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Managing the Social Network of Employees

Updated: Apr 3

Some interesting challenges due to the new normal of working from home that we’ve heard from clients and our network across industries

1. The experience of working from home is great and refreshing, but we end up spending more time doing work related tasks

2. Managers seem to be stretched out ensuring their teams are working productively. They are asked to churn out lot more reports justifying their teams are working

3. Some are eagerly looking forward to hang out with their colleagues. They are beginning to feel lonely

4. Management teams, having made all the effort to move work home are not in a hurry to bring employees back to office for at least another 2 months

5. Managers have better visibility on their teams in terms of who is really productive

While these challenges are not uncommon, what can be done about it? The pandemic hit us all like a tsunami. But we can do a few things to adapt and prepare ourselves for the new world order.

Managing the social network of employees

With the pandemic forcing everyone to adapt to a Work-From-Home routine, employees see themselves as a social network with “many-to-many” relationship rather than “one-to-one” employer-employee relationship. Building Trust across this social network is therefore paramount. To build Trust, it’s important to unlearn micro-management, learn transparency, encourage psychological safety and foster accountability. The Leadership teams should demonstrate the new culture as new ways of working. This is one viral spread, your employees would want more of!!

Influencing the social network

Sustaining and Guarding the culture is as important as creating one. Identifying the Guardians and enabling them to help the social network of employees is an important aspect of sustenance and enabling the company to grow. The Guardians are not the trusted lieutenants of the Top Management concentrated at the HQ, but individuals who rise from the social network to “Coach” and “Evangelise” the Company culture. They are active “Influencers” of the social network spread across homes, remote locations and whatever is left of the office spaces.

Profit to Purpose

The fact that companies generate revenues and profit is known to all employees. Most leaders typically spend a lot of time sharing such updates in their employee communication. Townhalls are now virtual and face-to-face meetings are video calls. The internal communication strategy needs a thorough overhaul. The social network today really wants to understand what binds everyone to the network. Why does this network exist and what do we stand for. How are my personal interests aligned with that of the network. Companies therefore need to think really hard on how they keep their social network intact. One important way to do it is to turn the focus from Profit to Purpose. Companies with an impactful “Purpose” are extremely successful in expanding their social network to include partners, suppliers and clients. Such companies grow exponentially and handle challenges with ease. That’s the power of the network!!


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