Building Powerful Teams: Fairness Webinar Highlights

On September 14th Hanson Search’s Founder and CEO Alice Weightman hosted the first webinar in a three-part series centred around building more powerful teams.

The focus of session one was on Fairness, and Alice was joined by Andrew Manasseh, Founder of Formative Communications, Effie Kanyua, PR & Comms Director at Hearst, and Helen Dunnett, Coach & Trainer, to discuss their experience in attracting and retaining powerful teams.  

What are the key ingredients for building powerful teams in this post-COVID, hybrid working world?

Playing to people’s strengths and blending them to make a cohesive unit is key in building a powerful, harmonious team. In offering training and support for individual areas of development we can make those teams stronger and harness the talent that we have within businesses.

Managers and leaders have had to learn to be flexible with their teams over the past 18 months and recognise that every individual is dealing with different circumstances and pressures. Putting people first and keeping them motivated has been – and should continue to be - a big priority for businesses.

How do you stimulate creativity and keep your teams motivated when you’re physically apart/not in the office?

Reminding employees of the importance of their work and the impact which it is having on the business is a great way of keeping teams motivated. Diversity is also integral to stimulating creativity because you need a diverse range of opinions to have a successful and productive workforce.

Covid has taught leaders and managers that they need to be regularly checking in with employees – and that needs to go beyond the pandemic. The welfare of employees has become a bigger priority for businesses; it’s no longer just about business performance but employee performance and engagement too.

Has the pandemic brought a change in leadership communication – what are the best practices?

Organisations have certainly recognised the need for greater investment in internal communications and the fact that they need to communicate with employees more frequently. Introducing the right measures and strategies to support all employees’ mental health has been a big priority for businesses.

The onus is generally on leaders to demonstrate strength and resilience, but this has worked both ways for teams during the past 18 months. The global pandemic has been a very human experience that has often brought teams closer together.

When you’re not in an office environment communication can be challenging – how can we overcome this?

It’s easy for some voices to get lost in virtual meetings and for certain voices to dominate the conversation. Listening twice as much as you speak is a good metric to work to if you’re chatty. It’s also important to ask good questions and really engage with the discussion and hear the responses of others.

A challenge of virtual communication can be that people don’t want to deal with conflict or to criticise over Zoom and, therefore, issues aren’t tackled straight away. How can leaders overcome this?

Avoiding loaded questions and instead asking open questions to encourage people to talk is a good practice for managers. If leaders can come from a position of empathy where they believe that everyone is doing their best with the tools and the knowledge and the current self-awareness they have, this will help to minimise conflict. Fostering environments where people can fail and learn from mistakes is really important in helping to avoid a culture of blame – constant feedback and dialogue is so much more helpful in employee development.

As we're moving into more hybrid worlds, it’s advisable to pick your moments where you do know that you're going to be with people – having an informal chat about an issue is often much easier over a coffee than via a scheduled Zoom meet.

What are the best practices for diversity enhanced search?

When you have a diverse workforce, you have the advantage of having lots of different ideas from lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds, which ultimately make you more productive as a business.

It’s up to all of us to start holding businesses to account and to keep asking questions and pushing for greater diversity. The onus is on everyone within the business to make it a better place to work, but also to produce products or provide services that cater to a wider and more diverse audience. We also need to get away from diversity being something that we suddenly remember around pride or around Black History Month – it must be ingrained in everything that we do and be across every area of the business.

More focus often needs to be put on investing in the talent that businesses have already and growing those people. There is a real opportunity to take talent from different areas and skill them up to fill leadership roles - and to ultimately get them into boardrooms.

How do businesses motivate an exhausted workforce?

Understanding the way that people want to work and being accommodating of that can really help in the motivation and retention of an exhausted workforce. The opportunity to work flexible hours now ranks higher than salary and benefits in terms of what individuals are looking for in their next job. A recent survey suggests that only 3% of individuals want to go back to an office full time and 30% of workers are seeking jobs based purely based on flexibility. If businesses aren't recognising or responding to this shift, then they could be in danger of losing some great individuals.

Managers need to be regularly checking in with their teams and being genuinely concerned about welfare - have people taken a lunch break and left their screens? People need to know that they have permission to step away from their desks!

Creating a context that interrogates what the team wants to create next – rather than dictating it – will help to ensure buy-in from all stakeholders.

On 2nd November 09:00am GMT/ 10:00am CET, we will be hosting the second part of the series, focusing on Trust. The topics up for discussion in this session will be:

  • How to measure the level of trust
  • How to build trust in this hybrid world
  • What are the warning sights of lack of trust
  • What are the positive indicators of trust within a team

This panel will be chaired by Alice Weightman, founder, and CEO of Hanson Search, who will be joined by Helen Dunnett, Coach & Trainer at Maxett, Belgium; Elvira Eilert Pignal, Managing Director at Teneo, France and Dean Aston, Senior Director and Global People Partner at Babylon Health, UK.

This event is free to attend, register now: 


Posted on 20.10.2021

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