virtual and, when possible, face to face opportunities for your people to socialise, chit chat and re connect. They are missing this.

 

For Managers;

  • Keep communicating. Your people really value the more regular team and individual ‘check in’s’ that have taken place during Covid
  • Continue to care about the ‘whole’ person and not just the work persona
  • Look after your own wellbeing
  • Use this opportunity to encourage your people to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours they will need in the new reality. Also invest in your own development
  • Reflect on what you have learnt as a manager. What has worked most effectively in terms of getting the best from each and every one of your team during this period? Do more of these things. What no longer works? Stop doing these things.

 

If you’ve found these insights helpful and would like to work with one of us on supporting your people and driving improvements in how they are led and developed, get in touch!