A lot of people feel totally disconnected from their colleagues and peers right now.
There are several factors at play here.
First of all, remote work arrangements naturally put physical and figurative distance between us. The informal, casual interactions we used to have when we consistently shared the same physical space are missing.
We can try to simulate this socialization by asking everyone about their weekend at the start of a ZOOM call, but it isn’t the same.
Secondly, a lot of turnover is happening at the moment. That is why 2021 is being called the Year of the Great Resignation.
As a result, even if you are the most senior person in your department, the new faces around you may make you feel like the new kid on the block.
Similarly, as people change, so do systems. New hires start and old processes are adapted. Or in some cases, forgotten entirely.
If there are more new hires starting than established colleagues sticking around, the processes and procedures are likely to be impacted.
What can we do to cope?
How can you ensure the reputation you’ve worked so hard for over years is maintained?
Given the upheaval that’s occurred over the past 18 months, it would be well worth it for companies to re-on-board everyone.
Short of doing that, here are a few ways you can re-establish your own standing within the organisation and help mentor new hires in a way that stimulates cohesion:
- Find ways to establish connections.
If you feel separated or that the group is divided, how to do you think the rookies are feeling?
Establishing connections doesn’t have to be overly involved or difficult.
Make a point to say, “Welcome” to new colleagues. Take it a step further by offering to show them the ropes and asking if they have any questions.
Before worrying that you have to “babysit,” remember this:
If new employees don’t feel a connection with someone at work, chances are high they will leave.
People hired immediately before or during the pandemic may not have been fully integrated into the team due to the sudden work from home orders. As a result, many have since left those jobs.
If you don’t want a revolving door of new hires in, and then out, every few months, it is worth investing a little time to help them acclimate.
- Make an effort to showcase your special skills and learn what knowledge others possess.
When teams work together over the course of months and years, they learn each other’s strengths and shortcomings.
When you suddenly have a lot of new colleagues, they don’t know your skillset and you don’t know theirs.
The sooner the inventory of knowledge is established, the sooner everyone can play to their strengths.
- As faces change, so do cultural norms.
Determine communications protocols and meeting guidelines.
You can let these behaviors evolve on their own, but that could result in someone being left behind. It is much easier to have these conversations upfront and purposefully agreed upon by the group.
Ultimately, employers don’t want their staff feeling out of place and disconnected from one another.
The future of the workplace is still very much in flux. Most companies aren’t sure how they want to move forward with remote work arrangements and team members based in different locations.
But for now, these suggestions should help in getting you and your colleagues interacting more cohesively and feeling more confident with one another.