Adopting Agile Teamwork in Times of Crisis

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Ever wonder why do some teams consistently deliver high performance while other teams with similar setups struggle? Some important factors that determine a team’s success are their communication style, the personality of individual members, intelligence, talent, and the nature of the team as a whole. 

As work from home is becoming the new normal, there is an ever-increasing need for organizations to function in a manner that is not only supportive of business objectives but also one that induces strong teamwork. Times are changing and uncertainty prevails, there is a shift towards leaner structures and this calls for a change in the mindset. Leaner organizations may make greater demands on employees and are less likely to tolerate people who no longer precisely fit their requirements. The crisis has contributed to the creation and extensive use of virtual teams and it is no different fundamentally from traditional teams. Yes, there is a limitation of a certain degree of establishing a personal social interaction, however, technology has made it possible for us to operate as effectively in a formal set up. 

A small number of people working together towards a common goal constitutes a team. Flexibility, adaptability, and speed of response are the attributes that are innate in agile teams, and individuals will quickly need to adapt in order to be accepted in such dynamic teams. Agile teams are driven by the need to achieve and are likely to be proactive, they seek opportunities that encourage the development of their skills and use their abilities more productively. They have a considerable degree of autonomy, are self-managed, and are composed of individuals who are flexible, multi-skilled, and good team players. They plan with implementation in mind, identify how a strategy has to be converted into reality during the planning stage, and take steps to anticipate the problem statements involved beforehand. They understand that their work is interdependent and it is acknowledged by all members that the team will be able to deliver the results expected, only if they work well together and share the responsibility of their success and failures. They are not necessarily extroverts however they are comfortable approaching other people and they listen as much or probably more than they talk. They have short, engaging, and high energy conversations. After a task is done, they take a few minutes to reflect on what went well and poorly. They come together to share this information, perspectives, and insights to help each member do their job better and thereby help in increasing the overall performance standard of their group. 
They are aware of good practices that are normally followed, however they are not seduced by the notion that this must be universally applicable and easily replicated. They understand that “Best fit” is more important than “Best practice”. 

Agile teams focus on results and outperform individuals acting alone especially when a task requires multiple skills, judgement, and experience. Building Agile teams is a science that is still young and evolving however given the current situation there is an urgent need for organizations to transform quickly to improve long-distance work and manage cross-functional teams. This is the best way forward as it will enable businesses and individuals to be more adaptive, creative, and resilient when dealing with challenges and uncertainties that are not in their control.

WFH during Covid-19 outbreak

In the wake of panic and confusion over the Covid-19 pandemic, corporates around the globe have rolled out mandatory work from home practice for employees. The outbreak has resulted in the outset of remote working on a grand scale. The importance of Work From Home has never been more critical until now. It is not a new concept and has been adopted successfully by various companies around the globe since more than a decade. There might be some companies who simply do not have the option to work remotely, for those of us who do, should make the most of this opportunity by giving 100% to your work and being thankful to your employers. Here are a few tips that will keep you productive and help you deal with this situation effectively.

Get Organised – Keep your workstations as clean as possible and clear the clutter. A clean and simple work space will grant you more focus, peace of mind, and productivity.

Plan  – Plan your tasks ahead of time, before you start, chalk out the list of tasks you will be working on for the day. Schedule time slots for each activity, this helps you complete your tasks on time and reduces stress.

Communicate – Keep all your communication channels open example – internal employee messaging tools, email, video calls, Skype etc. This will create synergy between teams and workflow will be smooth.

Get Clarity – Have a clear understanding of what is expected out of you and deliver.

Set Reminders – Use reminder tools example calendars to prioritize your tasks.

Breaks – Prepare and follow a break schedule. Remind yourself to get up from your seat and stretch.Take that coffee break or anything that helps you keep a healthy mental balance.Stay hydrated.

Downtime – Once you are done with work, listen to your favorite song, maybe shake a leg and keep your spirits high. Exercise indoors to keep your blood circulating. 

Topmost benefit of working remotely is the flexibility it offers. Multitasking has never been easy and one can find the right balance between managing work commitments and personal responsibilities effectively. Individuals will find themselves with more time on hand since it eliminates your daily commute to work. It creates positive well being as more work is done and you still have time to spend with your loved ones.

Employers must give more autonomy to their employees and micromanage as little as possible for the setting to become successful. Employees should return the favor by engaging in behaviors that foster collective collaboration aimed at accomplishing business objectives.

Interdependence amongst business units could prove to be a challenge during such settings however if teams are well synergized and workforce is competent, work from home can benefit both the company as well as the employee. Every individual, team, business unit, work group must come together to ensure total performance of the organization is not impacted during such challenging times. The productivity of the organization is a function of the productivity of each of those individuals, teams and business units. Although productivity is a major concern for organizations right now, the ultimate deciding factor now is the dedication and commitment of your workforce that will pave the way for total performance of the organization.

We at Taglr would like to thank all its employees for their efforts and contributions and encourage you to stay Home, Healthy and Happy during such testing times.

Fostering a Healthy Work Culture

It is a fact that people do not do well in a command and control based environment. Without the right climate, quick fixes designed to improve employee morale such high pay packages are unlikely to make an impact on achieving overall company objectives. Any company can offer a better pay package, the only competitive advantage an employer can offer, that is unique, is its work environment. At Taglr, all employees are treated as mature adults and are given freedom and autonomy in their work. High trust workplaces are more likely to create high productivity. People who feel micromanaged are unlikely to be engaged in their work completely and feel demotivated. We at Taglr aim at providing a supportive climate and have enabled reasonable degrees of freedom and autonomy as we understand it is becoming more crucial to foster a win-win situation for employees and their employers. 

The idea is to give more responsibility to employees, most people will rise to the occasion and take it as an opportunity and a challenge to showcase their talent and abilities. Employers, in turn, will also be able to easily identify and manage such individuals. We at Taglr follow an Open Door Policy. Workplace formalities should be as less as possible, fostering an open door policy to create a healthy culture. Creating a scope for achieving a good work-life balance should be a priority example of providing flexible hours.

Well designed offices make a significant difference in how people feel about their work. Employers need to create a fun and challenging work environment in which employees have the freedom of taking initiatives that enable high performance and productivity. Employees find working with state of the art tools and equipments which are highly appealing and fun. Taglr has been providing its employees with the latest laptops, desktops, and systems that will go a long way in creating a healthy and motivating work environment.

One can never underestimate the power of quality work assigned to individuals in making them feel valued. For example, in IT firms, individuals working on cutting edge technology creates a high demand for its workforce. This, in turn, will make the employees feel valued and committed. Every employee working at Taglr knows what are their short term goals that will enable us as an organization collectively to achieve long term goals through well defined OKRs. Individuals must know what is expected of them and should understand how those expectations impact the overall objectives of the organization via Objective Key Results (OKR). Focusing on recognizing talent and providing career advancement opportunities to such individuals will help create a committed workforce. Honest feedback mechanisms should be used to raise and correct performance and fair rewards to be given to individuals who have delivered exceptional performance. Organizations need to be away from discrimination based on sex, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc while dealing with current or potential employees. Employers need to ensure that their policies and selection methods are unbiased and fair.

A healthy team is one in which individual members in a team cooperate with each other, act in a way to promote a friendly climate and resolve team conflicts. As a team member one should protect their group reputation with outsiders as well as their teammates. At Taglr we encourage maximum contact between managers, team leaders, and their members to achieve a mutual understanding of expectations and provide a means of two-way communication.

Need for Reward and Recognition (R and R)

R & R concerns with implementation and execution of processes that aim to identify and reward people fairly and in accordance with the value they create in an organization. Recognition needs are linked to the esteem needs mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Individuals need to know not only how well they have achieved their objectives but also that their achievements are appreciated. It creates a sense of confidence and commitment in the organization.
R and R helps in attracting and retaining a skilled and competent workforce thus making the way for identifying and managing talent. R and R sets the bar for performance standards and sends the right message of what is expected from employees in terms of performance as well as behaviour. It encourages individuals and teams to do the right thing by aligning company objectives with individual and team goals, thereby gaining their commitment and engagement. R and R not only supports the development of teamwork but also a performance driven culture. A good R & R process includes competence and achievement of objectives in performance management reviews so employees can focus with their managers on expected outcomes in performance and behaviour. An effective reward system rewards and recognizes people on the basis of their contribution to the organization rather than relying on promotions as a reward for their loyalty and service i.e. Rewards should be based on performance and not loyalty. It is important to remember one size won’t fit all. It is not feasible to create a set of rewards that is universally appealing to all employees. Hence reward systems should not be absolute and rigid. It needs to be customizable that fits with your culture and short/long term company objectives.