Updated: 05 June 2023 – It’s been over three years since much of the previously office-based population of the UK started working from home or taking a hybrid approach – with some days in the office and some at home. Hybrid working may not last forever, especially as more and more young people at the beginning of their carers join the workforce and want the human interaction that was once taken for granted. However, this digital workforce is clearly here to stay for the medium term.
No matter where you are working, we are mostly dependent on digital tools to keep facilitate our work. I mean, we are pretty used to it by now as well. However, we can find ourselves a bit lost without normal leadership styles, right? After all, how does one enforce assertiveness over a digital workforce?
Or let us say if you are the friendlier type, how do you show compassion or understanding to your digital team! We can understand that you can tend to lose your leadership style in this hybrid working environment, but this is where we come to help you. We asked a number of leaders from the SEO consultancy firm Ditto Digital, the business mentoring experts at Eric Land Mentoring and small business coaches at Problogineer.
Their views were all broadly similar so we have compiled them into 6 leadership tips for you to incorporate in your digital workforce management.
1. You Need to Let Go of Traditional Methods
Many of us are sticklers for our routines and our way of doing things. Unfortunately, this digital transformation cannot let us do that. So you need to get out of your routine and adapt to new ways of doing things.
Moreover, The rise of the Millennials has made the digital workforce common. So, you need to keep up as well and adapt to the tools of mobility. Today, young employees care less about their work titles and parking space, but they are more interested in flexibility and how they can be more invested in the company and have a voice in the important decision-making process.
2. Make a Digital Workforce Management Strategy
When working in a digital or hybrid working environment, you need to first have a strategy. This strategy needs to highlight the goals, scope, vision, tools, roadmap, etc. for your team. The only different thing is, it needs to incorporate the understanding that your team will be working in a digital environment.
You need to be very clear in communicating to your team what tools will they be using, how will they be progressing and report updates, etc. You can use various software for this purpose. Also, various software companies in UK are offering services like forming your digital workforce strategy for your company, provide training workshops with new digital working tools for your team, etc.
3. Adapt To the New Technology and Be Flexible
Adapting to the new ways of working is the biggest challenge for the company. As a leader, you need to talk to your employees, make them understand why it is important, how the change will happen? What benefits will they get with this new way of working? Etc
When a change occurs, a lot of companies have a change management team or department that takes care of all these details but, if you are a small company, you will need to see to it yourself.
Another thing you need to take care of as a leader is that you need to be flexible. You cannot focus on how much time your employees took on lunch break; instead, focus on whether your employees can complete their work on time, if they are facing any difficulty, etc.
4. Choose A Tools You Are Comfortable Working With
A lot of companies gave laptops and cell phones to their employees to facilitate online working. As a leader, what you can do is, give your employees the option of working from the gadget they are comfortable with.
New cell phones and laptops require a lot of installing, updates, etc. While the productivity rates are higher for employees if they are comfortable with the tools they are working with.
A lot of companies have adapted to BYOD (Bring your Device) policy in this digital/hybrid working environment.
5. Ensure Effective Communication
Communication remains a key factor for effective leadership. So do not lose your leadership style in the way of this digital transformation. Your employees and team need your confidence and your guidance now more than ever.
Why? Because change is difficult, and everyone is afraid of change. This is where, as a leader, you need to tell your company you‘ve got this! And inspire that changing will only benefit the employees more than before.
6. Hire Flexible and Fast Learners
A lot of employers at the time of the interview ask this question, “Are you a fast learner? Give us an example!“ There is a reason why companies look for this trait in the employees they are hiring. And the reason is when the time comes for changes, will the employees be able to adapt as quickly and efficiently as possible, or will you have to face employees resisting the change.
A lot of employees who couldn‘t adapt to the digital transformation in the covid times were let go! This is the truth of this world; with it constantly evolving and coming up with new tools and gadgets every day, we need to adapt to new ways to make the most of it.
If you have read the hint that we listed down above, you are good to go and lead your team in the best possible way. Just one more suggestion, being human and understanding is the key to leading successful team projects.
Leadership is not an easy task; it is not just giving orders and bossing around. It is making sure your employees are working well towards their goals and are being productive. It is also to ensure they are happy and well assimilated in this new digital workforce management. Because only if your employees are happy will they lead your company towards success.